Blog Posts on Arts and Culture

Skitty in the Garden of Eden

After a long hiatus, I'm back, writing about music and arts in Rochester, New York.

The big excitement in my life is the prospect of seeing Christopher Seaman conduct Haydn's Creation this weekend.

It's an oratorio telling the biblical story of the creation of the world, the animals, and Adam and Eve, who promptly fall in love and avoid the snakes.  Splendid!   Someone who heard the first performance in 1798 wrote in a letter to the editor of a Vienna newspaper,

"Already three days have passed since that happy evening, and it still sounds in my ears and heart, and my breast is constricted by many emotions even thinking of it."

Click here for a fun conversation with Christopher about Haydn's Creation.  http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wxxi/.jukebox?action=viewP...

Coinidentally, the big Rochester garden show opened last weekend with a Garden of Eden theme. I missed it, but eyewitnesses reported fewer blooms than usual and lots of snakes.

Christopher Seaman will conduct the Eastman-Rochester Chorus, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano Barbara Shirvis, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Stephen Powell.    WXXI-FM will broadcast/stream the concert on Classical 91.5, 90.3 and wxxi.org on Wednesday, June 10th at 8:00 p.m.

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OK, I'll quit being so serious all the time

If any orchestra wants to play this on their next season, I'll arrange it for them.  RPO, I'm looking at you.

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When orchestras discriminate

 How do we approach an orchestra with a sordid history and some questionable tactics when it comes to hiring women and minorities?  This March, New Yorkers will face that exact question when the Vienna Philharmonic comes to Carnegie Hall.

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Reality Television? Reality Opera!

We've all seen reality television, but now the Metropolitan Opera presents The Audition the ultimate in reality programming.  This  behind-the-scenes documentary film by Susan Froemke follows several young up-and-coming opera stars for the week leading up to the finals of the  Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, competing for a cash prize and the chance to sing on the Met Opera stage.  You can see a preview of the film by clicking on the link abov

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King-Size Crowds for the King of Instruments

When times get tough, the tough collaborate!  Such was the case for the three-day, three-concert Pipedreams Live! event presented by WXXI-FM Classical 91.5, the Eastman School of Music, the Rochester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and the Rochester Theater Organ Society, February 13-15, 2009. 

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Government and the arts

 This Spring, there will be Congressional meetings and hearings about how the arts and music benefit the economy and education.  What do you think Congress can do to bolster the arts?  Or conversely, should they do anything

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Pledge Drive quick thought

 By the time our current Membership Campaign is over, I will have worked for three and a half pledge drives at WXXI.  Every time we finish a pledge drive, I find myself thinking the same thought: doing this should be mandatory for any college student trying to make a living in the arts.

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Aztec One Step

rex fowlerrex fowlerOne Saturday morning Rex Fowler came in early to WRUR on the day of an Aztec Two Step show. They were playing at 8 pm. The previous year he and Neal Shulman, the other half of the duo, came in. Great to hear them together doing some new songs and older ones I remember from college.

This time Rex was exposed as a solo artist. It felt like a secret we weren't supposed to talk about in public...

"When popular duos go solo."

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What music is good music?

I like to abide by Duke Ellington's mantra that "There are two kinds of music: good music and bad music."  But what defines good music?  Let's consider some pieces of "new" music--are they good or not? 

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So? Where's the hype this time?!?

Mozart turned 250, and you couldn't turn around without banging your shins on another recording of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.  Mendelssohn turns 200 and...not so much.

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