Poet Jack Leax is retiring after more than 40 years of teaching at Houghton College. Click below to hear an extended interview with him about the astounding changes he’s seen in the Genesee Valley. He also reads some poems.
My sister and I were talking about poetry the other day and how the random status updates of our Facebook friends sometimes read like verse. So here’s a poem for National Poetry Month from today's updates.
My oldest friend says, “Good Morning All!
Wasn't Adam Lambert great last night? That boy can SING!”
Another old friend laments the end of the chocolate cake
but smiles at the thought that the chili is still in the fridge.
A co-worker has totally lost his voice but is finally feeling better.
A writer I admire is dreading the whole car situation.
The wife of a friend is trying to decide on a menu for Easter,
and the guy who organizes board games is feeling contemplative.
Here's what's on the radar. There's confusion over whether or not Rochester's Artwalk has received $3.4 in federal stimulus funds. Those close to the project say no, but NYS's governor says it's going to happen. No doubt in Toronto: Canadians love the arts! Pegasus Early Music is moving its successful early music concert series to the Downtown United Presbyterian Church (DUPC) next season. Meanwhile, the recession has put DUPC in the unfortunate position of reducing its music director's hours, meaning there will be no lunchtime concerts this spring. American composer Eric Whitacre is writing a new 3-4 minute piece of music and donating it to an auction to benefit choral advocacy organization Chorus America. Any choir can "buy" rights to premiere the piece for $1,500. (As far as I know, no Rochester choirs have taken the bait.) Finally, NPR made the top of New York magazine's current approval matrix for its outstanding ratings, but caused a kerfuffle by announcing it was canceling all of its newspaper subscriptions. New information: Artwalk, the Rochester art trail, IS among 25 projects in New York State that will share $34 million in federal funding. More later . . .
On Saturday night, a panel of judges, including WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras, named Rochester's Classical Idol in the 3rd Annual Contest to benefit the Rochester Oratorio Society.
The First Prize winner was soprano Jacqueline Noparstak of New York City. She walked away with $1,500 and the chance to solo with the ROS. Second Prize and $1,000 went to baritone Evan Jones, and the Third Prize winner was soprano Elena O'Connor, who earned $500 for her performance of Rachmaninoff's mournful art song "Ne krasavica pri mne." Jones won the Audience Favorite Award.
Margo & Michael Timmins Margo and Michael Timmins were kind to take an hour the day of their Rochester performance with the Cowboy Junkies to come on Open Tunings, talk and play some songs for our radio community.
Tonight, the Eastman School's new music ensemble Ossia will premiere the winner of its annual composition competition.
They'll play "3 Groups" by Colorado grad student Anthony Green. He's coming to oversee the premiere, hang out in Rochester, and collect a $500 prize.
I had the privilege of interviewing Green a couple of weeks ago. Click here to read an article. I've attached a very short audio clip of "3 Groups" which he calls a "sonic texture." More Coltrane than Beethoven, it allows the players to improvise. What do you think?
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."
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.