Mona Seghatoleslami's blog

In Praise of “Backstage Pass” and an Invitation

When I first interviewed for a job here at WXXI in Rochester, one of the things I got to do was watch the making of the show Backstage Pass, hosted by Classical 91.5's music director Julia Figueras.

Talking Music: A few recent conversations

Isn’t it fun to talk about music? I’m always happy to chat (we can start a shouting match have a civil discussion over on Twitter or Facebook if you’d like).

Here are a few of my recent slightly more structured musical conversations:  interviews that were featured on WXXI’s Classical 91.5 Some of them are musicians in Rochester, others just stopping by for a visit.


Stravinsky in Rochester

“To have Mr. Stravinsky in residence for this past week, and conducting part of this evening’s program, we have brought to our students the most illustrious example of an individual who exemplifies both the knower and the doer. The impact of his presence upon the minds of our students is incalculable”

 – Walter Hendl, Director, Eastman School of Music

Rochester Classical Radar 2013 (Part 1?)

Cinema Paradiso was the last movie screened at the George Eastman House’s Dryden  Theater for two long months while they upgrade the theater (what do you think of that director’s cut?)

What to do now to avoid the dishes? The opportunity to see rare and classic films in a theater has been a real treat since I moved here, and some nights I was even lured me away from a few classical concerts.

Now, I’ll just have more time for music. If I get to even half of what I’ve written in to my calendar for the next few months, it will be pretty good.  Here are some of the things that I’m looking forward to the first two months of 2013:

Catching up with Cage

I couldn't resist posting just a few more John Cage links before this space gets back to being all-Copland all the time.


A 4'33" Story - John Cage at 100

Music, what does it communicate?
Is what’s clear to me clear to you?
Is music just sounds?
Then what does it communicate?
Is a truck passing by music?
If I can see it, do I have to hear it too?
If I don’t hear it, does it still communicate?
If while I see it I can’t hear it, but hear something else, say an egg-beater, because I’m inside looking out, does the truck communicate or the egg-beater, which communicates?
Which is more musical, a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?

-John Cage, Silence 

Happy 100th,
John Cage!  What if share my own favorite experience with John Cage and his infamous 4'33"?


Copland Summer: Notes from the Road, Seeing Sound

In which I go away, come back, explain little, and we all go off on a merry little tangent.

When I wasn't riding roller coasters, visiting museums, and otherwise touristing in Cleveland last week, I did get to enjoy some quality time reading about Copland. I even took notes:

Copland Summer: Simplicity and Objectivity

So many things running around my head this afternoon, and I’m not sure how to organize them all. Maybe a list? 

Art Interlude

Wall \ Therapy at the Little Theatre

Copland summer reading is going well, and I'll post an update next week on what I'm learning. I'm not sure if this will lead to any grander conclusions that I so optimistically predicted last week, but I'm having a lot of fun reading about Copland's life - where and how he lived and worked, along with his connections with other musicians, artists, and writers. 

Enough - this post is not about Copland - instead, it's about a project that was completed in fewer hours than it will take me to read that book: the Wall\Therapy mural at The Little Theatre.  

Copland Summer

A few friends sat on a porch in Rochester on a recent cool summer night.  There was music, and beer, and some talk of going hiking. The music varied as different people used Spotify to play Nick Waterhouse, Leonard Cohen, Olivia Tremor Control, Wilco, and whatever else came to mind.

Late at night, late enough to be almost early, one of the denizens of this porch called up Copland’s music for The Red Pony. He then turned to me, the ostensible classical music expert, and asked:  “Why do I like this music? What makes it so good?”

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