Julia Figueras

Comfort and joy

I admit it.  December is not my favorite time of year. With so many cards to write, gifts to wrap, cookies to frost, and extra church services to plan and direct, I often feel overwhelmed by what feels like a month-long To Do List.  That's a terrible thing to say, but I know I'm not alone. A survey conducted a couple of years ago by Harris Interactive showed 90 percent of respondents experience stress during the holiday season. 

Simple gifts

Thank you to Luna Galassini for filling in for me over my recent vacation.  I spent time with friends in Philadelphia, Princeton, and Bristol Harbor, and then had a week to get ready for winter, putting the garden to bed and sorting through a big basket of mittens and hats which now sits by the front door.  And rest!  I slept in every day!  Getting enough rest and being healthy is very important to me, and it was especially vital given the dramatic week that followed with the unexpected announcement that the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra wished to end its four-year contract with Music Director Arild Remmereit two years early. WXXI-FM listeners have expressed shock, anger, sadness, and hope that classical music lovers will work through this situation together to support our city’s great orchestra.  Our newsroom will keep you updated on the situation.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

It’s a daily joy to offer you the best recordings from the WXXI library from 6 to 10am, with arts news from Rochester’s rich cultural calendar, updates from NPR, the Mystery Piece at 6:40am, the Composers' Datebook at 7:20am, and the Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor at 8:20am. Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the next few weeks:

Three Random Artifacts, Bobblehead Included

I.  GLASS ART

You could own an original piece of visual art by composer Philip Glass.  He donated a 6” X 6” piece to the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, 137 East Avenue in Rochester.  The gallery’s director Blue Cease sent this picture of the back of the work:   

8 Minutes in New York City

I just got off the phone with John Schaefer for today's edition of Pick 3 on WNYC's "Soundcheck." The challenge:  pick three brand new musical releases that you love. 

The more things change . . .

Next month, the longest-serving music director in the RPO’s history retires.  Christopher Seaman will become the orchestra’s first conductor for life, and his departure sets the stage for the next artistic leader, Norwegian conductor Arild Remmereit. 

International Women's Day...there and here

March 8. 2011 marks the centenary celebration of International Women's Day.  Each March 8, for the last 25 years, I have programmed a veritable festival of women in music.  I did this for rock, I did it for jazz, and these days, with the help of interns from the Eastman School of Music's Arts Leadership Program, I do it for classical. 

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