WXXI Classical Blog

Beijing, first impressions

Members of the Rochester Oratorio Society landed in Beijing today. Dazed with jet-lag, we passed through a dazzling world of gleaming floors, polished steel, and walls of glass. Triangular skylights floated over us in a vaulted ceiling. Beijing's new airport opened two months ago, and the most astonishing thing about it is its sheer size.

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China diary

Restless sleep. Vivid dreams. Sometimes my stomach hurts. Other times, I get a floaty feeling like I'm seeing streets and faces through a fisheye lens.

On Saturday, I'm flying to Beijing to represent the U.S. as a member of the Rochester Oratorio Society in a Pre-Olympic Cultural Festival. I haven't left yet, but I'm already learning a lot about myself. For one thing, I'm learning that despite my hunger for adventure, ya know, I'm just a girl from a small town in Western New York.

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Congratulations to Bob Laird

He wrote the judges’ favorite entry in a caption contest.


“Hey, waddya say we march down the garden path together and audition?”

Other top choices included runners-up,

“Just think, once we're through with all of these Sousa practices and performances, we can relax like this for the rest of the summer. July 4th can't get here soon enough!”
- by Julie Levy

And Julia Figueras’ pick by Nicholas Gurewitch:

"(rest symbol)"

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Reunited

and it feels so good!

Hey, guess what? I found my copy of Alex Ross’ “The Rest is Noise” buried in a laundry basket, of all places. In such moments I think of Thoreau’s stint on Walden and wonder if I should jettison some stuff. But not Alex’s book. I’m very happy, and I apologize to my co-workers for suggesting one of them might have lifted it off my desk.

Now that I think about it, what a wildly optimistic notion. Not everyone is so crazy about 20th century classical music.

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Bad news for the RPO

First of all, thank you for reading my blog. Thanks, too, to the creative readers who submitted captions in my contest. I'll announce the winner early next week, after I poll a panel of non-experts.

Today, a bit of news about the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Eastman Chandelier lowering

The lowering of the Eastman Theater chandelier marks the first step in renovation project.

The chandelier is lowered.: ©Andy Olenick fotowerks.comThe chandelier is lowered.: ©Andy Olenick fotowerks.com

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Caption contest!

Summertime . . . the livin' is easy . . . fish are jumpin' . . . and I'm takin' a few days off to go campin'.

While I'm gone, you're invited to submit as many captions as you like to this blog's FIRST EVER caption contest. The winner, selected by a panel of non-experts, will receive an inconsequential knickknack.

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Loverly

I just downloaded the new Cassandra Wilson album, "Loverly," and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s an album of standards, morphed into Wilson’s own hypnotic creations. My favorite tune after two listens -- “Dust my Broom.”
Gary Giddins’ profile in the New Yorker omits the mention of “Blue Skies,” Wilson's first inventive album of standards. "Loverly" is natural, elegant, open. I love it.

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worse still was the prospect of an honorable mention

On Monday night, conductor Eric Townell announced that the Rochester Oratorio Society (ROS) had been invited to enter a singing contest in Beijing, a kind of Chinese Idol with four judges and prizes and everything. After hearing more about it, he decided we would not compete, since three of the judges are Chinese and the other is Polish. It seemed likely, Eric said, that politics might influence the outcome. Needless pressure.

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