WXXI Classical Blog

Boys Gone Wild

I made the questionable decision to bring two nine year-old boys to work with me yesterday, based on the idealistic assumption that exposing them to the world of music and ideas would fire their imaginations, expand their horizons, and change their lives.

By the end of the day, I needed a shot of whisky.

First, we set off for the suite of Entercom-owned commercial radio stations across the street, where my son and his friend met a bunch of charming, funny deejays. One guy put them on the air. This act turned out to be hard to beat.

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Exciting Young soprano receives Warfield Scholarship

Today I was honored to attend the William Warfield Scholarship Fund Luncheon where we were all treated to several selections sung by 2007-2008 Scholarship Recipient Julia Allyson Bullock, a Junior at the Eastman School of Music.

This dynamic young woman from St. Louis has a sparkling personality and a clarity of voice that was captivating. Her voice changed from powerful to beautifully sensitive as she expressed the changing character of the music.
Photo by Gerry SzymanskiPhoto by Gerry Szymanski

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Classical music is alive down under

Sometimes we can get spoiled by the wealth of classical music that is available in Rochester. We can tune in Classical 91.5 or 90.3 in our homes, cars, on our computers, or take it with us on headphones. We have more concerts available to us than we can possibly attend - at Eastman School of Music, the RPO, Hochstein, Nazareth, the Memorial Art Gallery, local churches and a multitude of other venues. We have such a reach classical community that we may not even realize what great things are happening in the classical world on the other side of the globe.

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Yo-Yo Ma

I have the chance to interview cellist Yo-Yo Ma this week. What should I ask him?

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Happy Earth Day

“Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you? Do I want you because you're wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you? Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream, or are you really as beautiful as you seem?” - Oscar Hammerstein II

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A curious vibe

A few months ago, writer Justin Davidson drove through the rain to the Brooklyn Lyceum to review Eastman conductor Brad Lubman’s performance of new music with the Wordless Music Orchestra. Davidson describes a scene where “the dress code is scruffy and the vibe is one of curiosity rather than reverence.” Rochester’s new classical music scene thrums with the same energy, particularly when Eastman students disregard conventions of the classical music culture and strike out for new territory.

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Beijing Olympics

Composer Philip Glass, who wrote music for the Los Angeles Olympics and the Athens Games, says “I think that we should pull out” of the summer contest in Beijing. He has political reasons. Read his comments in the April 21st edition of New York Magazine.

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New voice for the arts

The WXXI Public Broadcasting Council is proud to introduce an important new voice for the arts: Penny, the Artsy Hamster.

Born in a plastic bin in Petsmart, she recently accepted a new post as family pet, relocating to a cage in a private Western New York home. Inspired by Skitty, the popular author of “Secret Confessions from Skitty,” Penny now offers to share her considerable knowledge about the arts with you.

Her first question comes from Anonymous in Hightstown, New Jersey:

Dear Penny,

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Portraits

There’s a cartoon I want to show you, and I can’t find it, so I’ll just have to describe it. A single panel shows a child slumped at the dinner table, his face cupped in his hands, a portrait of utter dejection. His mother hovers over him, patting his shoulder and saying, “I’m sorry, dear! I remember when I met my first radio deejay, too.”

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Honey sweetness

The Rochester Oratorio Society is rehearsing Carmina Burana, the secular cantata by Carl Off, composed in the 1930’s. It's based on a thirteenth century manuscript discovered in a Bavarian monastery. Beloved by singers and derided by critics for its lack of polyphony, Carmina celebrates spring, sex, love, and drinking, all while bemoaning the vagaries of fate. It’s fun stuff. In the upcoming May performance, the conductor has decided to use the “Coro Piccolo,” that is, to have a small chorus sing some of the sections instead of the full choir singing everything. This doesn’t please those left out, and during last night’s rehearsal, a few confessed to feeling resentful. “I KNOW that part,” said one soprano chosen to sit out during the small chorus sections.

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