Blog Posts on Arts and Culture

Bernie Lehmann - luthier

Broadcasting Open Tunings live from the Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery on Saturday, Sept. 12, we had the opportunity to host Bernie Lehmann, one of the premiere makers of acoustic instruments. In addition to the extraordinary precision, skill, and art of making stringed instruments, he paints.

The best 100 classical recordings...again...

 I heard a little feature by Frank DeFord on Morning Edition today that announced the beginning of sports' Ratings Season.  He's referring to college football and basketball's infatuation with weekly rankings, and how they really don't bear a whole lot of importance.  Right on cue, this list appeard from London's Telegraph ranking the 100 Best Classical Recordings.  

A new way to wake up on Saturdays!

For many months now, Saturday mornings on WXXI have had a dearth of live, local hosts.  We've got some great programs, don't get me wrong, but something's been missing.   A lot of you mentioned this, so we here at the station got to thinking.  The answer arrives this weekend from 7 in the morning until 8, with the premiere of a brand-new program called Cadenza!  I'm very excited and honored to share that I'll be the host of the new program--live of course, and I wanted to let you know what to expect, and to invite you to participate in the show's development.

Convocation Day

Due to popular demand, I am posting the audio clip of Howard Hanson's speech to Eastman School of Music students in 1943. It was Convocation Day, the beginning of a new academic year.  Click on the audio attachment to hear The Man Himself.  The whole thing is less than two minutes long.
 
 
Howard HansonHoward Hanson

Meet Joe Pug

Loudon Wainwright III wrote a song for Bob Dylan a few years back. Part of it went like this…
 
Yeah, I got a deal, and so did John Prine, Steve Forbert and Springsteen, all in a line.
They were lookin' for you, signin' up others.
We were 'new Bob Dylans,' your dumb-ass kid brothers.

Soprano saves opera! Dies on stage! Wakes for interview!

Eastman grad Kathryn Lewek, who recorded an exquisite set of art songs by Rochester composer Cary Ratcliff in 2008, got an amazing, unexpected chance to step into the starring role in Ambroise Thomas' opera Mignon at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara on August 7th.  The lead got sick. Lewek was her understudy.  Big moment ensued.  This could be a huge advance for her career.  After the show, she was interviewed about the experience. 
 
 
 

Three minutes at a time

Radio sucks. That’s my conclusion after spending 11 hours driving back home from Chicago Sunday night into Monday morning. My fellow travelers were sleeping during most of the wee small hours. I stopped several times to top off the coffee but I was still having a few of those moments when the white dashes hypnotize and the rumble strips snap you out of it. I had the radio on and searched for something decent, ideally something to which I could sing along. Belting out the Beatles or AC/DC or Louis Armstrong kept my brain alert and occupied and in the moment, but only for three minutes at a time. Then they’d play dreck or a commercial and I’d be zipping up and down the dial again. I think I may have developed carpal tunnel syndrome from hitting the scan button so often.

Holst's trombone induces sheep birth

 We all know the power of the mighty trombone.  Noble, inspiring, breathtaking, the trombone has inspired generations of humans to great things.  Einstein listened to the "Tuba Mirum" from Mozart's Requiem when he finalized the theory of relativity.  Joyce played recordings of Bruckner while he wrote Ulysses.  Al Gore went to a Chicago concert right before he invented the Internet.