Blog Posts on Arts and Culture

Rochester's Classical Idol

On Saturday night, a panel of judges, including WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras, named Rochester's Classical Idol in the 3rd Annual Contest to benefit the Rochester Oratorio Society.
 
The First Prize winner was soprano Jacqueline Noparstak of New York City.  She walked away with $1,500 and the chance to solo with the ROS.  Second Prize and $1,000 went to baritone Evan Jones, and the Third Prize winner was soprano Elena O'Connor, who earned $500 for her performance of Rachmaninoff's mournful art song "Ne krasavica pri mne."   Jones won the Audience Favorite Award.
 
The winners, with accompanist Richard Volpe:
Rochester Classical Idol Competition winnersRochester Classical Idol Competition winners
 

Cowboy Junkies

Margo & Michael TimminsMargo & Michael Timmins Margo and Michael Timmins were kind to take an hour the day of their Rochester performance with the Cowboy Junkies to come on Open Tunings, talk and play some songs for our radio community. 
 
Michael TimminsMichael Timminsmargo timminsmargo timmins

What's new

Tonight, the Eastman School's new music ensemble Ossia will premiere the winner of its annual composition competition.
 
They'll play "3 Groups" by Colorado grad student Anthony Green.  He's coming to oversee the premiere, hang out in Rochester, and collect a $500 prize.
 
I had the privilege of interviewing Green a couple of weeks ago.  Click here to read an article.  I've attached a very short audio clip of "3 Groups" which he calls a "sonic texture."   More Coltrane than Beethoven, it allows the players to improvise.  What do you think?

The Silent Drum

The Silent Drum won Georgia Tech's first Guthman Musical Instrument Competition.  

 

Click here to see Wired's multi-media show.

 

 

Skitty in the Garden of Eden

After a long hiatus, I'm back, writing about music and arts in Rochester, New York.

The big excitement in my life is the prospect of seeing Christopher Seaman conduct Haydn's Creation this weekend.

It's an oratorio telling the biblical story of the creation of the world, the animals, and Adam and Eve, who promptly fall in love and avoid the snakes.  Splendid!   Someone who heard the first performance in 1798 wrote in a letter to the editor of a Vienna newspaper,

"Already three days have passed since that happy evening, and it still sounds in my ears and heart, and my breast is constricted by many emotions even thinking of it."

Click here for a fun conversation with Christopher about Haydn's Creation.  http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wxxi/.jukebox?action=viewP...

Coinidentally, the big Rochester garden show opened last weekend with a Garden of Eden theme. I missed it, but eyewitnesses reported fewer blooms than usual and lots of snakes.

Christopher Seaman will conduct the Eastman-Rochester Chorus, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano Barbara Shirvis, tenor Michael Colvin, and baritone Stephen Powell.    WXXI-FM will broadcast/stream the concert on Classical 91.5, 90.3 and wxxi.org on Wednesday, June 10th at 8:00 p.m.

OK, I'll quit being so serious all the time

If any orchestra wants to play this on their next season, I'll arrange it for them.  RPO, I'm looking at you.

When orchestras discriminate

 How do we approach an orchestra with a sordid history and some questionable tactics when it comes to hiring women and minorities?  This March, New Yorkers will face that exact question when the Vienna Philharmonic comes to Carnegie Hall.

Reality Television? Reality Opera!

We've all seen reality television, but now the Metropolitan Opera presents The Audition the ultimate in reality programming.  This  behind-the-scenes documentary film by Susan Froemke follows several young up-and-coming opera stars for the week leading up to the finals of the  Metropolitan Opera's National Council Auditions, competing for a cash prize and the chance to sing on the Met Opera stage.  You can see a preview of the film by clicking on the link abov