Brenda Tremblay's blog

The dagger in his smile

There are bad relationships and there are Bad Relationships.  The MacBeths of Shakepeare's "Scottish Play" push the boundaries of evil, to say the least. This summer bass-baritone Eric Owens made his debut as the title character of Verdi's Shakespearean opera, with Melody Moore as his scheming wife.  During the Glimmerglass Festival, we sat down to talk about twisted love, ambition, treachery, murder, and the House of Cards.

Vespers of 1610

As promised, here's a conversation about Claudio Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 with Deborah Fox of Pegasus Early Music and conductor Paul O'Dette. Why is the Vespers so extraordinary?  Why, if it's so amazing, is it rarely performed?  Why isn't it as famous as Handel's Messiah?  Paul and Deb answer these questions and touch on the raw emotional power of the work in our conversation.  I'm thrilled you'll be able to hear this on the radio, thanks to Deborah Fox and recording engineer Carl Pultz of Alembic Productions.  Hear the Vespers Monday, November 2 at 8 p.m. on Classical 91.5 and FM 90.3, streaming at  ~ Brenda

Vespers of 1610

Thank you for your support for Classical 91.5 during our fall membership campaign.  Behind the scenes, we are planning all kinds of special broadcasts on WXXI-FM, including Pegasus Early Music performing Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, recorded in concert at the Hochstein Performance Hall this past spring.

These are a few of my favorite things

There's nothing serious going on over here.  I came across some videos I thought you'd like.  Enjoy.  Then you can get back to that important work you're doing. 

"One must not make oneself cheap here - that is a cardinal point - or else one is done. Whoever is most impertinent has the best chance." - W. A. Mozart

Yes, these are some of my favorite things.

Happy 80th Birthday, Arvo Pärt

Your friends at WXXI love Arvo Pärt!   Look for "Matthat," "Maath," and "Arphaxad" in this clever video produced by the Tallis Scholars.

Soprano Kathryn Lewek glitters at the Glimmerglass Festival

I hope you enjoy this wide-ranging conversation with Rochester Classical Idol winner Kathryn Lewek (taped in early August 2015) on a bunch of topics: playing a desperate woman in Candide, working with opera director Francesca Zambello, why her teacher Robert McIver says she's "still a baby," and what she appreciates now about her time at the Eastman School of Music. ~ Brenda

Ashbery Farm

When Garrison Keillor recently profiled American poet John Ashbery on the Writer's Almanac, he only said that Ashbery was "born in Rochester, New York" and "grew up on his family's fruit farm near Lake Ontario."  That made me curious.  I wondering out loud on Classical 91.5 FM where that farm might be, and several listeners e-mailed specifics.  Sue of Williamson, New York wrote:<

Living with David Diamond

Noal Cohen is a musician, jazz historian, and record collector living in Montclair, New Jersey. A retired chemist, he co-authored "Rat Race Blues: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce" with Michael Fitzgerald.  He is David Diamond's nephew and offers a unique perspective on what it was like living with the acclaimed American composer.  I'm so pleased that he agreed to this exclusive online interview.  ~ Brenda Tremblay

Why this dog looks a little sad . . .


The reason? This handsome dog will be missing owner Bob Sneider, the hardest-working jazz guitarist during The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.  He (Bob) hosts jam sessions every night with his Trio, among other things.  I caught up with Bob on the interwebs.

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With the Jazz Festival here again, this must be a crazy and fulfilling time for you.  How do you prepare for those late night jam sessions?

 There is no preparing for the jam sessions. Years of practicing and developing a repertoire of several hundred songs and flexibility to play them in other keys / tempos helps. Physically, I am a gym rat. I go to the gym every day during the fest. Swim and cardio vascular stuff. That helps with endurance. Being mentally alert and thinking about planning the sets and working the list of sitters-in is key. I do not drink at all — just water and coffee.

The RPO 2014-15 broadcast season



This RPO season has been special for many reasons. The level of talent that's appeared with our city's orchestra has been exceptional; guest artists included pianists Stephen Hough and Jeremy Denk (two of my idols) and returning artists Jon Nakamatsu and Christopher Seaman.  And Midori!  I think you will love hearing this season on the radio and via

It’s a pleasure producing these concerts for you. If you’re interested in digging deeper, you'll find extended interviews conducted by WXXI Music Director Julia Figueras On Record.  When you're traveling this summer, stream the performances anywhere at or via the WXXI app.

Please help spread the word to the music lovers in your life -- then listen and enjoy.

 With warmest wishes for beautiful summer and fall seasons,

 Brenda Tremblay

 Host and producer, RPO broadcast concerts on WXXI