Arts Features with Mona

Mona Seghatoleslami of WXXI’s Classical 91.5 interviews musicians performing in the Rochester area and beyond, including previews of upcoming Live from Hochstein performances.

Robert Morris is a composer and a professor at the Eastman School of Music. Last week, five of his works were heard at a concert dedicated to his music at Eastman’s Hatch Recital Hall.

Before the concert, we had a chance to discuss his music for a feature on WXXI's Classical 91.5. Here’s an extended cut from that interview, where Robert Morris discusses his diverse influences and approach to music, the connection between music and nature, and issues in hearing, including how perfect pitch can change over time.

We started by talking about the relationship between craft and inspiration:

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New York City-based musical group Alarm Will Sound has returned to Rochester with an event. It's called 1969, and you can listen here to Alarm Will Sound Artistic Director Alan Pierson and the show's director Nigel Maister discuss the project in a radio feature from WXXI's Classical 91.5.

Alarm Will Sound will perform "1969" at Kodal Hall tonight (February 19th) at 8pm.

Photo credit: Carl Socolow

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The Andrew Alden Ensemble visited Rochester last week to accompany two silent films at the Little Theatre: The Lost World and The Phantom of the Opera. Both of these movies are from 1925, but the music this ensemble plays has a much more contemporary sound.  I had a chance to speak with the group's director, composer Andrew Alden, for a feature that aired last week. In case you missed it on the radio, I'm posting the story here online to share.

The Andrew Alden Ensemble Spring tour continues through the rest of this month and through March, taking them through Pittsburgh and several midwestern cities. I hope they come back to play for us again! 

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“We have to go places that already have these million dollar plus instruments, these huge and very complex pieces of architecture, really, that play music.  – David Higgs

 

In addition to playing all the notes in a piece of music, organists have a unique set of concerns: architecture, acoustics, history, and technology all play into their work.

David Higgs is the chair of the organ department of the Eastman School of Music, and he travels the world to play organs. Just recently, he's played at Walt Disney Hall in LA and with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. 
 

Here are selections from our recent interview, where David Higgs discusses some of th Rochester’s Eastman-Rochester Organ Initiative, and some future directions for the pipe organ:  

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Boston-based ensemble Dinosaur Annex has been playing music by contemporary composers for 38 years.  They’re playing a concert tonight at Kilbourn Hall, with a program that includes music by Eastman School of Music professor and chair of the composition department, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon.

Dinosaur Annex co-artistic director Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin (who is also a professor of music at MIT) came into WXXI today to discuss Dinosaur Annex and the music they play, starting with its usual name:  

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Have you ever seen an opera? WXXI's Mona Seghatoleslami and Eastman School of Music's Benton Hess discuss (with some help from Cher) why Puccini's La Boheme is one you shouldn't miss.

La Boheme can be seen at The Little Theatre as part of the Opera in Cinema Series Sunday January 27th at noon and Tuesday January 29th at 6:30pm. 

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Handel's Messiah has long been a holiday tradition, and the Rochester Oratorio Society and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing it December 8th at Kodak Hall.

Eric Townell, who will be conducting the ROS/RPO performance, stopped by WXXI to discuss Messiah – the history of the piece, its continuing appeal, the balance of historical and modern performance practice, and why is everyone standing.  You can listen to our friendly and informative little chat right here.

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Pianist Rebcca Penneys, violinist Mikhail Kopelman, and cellist Stefan Reuss will play trios by Dvorak and Francaix this Sunday at 2pm at the Rochester Academy of Medicine. It’s the first concert in the fourteenth season of ‘salon’ concerts in this space. Listen below to hear Stefan Reuss discuss the concerts.

Details about the season can be found on the Rochester Academy of Medicine website


 

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Just as he begins his senior year at McQuaid Jesuit High School, talented young singer Aaron Bigeleisen from Pittsford, N.Y. will have his voice heard around the country on the nationally syndicated public radio program From the Top. He spoke with WXXI’s Mona Seghatoleslami about the song he sang on the show and how The Simpsons played a role in determining his musical direction.

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Cellist Mike Block has played several concerts over the past week and a half at the Canandaguia Lake Music Festival. While his early musical training and upbringing focused primarily on classical music, Block told WXXI's Mona Seghatoleslami that he started exploring other genres while at Juilliard, which has led to playing with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Mark O'Connor, and Darol Anger, along with recording albums of his own songs and compositions.

For more about Mike Block's musical adventures, including his new album Brick by Brick, visit his website.

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