When Deborah Fox first decided to study lute in Rochester in the 1980's, she had a tough time of it and ended up studying privately. Fast forward a couple of decades or so, and Deborah Fox is pleasantly surprised to find herself not only a busy professional lutenist, but also the director of a very successful producing organization, Pegasus Early Music.
OSSIA has been a student-run ensemble at the Eastman School of Music since the mid-1970's. Chances are, even if you've heard of it or gone to one of its concerts, you haven't been behind the scenes to learn that it is more than just an ensemble — it's an incubator in arts management.
Get to know the guest conductors for the RPO's 2013-14 season
CORRECTION: The original version of this article contained several erroneous listings for the conductors' birth places and current cities of residence. We have removed those fields.
Exploring the sound machine
Professor David Higgs is a pretty smart guy. He's a professor at the Eastman School of Music and he's the chair of the Department of Organ, Sacred Music, and Keyboard Instruments.
Growing up in north Jersey, I thought of life as a musical. Julie Andrews and Doris Day at the movies.
Songs sung huge
Rochester boasts an unusual number of choral groups, and when summer rolls around, most of those large choruses, small ensembles, school groups, and church choirs take a break. But choral singers still want to sing choral music.
For whom the bell tolls
Anything written by Edgar Allan Poe is memorable, not the least of which is "The Masque of the Red Death." First published in 1842 in Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine, it has been adapted into everything from heavy metal by Crimson Glory to a film starring Vincent Price to the literary spice of Stephen King's "The Shining."
According to Ward Stare, the only place you'll want to be on July 19 is at the Eastman Theatre, where he'll lead the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in "three of the greatest works by three of the greatest composers." Stare, a 30-year-old Rochester native, speaks of Beethoven, Mozart, and Wagner the way that some speak of summer vacations in national parks or Disneyland.
Good opera in small packages
If you inevitably associate the word "opera" with the word "grand," prepare for an eye- and ear-opening couple of weeks from Rochester Lyric Opera. Its Chamber Opera Festival, opening this week and running until May 5, is a kind of operatic tapas bar — bite-sized but tasty offerings that offer something for all tastes.
The timelessness of 'Eroica'
It's fun to imagine the kind of kid who would fall in love with Beethoven's monumental "Eroica" symphony — that jolt, eyes lighting up, smile growing wide. "It's one of the first pieces I ever loved as a child," says Courtney Lewis, who will guest conduct the Rochester Philharmonic in a program headlined by Beethoven's "Eroica" symphony this weekend.
Moving into the future, through the door marked "1969"
They're calling it a "Rochester homecoming" on the Alarm Will Sound website. Indeed, for founding members of the ensemble, Alan Pierson and Gavin Chuck, the February 19 concert is precisely this.
Pianist Elinor Freer is candid about what draws her to Beethoven. "I find him to be one of the most difficult composers to perform," she says.