Classical 94.5 WNED Interviews

Film-maker Mary Wall is finishing up a true Buffalo documentary, all about the Buffalo Sabres, the teams heartbreaks and triumphs, and their die-hard Buffalo fans.  For several years now Mary has been filming the individual stories, the ups and downs, and struggles of 12 of those fans, including young opera singer James Wright, who spoke with WNED’s Peter Hall about a special evening, Tuesday, September 9th at 7:30pm at the newly restored North Park Theater on Hertel Avenue.  It’s a chance to find out about the documentary, share in some fans' and enjoy some music sung by Wright as well as Doug Allen, who sings the National Anthems at home games.

George Wesner probably holds the record for most live performances (over 4,000 shows) before the most people (more than 23 million) and he's going to delight audiences at this Summer, not at his "day job" at Radio City Music Hall, but at the Knox Church in Stratford, Ontario. Theatre goers can enjoy a treat at 11:15am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, August 14, 15, 16 as they listen to a newly restored theatre organ.  WNED's Peter Hall found out more.

The BPO makes its debut on Buffalo's free Thursday summer concert series at Canalside. Unwind after work with the music of Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind and Fire. Matthew Kraemer leads this concert in his farewell as Associate Conductor.  WNED's Peter Hall found out more.

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director JoAnn Falletta is always looking for something new and she found it hidden in the BPO string section - violinist Amy Licata and double bassist Brett Shurtliffe have been performing old time fiddle/Irish/Bluegrass/you-name-it music for years, and they'll be playing some high energy arrangements with the BPO Wednesday night August 6th at the Erie County Fair at 8:00pm and Saturday night August 9th at Old Fort Niagara at 7:30.  WNED's Peter Hall found out more.

He’s worked with the best… Chris Botti, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, and now Chautauqua’s Stuart Chafetz comes back to Buffalo this Friday at 7 to conduct the Buffalo Philharmonic Pops with guest jazz artist Bobby Millitello over at First Presbyterian Church on Symphony Circle. WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

Buffalo's Vocalis Chamber Choir has been invited to be part of the 2014 Cambridge Summer Music Festival and they'll be singing works by Western New York composers in some of England's finest old cathedrals.  Music Director James Burritt spoke with WNED's Peter Hall before the trip.

As part of the Buffalo Garden Walk’s 20th anniversary festivities, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a “greatest hits” concert at First Presbyterian Church next to Kleinhans Music Hall Saturday, July 26th.  The music starts at 7pm, but come early at 4pm to picnic or enjoy some of Buffalo’s favorite food truck delights.  Bradley Thachuck of the Niagara Symphony will make his fifth appearance on the podium.  WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

Forty Doctor - Musicians from around the world are in Buffalo to play (very loud) classical music with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and raise money for Children’s Hospital.  Classical hits by Holst, Bernstein, and Respighi are on the program this Saturday night at 8 Kleinhans Music Hall. WNED’s Peter Hall found out more. 

The BPO is not on vacation this summer, far from it.  Some of the finest instruments ever created sing in the hands of rising stars Augustin Hadelich and Mayuko Kamio this Friday night at 7pm at Kleinhans Music Hall as JoAnn Falletta conducts a concert featuring music by Sarasate, Bach, and others.  WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

"Spoiler Alert???"  It's no secret that in grand opera, characters suffer and die, but in Puccini's "Tosca" the baritone gets stabbed, the tenor gets shot, and the soprano leaps to her death.  What you might not know is that "Tosca" is the most error-prone production in history.  If it CAN go wrong, it WILL go wrong in "Tosca."  Nickel City Opera impresario Valerian Ruminski tells WNED's Peter Hall about some amusing mistakes over the last century.  Tosca is live on stage at the Riviera Theatre on Webster Street in North Tonawanda, Friday night at 8:00pm and Sunday afternoon at 2:30.

When one musician plays a second or third instrument, it’s known as “doubling.”  Most people who attend BPO concerts know Anna Mattix as an English Hornist, but this weekend at the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival Anna “doubles” on oboe!  WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

Caruso did it, Pavarotti did it, and now, for a new generation, the three young men who make up “Il Volo” are keeping alive the tradition of what is commonly known as “Neopolitan singing.”  Il Volo appears Wednesday night at Kleinhans Music Hall at 8, and WNED’s Peter Hall found out more from Piero Barone.

 The 2014 Roycroft Chamber Music Festival offers concerts this Saturday and Sunday at St. Matthias Church in East Aurora,  Saturday night at 8 and Sunday at 7, with a special “sneak peek” concert this Friday, June 6th at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Buffalo.  Many of the Roycroft performers are from the BPO, including English Hornist Anna Mattix and Violinist Megan Prokes, who each “double” on a related instrument.  WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

 

Italian pharmacist and music lover, Mr. Michele Pittaluga, after being in German concentration camps for five years during WWII, came home to Alessandria, Italy to found the Alessandria International Guitar Competition, with encouragement from the great Andres Segovia.  His daughter, Micaela Pittaluga is the President of the Pittaluga Competition, and is one of the 2014 Falletta Competition judges.  She recently spoke with WNED’s Peter Hall. 

One trick to winning the Falletta Competition is being able to listen to the orchestra (or piano accompaniment during the semi-final rounds).  One trick to a successful marriage is also listening.  Duo guitarists (Ms.) Dale Kavanagh and (Mr.) Thomas Kirchhoff have been happily married and have been performing together as the Amadeus Guitar Duo for 30 years.  They are judges at this year’s competition and WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

Social Media helps people make connections.  You're about to use it right now to hear an interview with James Burritt, Lew-Port choral director and music director of Vocalis Chamber Choir.  He tells WNED's Peter Hall about how composer Eric Whitacre created a virtual chorus of thousands.  The Vocalis Chamber Choir joins the Western New York Chamber Orchestra for a concert of music by Mozart and Rutter this Sunday evening, June 1st, at 7:30pm, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1080 Main Street in Buffalo.

 

Some musical premieres are "more equal than others" as Buffalo Chamber Players Artistic Director Janz Castelo to WNED's Peter Hall.  This Friday evening at 7:30 at Buffalo Seminary you can hear music by Richard Wagner that premiered on Christmas morning as a present to Cosima Wagner as well as two works by Leos Janacek.  Wait until you hear what happened at the premiere of one of them.  WNED's Peter Hall found out more.

BPO guest Pops Conductor Jonathan Tessoro has a special reason to feel patriotic for this weekend's "Star Spangled Pops" concert - his kid sister just came home from her recent U.S. Navy deployment.  He's pulled out all the stops, including the Ray Charles arrangement of "America the Beautiful" for soloists, chorus, and orchestra.  Two performances, Friday morning at 10:30 and Saturday evening at 8:00 at Kleinhans Music Hall.  WNED's Peter Hall found out more.

When youthful victims of bullying are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) it’s five times more likely to result in suicide.  As part of the “It Gets Better” project, the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus brings songs of hope in “Rise Up Singing” over three concerts, Friday, May 16th at 8 at the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster; Saturday at 8 at Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware; and Sunday at 2:30 at the UUCB, 695 Elmwood Avenue.  WNED’s Peter Hall met up with the BGMC’s artistic director Ciaran Krueger and their President Gregory Ciupak.

Inspired by stories collected by Harlem Renaissance writers Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, Buffalo born composer Darryl Glenn Nettles created a one act, hour long “verismo” opera about a famous bar fight between Lee Sheldon and William Lyons.  “Stag Lee” pairs well with George Gershwin’s shorter one act opera “Blue Monday” – also about a shooting in a bar – Friday May 16th at 8 and Sunday May 18th at 2:30 at 710 Main Street (the old Studio Arena) in presentations by Buffalo Opera Unlimited and The Lehrer Dance Company.  WNED’s Peter Hall found out more. 

"Verismo" operas offer realistic – sometimes sordid or violent – depictions of everyday life.  710 Main Street becomes a bar, where gambling and gunshots are the norm, in two one act operas.  Buffalo's native son Darryl Glenn Nettle's "Stag Lee" and George Gershwin's "Blue Monday" (an important artistic step on the way to composing "Porgy and Bess") are presented by Buffalo Opera Unlimited Friday at 8pm and Sunday at 2:30pm.  Artistic Director Tim Kennedy spoke with WNED's Peter Hall.

Los Angeles based composer Miguel del Aguila has a long relationship with Chautauqua, Buffalo, and JoAnn Falletta, who asked Miguel to write a concerto for BPO Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov with a tango flavor.  Miguel told WNED's Peter Hall that the cello is THE sound of the tango, but that, while many tangos are sad, he added some humor to his lyrical piece.  It's a world premiere of "Concierto en Tango," Saturday 5/10 at 8pm and Sunday 5/11 at 2:30pm at Kleinhans Music Hall.

Roman Mekinulov, who is a big bear of a cellist, had a Goldilocks story to tell WNED's Peter Hall about collaborating with composer Miguel del Aguila on a cello concerto.  Sometimes the "Concierto Tango" was too easy, sometimes it was too hard, but in the end it was just right.  You can hear it May 10th at 8pm and May 11th at 2:30 pm at Kleinhans as JoAnn Falletta conducts the BPO.  

  

 Chautauqua and TSO favorite, violinist Jacques Israelievitch, will perform The Complete Mozart Violin Sonatas with pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico - all 28 sonatas in one day - Sunday, May 4 at Gallery 345, at 345 Sorauren Ave. (south of Dundas, between Lansdowne and Roncesvalles). The marathon will be divided into four concerts, at 11 a.m., and 1, 3 and 5 p.m., with 20 minute breaks in between the four “sets.”  

It's a "Big Band Salute with Matt Catingub" and swing into spring at Kleinhans Music Hall, Saturday evening at 8:00 at Kleinhans Music Hall.  WNED's Peter Hall spoke with the conductor, arranger, saxophonist, vocalist, and more!

BPO Principal Tubist Don Harry can trace his musical DNA through his teacher to Herbert L. Clarketo John Philip Sousa.   Buffalo Brass Choir’s Nick Delbello and Don Harry told WNED’s Peter Hall what to expect Friday, May 2 at 7:30 at Baker Memorial United in East Aurora and Sunday, May 4th at 3:00 at St. Joseph’s University Church.

When most artists perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, they sit or stand in one spot, but percussionist Colin Currie will be dashing from left to right across the entire stage at Kleinhans Music Hall when he plays a variety of instruments in American composer Jennifer Higdon's "Percussion Concerto" Saturday night at 8:00 and Sunday afternoon at 2:30.  How does he arrange the stage, does he have to wear a special outfit, and how does he stay in shape are just some of the questions that WNED's Peter Hall asked.

Composer Russell Platt might not leap on stage with a single bound or bend notes with his bare hands, but he is, in fact, often disguised as a mild-mannered music reporter for a great metropolitan magazine (The New Yorker).  Platt’s “Eurydice, [your-id-a-see] A Serenade for Strings” has its American premiere this weekend (4/26 at 8pm and 4/27 at 2:30pm at Kleinhans) with JoAnn Falletta and the BPO.  WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

Arrangers. They might not write the songs the whole world sings, but they make the hits, says Janz Castelo, BPO violist and Artistic Director of the Buffalo Chamber Players who told WNED’s Peter Hall about a whole program of transcriptions and arrangements, some of them with guitarist JoAnn Falletta. The concert is Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30 at Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway near Elmwood Avenue.

The Erie County Chamber Winds have discovered yet another forgotten woman in music- Ruth Gipps (1921-1999) a British composer, oboist, pianist and impresario – and she figures prominently on their first CD.  They’re holding a “CD launch” concert in the acoustical marvel we know as the Ciminelli Recital Hall on the 3rd floor of Buff State’s Rockwell Hall this Wednesday, April 16th at 7:30.  BSC Wind Director Rick Fleming spoke about Gipps, acoustics, Harmonie Ensembles (and a whole lot more, as only a professor can do!) with WNED’s Peter Hall.

Even in the 18th century, music was being "dumbed down" to make it more acceptable, but this Wednesday Dr. Gerald Gray will be conducting the original, almost overwhelming, almost violent version of Bach's "St. John Passion" on April 16th at 8:00pm at Rosch Recital Hall in the SUNY Fredonia Campus.  WNED's Peter Hall had questions about the meaning of religious music terms and exactly what Bach was intending.

Is stage fright a good thing?  "Yes!" says SUNY Fredonia School of Music guitar professor James Piorkowski who recently spoke to WNED's Peter Hall about guitarist, composer and arranger Roland Dyens leading a master class for SUNY Fredonia School of Music guitar students who will play original compositions by their fellow composition students.  That's at Diers Recital Hall this Tuesday, April 15th at 5:00pm.  Then, Thursday, April 17th at 8:00, Maestro Dyens plays original compositions of his own at Rosch Recital Hall.

After eight years as Concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Ludwig is leaving at the end of this season to pursue an exclusive solo career.  Actually, he's the soloist this weekend at Kleinhans and a few days ago he spoke with WNED's Peter Hall about the history of the Korngold Violin Concerto (remember Heifetz?) and his own musical legacy (which goes back to the teacher of Heifetz, Leopold Auer)!

Erin Freeman of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Janz Castelo of the Buffalo Chamber Players continue their discussion with WNED's Peter Hall concerning the Friday April 11 concert at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Delaware Avenue at 8:00.

It's a matter of physics, says violist Janz Castelo, the Artistic Director of the Buffalo Chamber Players.  It's all about listening, says Erin Freeman, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.  Both organizations team up for "War and Peace: A Concert for Hope" at Westminster Presbyterian Church Friday, April 11th at 8pm.  Janz and Erin tell WNED's Peter Hall how different performing groups can work together.

For every job that Steve Thomas has retired from, he's taken on at least two more, often working with younger people and learning new things.  It's what keeps him invigorated, he told WNED's Peter Hall.  Steve's farewell concert as Music Director of The Amherst Symphony Orchestra is at the Amherst Middle School this Sunday, April 6th at 7:00pm.

You've been to Kleinhans Music Hall but have you ever been on stage with the performers? At 7:30 this Thursday at "Music in Buffalo's Historic Places" the musicians want you right next to them as they play different "Sequenzas" for solo instruments by 20th century composer Luciano Berio. Pianist Eric Huebner explains his concept to WNED's Peter Hall.

The classical guitar is neither easy to play nor to compose for, but at SUNY Fredonia composition and performance students are collaborating and learning from each other, as guitarist James Piorkowski explained to WNED's Peter Hall.

Bugs Bunny?  Founding member Bill Kanengiser explains to WNED's Peter Hall some sources of inspiration for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet 's unique sound.  The LAGQ comes to SUNY Fredonia's Rosch Recital Hall for a Masterclass on Thursday and a formal concert Friday, April 4th at 8pm.

Did cellist Natasha Farny really battle wolves in Brazil?Well, sort of.Hear about her recent trip and what she learned "south of the border" in a conversation with WNED's Peter Hall.Natasha performs this Sunday, April 6th, at 3:30pm at the "Friends of Vienna" concert.

Is getting ready to perform Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo & Juliet" (Friday April 4th at 7:30pm at Shea's) anything like getting ready to be on "Dancing with the Stars?"  Can ballet dancers do "The Electric Slide?"  And what do ballet dancers eat, anyway?  WNED's Peter Hall wanted to know more, and some of the answers from dancer Heidi Halt of Neglia Ballet Artists might surprise you, too.

Who is your "guitar hero?" Maybe classical guitarist Jason Vieaux or rock guitarist Erik Clapton.  They themselves would be astounded by what Chinese born Pipa artist Wu Man can do with just ten fingers and four strings.  You’ll be amazed too at this weekend’s BPO concerts.  WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

A few centuries back, plays had what we call “incidental music” which served the same function that movie music plays in cinema.  In the current run of the play “RED” at “seven-ten Main” abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko listens to a lot of classical music. WNED’s Peter Hall found out why.

"For sheer sonorous beauty, I think this is the top concert of the year" said JoAnn Falletta about this weekend's concert series at Kleinhans Music Hall, Saturday 3/22 at 8pm and Sunday 3/23 at 2:30.  Sweeping melodies by Barber, Vaughan Williams, and Mahler with special guest soloist Heidi Grant Murphy.  WNED's Peter Hall found out more.

German tenor Jonas Kaufmann can be seen in movie theatres in the encore HD broadcast of Massenet's opera "Werther" Wednesday, March 19th at 6:30pm.  In this extended interview with exclusive web-only content, Kaufmann discussed with WNED's Peter Hall the difference between "operatic" gestures and his more natural style of acting.

 

Many of our listeners gather spiritual strength from classical music.  Has this winter seemed especially long?  Refresh your soul this Sunday, March 16th at 7:00pm at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church with "Jubilant Reflections on the Vernal Equinox."  WNED's Peter Hall spoke with Music Directors Chris Weber and Justin Pomietlarz.

Rochester’s Tamar Greene is a young tenor with the national tour of “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess” on stage at Shea’s through Sunday.  He has three pieces of advice for aspiring singers…. Work Hard, Don’t Give Up, and a third piece of advice you might not have thought of.  WNED’s Peter Hall found out more.

George and Ira Gershwin's opera about life on Catfish Row has been adapted by Pulitzer winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks with music arranged by Diedre L. Murray into the more "Broadway" styled, very high energy "The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess."  It's on stage at Shea's Performing Arts Center through Sunday evening, March 16th, and in the cast is Rochester's Tamar Greene, tenor, who spoke with WNED about saying "yes" when opportunity calls.

The play "Red" about painter Mark Rothko opens this Friday at 8pm. As part of the Burchfield-Penney's "2nd Friday" series, "A Musical Feast" offers music by Rothko's friend, Morton Feldman. Talk about synesthesia. It will be like hearing a painting. Then exciting Ukrainian pianist Dmitri Novgorodsky joins husband and wife Shih-Jian Tsai and Feng Hew in Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 1, described by Robert Schumann as "the master trio of the age." WNED found out more.

The organ parts are fiendishly difficult, so you won't get to hear Poulenc's Organ Concerto nor Durufle's Reqiuem very often, but this Sunday at 11:00am, Garrett Martin joins musicians (many from the BPO) along with choir to perform these two works at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Avenue at Summer, in Buffalo.  WNED found out more.

The great German composer Beethoven and two South Americans with Italian backgrounds share the stage as violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen joins the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and guest conductor Daniel Hege  Saturday night 3/8 at 8:00pm at Kleinhans Music Hall.  WNED found out more as you'll hear in this interview with exclusive web content.

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