Classical 94.5 WNED Interviews

Mozart ‘s opera “Don Giovanni” premiered around the same time as our founding fathers were writing the U.S. Constitution and the ideas of freedom and how we treat our fellows were imbedded in DaPonte’s libretto.  Western New York Chamber Orchestra Artistic Director and Conductor Glen Cortese spoke about this, and more, with WNED on the eve of two performances, Friday March 27th at 7:30pm at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1080 Main Street in Buffalo and Sunday, March 29th at 4pm at King Concert Hall on the SUNY Fredonia campus.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra continues its very popular Beethoven Festival with a Friday morning "Coffee Concert" at 10:30 and a concert Saturday night, March 28th at 8pm, both at Kleinhans Music Hall.  Pianist Norm Krieger will be recording Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 for a future CD and Buffalo's sweetheart, soprano Emily Helenbrook, joins dynamic local actor Matt Witten for a melodrama based on Egmont.  BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta spoke with WNED.


As the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra winds down the 2014-2015 concert season, JoAnn Falletta has programmed a number of 20th century works.  And, one more time, the BPO's "Explainer-in-Chief" Paul Ferington will walk us through the music at three separate BPOvation events: Wednesday, March 25 at noon at the Downtown Library, at 6:30 at the Orchard Park Public Library, and Wednesday April 1st at 7:00 at the Amherst Audubon Public Library.  All talks are free and open to anyone.  Paul spoke a bit to WNED about some of the composers, including Bernstein, Ives, Penderecki, and Shostakovich.

The Amherst Symphony Orchestra presents "A Trio of Trumpets" (the BPO's Alex Jokipii, Geoffrey Hardcastle, and Philip Christner) in music from Bizet's Carmen arranged just for them, along with favorites by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Leroy Anderson at the Amherst Middle School, 55 Kings Highway, March 29th at 7pm.  Guest Conductor Stefan Sanders of the BPO spoke with WNED and attempts to answer the question "Who are the orchestra's biggest jokers - the trumpet section or the trombones?"


JoAnn Falletta spoke to WNED about trying an experiment during the first weekend of the two-part Beethoven Festival.  She has programmed both Beethoven's first symphony and his last, the mighty 9th with chorus and soloists. The two works are separated by 25 years, quite different, but both unmistakably Beethoven.  The concerts are Saturday March 21 at 8pm and Sunday March 22 at 2:30pm.  

Joining Canada's Elora Festival Singers at Carnegie Hall on March 13th will be Buffalo's Harmonia Chamber Singers.  But this weekend, the "HarmoniaCS" will sing "Into Light" - it's a cappella by candlelight - Friday March 6th at 8pm at St. Louis Church, Edward at Main in downtown Buffalo, and Sunday, March 8th at 7pm at St. Peter RC Church in Lewiston.  Artistic Director Robert Pacillo speaks about the concept and the venues.

Irish Classical Theatre's Vincent O'Neill talks about Samuel Beckett's radio play "Words and Music" which discusses which is more important in memory - words or music?  Vincent plays "Words" while a 7 instrument group represents music as composed by Morton Feldman at the next "Musical Feast."  It may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience this, Friday March 13 at 8pm at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

With a cappella choral favorites from 13 countries sung in 7 different languages from Latin to Russian to Swahili, Vocalis Chamber Choir presents "Spirit in Sound" Saturday, March 14, 7:30 pm at Parkside Lutheran Church in Buffalo and Sunday, March 15, 4:00 at St. Matthias Church in East Aurora.  Vocalis' Music Director James Burritt explains more about the programs.

In a separate interview, Irish Classical Theatre's Vincent O'Neill talks about Samuel Beckett's radio play "Words and Music" which is the second half of the Musical Feast  concert, Friday March 13 at 8pm at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Performing as both pianist and composer in both halves of the concert, Amy Williams discusses the importance of 20th century composers such as Elliott Carter and Morton Feldman.  And, Thursday, March 12 at Pausa Art House on Wadsworth Street, Amy will play John Cage's landmark "Sonatas and Interludes" for "prepared" solo piano using "preparations" (screws, paper clips, rubber bands) selected by the composer himself. Doors open at Pausa at 6pm, the recital is at 8pm.

The Elora Festival Singers are on their way to prestigious Carnegie Hall where, on Friday, March 13, at 8pm they will participate in "A Capella Next"  - an evening devoted to contemporary choral music.  Featured every summer at the Elora (Canada) Summer Festival, they also provide the professional core of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir which appears with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  WNED spoke with Elora co-founder Noel Edison.

For 30 years Tim Kennedy of Buffalo Opera Unlimited has been mounting productions to let local singers showcase their talents.  In this conversation, Tim reveals the percentage of trained opera singers who actually have careers and reveals the tension between Da Ponte (book and lyrics) and Mozart (music) for their first collaboration "Cosi fan tutte" which you can see Friday 3/13 at 8pm and Sunday 3/15 at 2pm at UB's Center for the Arts.

 The 7 Sutherland Sisters of Lockport fascinated 19th century America, not only for their incredibly long hair (due to their father's “miraculous” hair tonic), but also for their wonderful (and low) voices.  Buffalo female baritone Suzanne Fatta with accompanist Roland E. Martin will present a musical program called “Paralyzing the Boys: The Seven Singing Sutherland Sisters” on Sunday, March 8th at 2pm in Forest Lawn Cemetery’s new Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center accessible off Main Street directly across from Canisius College.

A graduate of Juilliard and Harvard, violinist Rachel Lee Priday plays the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Fredonia College Symphony, David Rudge conducting, this Saturday, March 7th, at 8pm at King Concert Hall. The concert opens with WNED favorite "Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla" and ends with Sibelius.  Rachel Lee Priday spoke with WNED about her famous teachers, how she named her violin "Alejandro," and how she approaches Tchaikovsky.

After introducing Buffalo audiences to French Canadian composer Andre Mathieu a few seasons back, JoAnn Falletta and pianist Alain LeFevre played Mathieu's Concerto No. 4 in Carnegie Hall to rave reviews.  This weekend, the "dynamic duo" is back at Kleinhans Music Hall as JoAnn conducts the BPO in Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F, "a masterpiece."  Alain Lefevre tells WNED about his repertoire, new composers, and why Gershwin's work is so fantastic.

International violin virtuoso Vadim Repin comes to Toronto's Koerner Hall on Friday, March 6th at 8pm with a program that includes Bartok, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky.  He spoke with WNED's Peter Hall about growing up in Siberia, wanting to study the accordion, but being given a violin, life in Vienna, his Guarneri del Gesu violin and Russian bow, and the program he'll perform this Friday night.