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You’d think things would slow down a bit during the hot summer months.  But across Western New York, classical musicians are busier than ever with rehearsals, concerts, “noncerts,” and workshops. 

A few weeks ago, a small crowd enjoyed the city’s first “Noncert.”  Rochester songwriters DM Stith, Ian Proper, and Matthew O'Brian (from Thunder Body) collaborated with musicians of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Eastman School of Music.  All donated their time: 100% of the benefit's proceeds will be used to purchase musical equipment for music programs within the Rochester City School District. Noncerts is a charity-based concert series founded in Brooklyn by Dave Godowsky. This writer reports that DM Stith was especially mesmerizing. Let’s hope for more “Noncerts.”

Classical 91.5 goes to the movies on July 19th!  When you tune in, you’ll hear both music created for movies and included in films such as this:


A busload of Rochesterians will leave for Chautauqua on Saturday, July 28th to hear former RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman conduct the Chautauqua Symphony in a program that includes the Ride of the Valkyries, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8,  and Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (soloist Alexander Gavrylyuk.)

 The next day, hundreds of local singers will perform Berlioz’s Requiem in a free concert at the Hochstein Performance Hall in Rochester on Sunday, July 29.  For the first time, the annual Finger Lakes Choral Festival will feature a guest conductor, Eric Townell, of the Rochester Oratorio Society.  After the WNY concert, most of the singers will fly to San Francisco to repeat the Berlioz Requiem at Davies Symphony Hall.

After a season of unusual collaborations and off-beat repertoire (The Rochester Songbook, for example), the Oratorio Society is returning to its roots next season.  Highlights will include Handel’s Messiah with the RPO; Puccini’s Gloria, Beethoven’s Mass in C, plus a new work by renowned local composer Glenn McClure. ROS is planning a U.S. tour in the summer of 2013 and an international tour in 2014.  Find audition information here.

Finally, your friends at WXXI are busy, too.  Afternoon host Mona Seghatoleslami meets new fans every week at the Hochstein at High Falls Series.  Click here for a schedule.  And it’s public radio day at Chautauqua on July 28th

One final blip: I recently toured a new, unfinished hospice facility near Rochester and am thrilled to have a small role in helping to raise funds for an organization that helps those facing advanced illness with optimal levels of comfort, compassion, and expertise.  Artist, craftspeople, gardeners, and staff at Hospice of Orleans County are preparing to open a beautiful new building that will surround very sick people with beauty and love.  I’m very pleased to be emceeing a celebratory banquet on Wednesday, July 25th.

To quote Yoda, “Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force.”