Veni, vici, viola! Mornings, May 29 - June 1

Veni, vici, viola! Mornings, May 29 - June 1

Brenda wakes you up with the charm and energy of classical music, the Writers Almanac, and a special series of reports on this week’s International Viola Congress in Rochester.


Test your memory of band favorites this week on the daily Mystery Piece at 6:40 a.m.

Tuesday, May 29           

Wake up to the Adventures of Robin Hood, Korngold’s panoramic film music.  Joshua Bell plays two captivating dances from Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, and we’ll enjoy one of the most beloved works for viola, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola.

If you don’t quite know the difference between a violin and viola, you’re not alone.  This week, hundreds of violists from all over the world are gathering at the Eastman School for the 40th Annual International Viola Congress. WXXI’s Jeanne Fisher has an overview and a reason why there are so many viola jokes out there.

Wednesday, May 30

Start the day with a performance from Eastman viola professor George Taylor, the buzz of wasps, a dreamy evocation of a lovely May evening.

MORE ON THE VIOLA CONGRESS    World-renowned violist Atar Arad is returning to Rochester for the International Viola Congress. He was a professor at the Eastman School of Music in the 1980s when he was a member of the Cleveland Quartet. In addition to an extensive performing career and currently teaching at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Arad is a self-described “late-bloomer composer.” In an interview with Mona Seghatoleslami, he discussed his approach to composing, playing, and teaching.

Thursday, May 31 

Brenda offers you works by Faure, Beethoven, and a musical painting of summer from Eastman violist Carol Rodland.

MORE ON THE VIOLA CONGRESS   Nokuthula Ngwenyama came to international attention after winning the Primrose International Viola Competition at age 17. She’s currently a busy touring recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician. She also has a Master in Theological Studies from Harvard and plays in a band called “The Surfing Godzillas.” Ngwenyama discussed all of these things in an interview with Mona Seghatoleslami.

Friday, June 1

Wake up to a new day (and a new month) with recently-added recordings from the WXXI music library.

FEATURED INTERVIEW   Edward Schell knew from his early days as his high school’s organist that he would spend his career making music.  Now, on the eve of his retirement as Minister of Music of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester (a position that he has held since 1978) he looks back, talks about the most important thing he’s learned about church music, and tells the story of the highly unusual way his congregation got a badly-needed pipe organ. (Hear Brenda’s entire conversation with Ed in a podcast at