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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: In My Own Voice by Kelly Hall-Tompkins

Cover of In My Own Voice by Kelly Hall-Tompkins
Robert LaPorta
Cover of In My Own Voice by Kelly Hall-Tompkins

Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins has deep ties to Rochester. She is an alumna of the Eastman School of Music, where she earned a BM with honors in violin performance and won the prestigious Performer's Certificate. She’s also been the longtime Concertmaster for the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra, which has made its home in Rochester for many years. Beyond the Flower City, Kelly played for 13 seasons in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section, has soloed with orchestras throughout the country, as well as playing in countless chamber concerts.

But Kelly’s calling card goes beyond the concert halls – you’ll find her performing in New York City homeless shelters with Music Kitchen - Food for the Soul, a charity series she founded and directs. For over 400 performances, Broadway audiences heard Kelly’s solos in Fiddler on the Roof. Her multiple radio appearances have included WXXI’s Backstage Pass.

As the Gateways Music Festival settles in for three days in Rochester on the way to New York City and its sold out debut in Carnegie Hall, let’s shine a spotlight on the Concertmaster with her 2008 release In My Own Voice. It’s a CD filled with solos and duets, including a mesmerizing performance of Bach’s Chaconne and a heartbreaking rendition of William Grant Still’s “Summerland.” And if you have trouble finding the CD, you can easily get an MP3 download. And a side note - Kelly speaks eight languages, so she can translate for you wherever you may run into her.

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras was the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Classical until June 30, 2023 when she retired after more than 26 years of service. She also hosted the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.