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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: The New York Youth Symphony

The cover of the New York Youth Symphony CD
The cover of the New York Youth Symphony CD

It was the fall of 2020. Live performances were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Michael Repper realized that they wouldn’t be able to play their annual concert at Carnegie Hall. So what’s an orchestra to do? Record a CD! Dynamic pieces were chosen by three Black women composers: Florence Price, Valerie Coleman, and NYYS alumna Jessie Montgomery. Since they couldn’t safely record with all 110 musicians in the studio at one time, the recording was done in pieces, then mixed together. The result is a vibrant debut CD on Avie Records for the NYYS, including Price’s Ethiopia’s Shadow in America, which has never before been recorded in America.

And, although a concert in Carnegie Hall would supply many wonderful memories, “This digital moment,” says NYYS Executive Director Shauna Quill, “is going to be forever.”

Here’s a video on the making of the album:

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.