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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: Orchestral Music VI - The Sound the Stars Make by Barbara Harbach

Barbara Harbach:  Orchestra Music VI - The Sound the Stars Make
MSR Records
Cover of Barbara Harbach CD

Barbara Harbach, who earned a doctorate in composition from the Eastman School of Music, is in our spotlight with her newest release, Orchestral Music VI – The Sound the Stars Make, a mix of new orchestral works and orchestrations of previous compositions. Barbara Harbach wears many musical hats as a composer, harpsichordist, organist, and professor of music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her music is tuneful, and her musical inspirations are often American.

Harbach has long worked to support women in music - she is a co-founder of the journal, Women of Note Quarterly and her Vivace Press publishes music by underrepresented composers – so it’s no surprise that her music incorporates these voices. The suite “Mischances of Life” is drawn from Harbach’s Willa Cather based opera O Pioneers!, and the title piece, The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky is an orchestration of her song cycle that set the poetry of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, the first known Native American poet and the first known Native American woman writer, to music. And the CD begins with a suite inspired by one of the earliest known composers, Hildegard of Bingen. “Spaindango – A Tango Caprice,” a snappy tune, was originally written for harpsichord.

Barbara Harbach herself has felt the sting of sexism; her organ professor in Germany told her that he "did not believe that women belonged on the organ bench." And yet, as they say, she has persisted, releasing dozens of CDs in multiple musical formats. Orchestra Music VI encourages and inspires us all to rise above.

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.