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This is a place where our classical hosts, interns and artists can share their stories, viewpoints and point of view on topics related to classical music and the arts in general. Come back to this page often to read the latest and share your comments.

Classical Eclipse Concerts in Rochester (and a new Eclipse-inspired single!)

The sun obscured by the moon in an eclipse with a black background

As part of the many celebrations of the upcoming total eclipse in Rochester this spring, there are several cool classical concerts tapping into this celestial experience. Here’s a list of the ones I know about so far - and if you are planning something that’s not yet on our list, let me know!

Light & Dark: Eclipse Music 
fivebyfive @ the RMSC, Jan 20, 21, & 28

fivebyfive has commissioned new music for the eclipse,

which they are premiering at shows at the Strasenbergh Planetarium this weekend (already sold out well in advance!) - and an added date that still has tickets, January 28th at 4 p.m. One of these new pieces is “In the Path of Totality” by composer and violist Jessica Meyer that outlines the process of experiencing the eclipse in its different phases. ”

One part of the music is in Meyer's description, “a purely emotional response to what I can imagine to feel after witnessing such an event while also feeling the sense of community in connecting to those also present around me.”

She says that writing this music to be premiered at the planetarium, has made her “inner child” quite happy,. She recalls, “As a child, one of my favorite places to go was the Vanderbilt Planetarium in Long Island, NY. I loved being enveloped by the hugeness of the screen and the depth of the sounds while learning about how our world exists within the universe. That feeling of awe still rushed through me whenever I brought my son to Hayden Planetarium here in NYC. After becoming a composer, I noticed that nature and emotional states are recurring themes in my work.”

Fivebyfive just released a recording of "In the Path of Totality" as a single today - you can check it out on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music.

RPO Eclipse Spectacular
RPO & Friends, Blue Cross Arena, April 6 (sensory friendly) & 7

The RPO has put together a concert spectacular for the weekend before the eclipse, with programs that will include newly written compositions by Jeff Tyzik, sci-fi movie music favorites, aerialists from Troupe Vertigo, and dancers from Rochester City Ballet, all at the Blue Cross Arena. The full program is on Sunday, with an accessible, sensory friendly version on Saturday. Read more here.

Eastman’s Eclipse Concert
April 6, details TBD

Rochester’s eclipse planners have been at their work for YEARS, finding ways to make the experience educational and fun for as many people as possible. I started booking my eclipse weekend plans last spring right after a Live from Hochstein show, when pianist Priscilla Yuen asked me to host a concert the weekend of the eclipse at Eastman. I’m not yet sure of the details for this concert, but I know it’s been on my calendar for nearly a year, and that it’s sure to be something special. I’ll add details here as I get them.

Looking for more?
People have expressed fascination with the behavior of the heavens in music going back centuries, so I’m sure there are all sorts of earlier music connections to track down, and now there is a classical music eclipse playlist brewing in the back of my mind. I hope to share that soon, with some listening suggestions from everyone here at WXXI Classical.  

Mona Seghatoleslami is the Music Director, host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.