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Harpy Hour, June 5th

Join host Grace Browning, RPO Principal Harpist and this week's co-host Classical 91.5's Brenda Tremblay on Friday, June 5 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for our final Harpy Hour LIVE on WXXI's Facebook page. In this Harpy Hour, Grace and Brenda will be joined by Alexis Peart, mezzo-soprano; Julia Bullock, American vocalist; and Gerard Floriano, artistic director of the Finger Lakes Opera.

Harpy Hour is an online, virtual series that presents live musical performances, special guests, great conversation, trivia, and a featured establishment/local beverage! This week's featured local establishment is Happy Earth Tea.


More about your Harpy Hour Host and Her Co-Host:

Grace Browning
Grace Browning

  Grace Browning is RPO Principal Harpist. An avid opera harpist, Grace performed four seasons as Principal Harpist with the Dallas Opera and continues to perform with the Santa Fe Opera for their summer season. She has also performed regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and, most notably, with the Houston Symphony Orchestra as Guest Principal Harpist during their 2017-2018 season and European tour. Grace attended the Eastman School of Music from 2005 to 2007, received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in 2009, and finished her education at The Juilliard School, where she received her masters degree in 2011. She is also a New World Symphony Alum. To learn more about Grace visit her website by clicking here.

Brenda Tremblay

  Brenda Tremblay: A native of Albion, New York, NEA Fellow Brenda Tremblay bolts out of bed each weekday morning at 4:00 a.m. to present classical music on 91.5 FM, streaming at classical915.org.  Before she became a daily host on WXXI-FM in 2009, she tried her hand at every task in public radio, from hosting overnight blues gigs to freelancing for National Public Radio.  Her NPR reports and local documentaries earned three Gracies from the Association of Women in Radio and Television, many AP awards, and a national Gabriel Award. Brenda produces and hosts the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's radio concerts on Monday nights at 8 p.m. She also collaborates with WXXI news to cover the arts across all media services.

More about the artists:

Alexis Peart

  Alexis Peart: Lyric mezzo-soprano and New Jersey native, Alexis Peart is a recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music with Bachelor of Music degree with Distinction in Vocal Performance and Music Education and a recent inductee of the Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society. Alexis is a 2020 Wolf Trap Studio Artist. This past season with Eastman Opera Theater Alexis appeared as Der Trommler in Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Bessie in Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny-Songspiel, and Mrs. Lovett (cover) in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. She also joined baroque ensemble Collegium Musicum as Léonore in Andre Campra’s Le Carnaval de Vensice, Cupid in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, and performed the title role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Chicago Summer Opera. Alexis was named the 2019 Links Scholarship Recipient, recognizing her “extraordinary talent and academic achievement [as] an African-American scholar musician” and was a finalist in the 2020 Friends of Eastman Opera Competition. Alexis was the recipient the 2019 Ornest Award for vocal excellence and held the Howard Hanson Scholarship at Eastman. In addition to opera, Alexis also performs concert works and oratorios, appearing as the alto soloist in J.S. Bach’s Cantatas No. 102 “Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben,” No. 48 “Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlösen,” and No. 79 “Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild” with the Eastman Bach Cantata Series, and two-time soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Eastman’s “Messiah Sing.”

Julia Bullock

 Julia Bullock: American vocalist Julia Bullock is “a musician who delights in making her own rules” (New Yorker). Combining versatile artistry with a probing intellect and commanding stage presence, she has, in her early 30s, already headlined productions and concerts at some of the preeminent arts institutions worldwide. An innovative programmer whose artistic curation is in high demand, she serves as 2019-20 Artist-in-Residence of the San Francisco Symphony, while her past, present and future curatorial positions include 2018-19 Artist-in-Residence of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, opera-programming host of new broadcast channel All Arts, founding member of the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), and member of a newly created cross-disciplinary artistic team assembled by Esa-Pekka Salonen for his inaugural season as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony (2020-21). Chosen as one of WQXR’s “19 for 19” artists to watch in 2019, Bullock is also a prominent voice of social consciousness and activism. She is, in the words of Vanity Fair, “young, highly successful, [and] politically engaged,” with the “ability to inject each note she sings with a sense of grace and urgency, lending her performances the feel of being both of the moment and incredibly timeless.” For Julia's full bio, click here.

Gerard Floriano

  Gerard Floriano: An accomplished orchestral conductor who has worked extensively in opera, Maestro Gerard Floriano maintains a busy schedule as artistic director, music director, and guest conductor having conducted concerts in Krakow, Warsaw, Prague, Barcelona, Madrid, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Salzburg and Leipzig, as well as in many of America’s premier concert halls including NYC’s Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Baltimore’s Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Buffalo’s Kleinhans Music Hall. He is the visionary and creative force behind Finger Lakes Opera. Now in its eighth season, Finger Lakes Opera has become a glimmering treasure on the western New York cultural scene. “Finger Lakes Opera is one of the most vibrant arts organizations in western New York. Their level of artistry rivals the very best regional opera companies in the country.” (Anthony Dean Griffey, operatic tenor and professor of voice at the Eastman School of Music). Music critics have been effusive in their praise as well: John Pitcher wrote “Floriano proved to be nothing less than a virtuoso conductor... He led his fine orchestra with color, precision and a welcome degree of sweep... ushering in a New Age of Opera in Western New York." The 2015 production of Lelisir d'amore garnered similar acclaim from Rochester City Newspaper, "....Musical director and Finger Lakes Opera artistic director Gerard Floriano paced the whole show to perfection, and the orchestra...had every Donizettian detail in place.”

Special thanks to our featured local drinking establishment: 

Happy Earth Tea Company

Special thanks to our partner: