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Vocalist, Pianist, and RPO Bring Youthful Energy to Temple B'rith Kodesh Fundraiser

July 21, 2009

Rochester NY – Two young, rising stars are matched with youthful compositions written by famous composers when the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra takes the stage for Temple B’rith Kodesh’s annual benefit concert (2131 Elmwood Avenue) at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28.  Conductor Michael Butterman (the Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) and the RPO are joined by opera and recital soloist, soprano Elena O’Connor, and pianist Joseph Mohan, top prize-winner of the 2009 Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL) Young Artist Audition.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 was written when the composer was only 17.  The RPO performs the first movement of this symphony, made more famous to contemporary ears as the opening music in Miloš Forman’s 1984 film Amadeus. The composer’s aria L’amero, saro costante from his opera Il Re Pastore (The Shepherd King), was written just two years after the symphony, and features guest soprano Elena O’Connor.  Youthful exuberance comes to the fore when 17 year-old Joseph Mohan takes the stage in Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto, written when the composer was only 21.  The glorious melodies of Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 will close the concert.  Written in 1816 when the composer was not quite 20, the work achieves an intimacy using a light and delicately orchestrated hand, without clarinets, trumpets, or timpani. 

The 28 year-old soprano and Rochester native Elena O’Connor studied at the Eastman School of Music and graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Music, where she sang one of the lead roles in the American premiere of Luigi Mancinelli’s Paola e Francesca. She also was noted by the New York Times for her “standout” performance at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha.  Ms. O’Connor was a multi-year prizewinner in the Palm Beach Opera International Vocal Competition, as well as a winner of the Aspen Music Festival’s Vocal Concerto Competition.  After her performance with the Cincinnati May Festival, the Cincinnati Enquirer touted her as “a young star to watch.”

Joseph Mohan just completed his junior year at Clarence High School in Clarence, NY.  A student at the Eastman Community Music School, he studies piano with Alla Kuznetsov.  His many accolades include awards from the New York Music Teachers National Association, the Julia Crane Piano Competition, the Thousand Island Piano Competition, and a performance with the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra.  Most recently, Joseph has been chosen to play with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the South Carolina Philharmonic this coming season. As a result of winning the RPL’s Special Award, Mohan was given the opportunity to audition for this coveted appearance.  In addition to the Special Award, he also had the distinction of winning the Ness Award – the top prize in the Piano category. 

Tickets for this concert are $18/advance; $20/at the door. Ticket information is available by calling Temple B’rith Kodesh at (585) 244-7060, emailing sclark@tbk.org, or by visiting www.tbk.org.   Special sponsorship levels also are available.


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