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Young Artist Auditions Announces Winners

April 08, 2013

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For Immediate Release:  April 8, 2013
Media Contact:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, sally@sallycohenpr.com, @PR4Arts
RPO Info:  rpo.org, facebook.com/SuperRPO, twitter.com/SuperRPO, rpo-land.blogspot.com
RPL Info:  rpo.org/yaa

58th year for Rochester Philharmonic League event

Rochester, NY – Founded in 1929, the Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL) has held and funded an annual competition for high school musicians from nine counties in the greater Rochester area since 1955.  This year’s competition, held at Eastman School of Music on Sunday, March 17, saw 48 talented 10th, 11th and 12th graders registered to compete for a total of $4,500 in prizes and scholarships. The Special Award, which provides an opportunity to audition to perform as a soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, was also given. All award and scholarship winners are invited to perform in a free, public recital, Young Artists in Concert:  A Celebration of Winners, on Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music. 

“Many of this competition’s winners have gone on to highly successful careers as performers, music educators, and professionals in other music-related fields,” says RPL President Carol Shulman. “We’re very proud to support our area’s young people in their musical pursuits.”

Here are this year’s winners:

Nobel Hirsh Award for Male Vocalists ($500):
Aaron Bigeleisen (baritone, Pittsford), McQuaid Jesuit High School, student of Robert Swensen,
Runner Up:  Zacaria Manning (baritone, Avon), Avon Central High School, student of Amy Cochrane

Mildred and Julius Ness Award for Pianists ($500):
Stuart Burtner (piano, Rochester), home school, student of Bonnie Choi

Ruth and Sidney Salzman Award for Strings ($500):
Martine Thomas (viola, Rochester), Wilson High School, student of George Taylor
Runner up:  Annie Jacobs-Perkins (cello, Pittsford), Pittsford Mendon H.S. student of Kathleen Kemp

Helen and George Greer Instrumental Award ($500):
Stephanie Venturino (saxophone, Palmyra), home school, student of Chien-Kwan Lin
Runner Up:  Melanie Mashner (harp, Brighton), Brighton High School, student of Grace Wong
Honorable Mentions:  Brooke Nance (French horn, Rochester), Charles Finney H.S., student of Byron Johns; David Steinhardt (guitar, Pittsford), Pittsford Mendon H.S., student of Peter Kodzas

Tessa Martin Award for Female Vocalists ($500):
Kirstie Lynn Mosher (soprano, Lima), Livonia High School, student of Cecile Saine
Runner up:  Maureen Edwards (soprano, Corfu), Notre Dame High School, Batavia, student of Judith Ranaletta

Jan DeGaetani Scholarship for Vocalists ($1,000 scholarship for a senior who will major in music)
Michaela Swan (mezzo soprano, Penfield), Penfield High School, student of Kathryn Cowdrick

Aldridge-Tinker Scholarship for Instrumentalists ($1,000 scholarship for a senior who will major in music):  Stephanie Venturino (saxophone, Palmyra), home school, student of Chien-Kwan Lin

Special Award (provides audition opportunity for solo appearance with the RPO):
Aaron Bigeleisen (baritone, Pittsford), McQuaid Jesuit High School, student of Robert Swensen

“Winning both the Nobel Hirsh Award and the Special Award was an absolutely spectacular feeling,” says Brighton resident and McQuaid senior, Aaron Bigeleisen.  “To know that I was deemed worthy to sing with the RPO is an honor I have dreamed of, but never thought would become a reality.” 

In addition to the Young Artist Auditions, the Rochester Philharmonic League provides support for the education programs of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.  For example, more than 100 volunteers served as ushers/escorts for the February and March Education Concerts in Kodak Hall, where more than 10,000 elementary school students from nine counties saw the RPO led by Principal Education and Outreach Conductor Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair).

“We are so grateful to the members of the RPL, who continue to support some of the orchestra’s most important initiatives – those involving the education of our children,” says RPO President and CEO Charles Owens.  “We’re also happy to be able to offer the opportunities for talented young musicians to perform with this world-class orchestra.”

The Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL) was founded in 1929 as a volunteer support group for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.  For more than 80 years, the two organizations have collaborated to further their common goal of providing great music and music education in the greater Rochester community. The League’s current activities focus on educating young people about music and the RPO, and on fostering the advancement of music talent in the community’s youth. 

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents up to 150 concerts a year, serving nearly 200,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Notable former music directors include Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman; Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 19-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches 12,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.

Media please note:  High-resolution images of all YAA winners are available at
drive.google.com/folderYAA, and photo, footage and interview opportunities can be arranged.


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