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And the Winners Are ...

December 04, 2006

RPO announces “Search for a Star” Competition winners

Rochester, NY – After countless hours in the practice room, two rounds of auditions and a big dose of ambition, 10 local high school students have been chosen as the winners in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s first “Search for a Star” Competition. As their “prize,” these student musicians will appear in concert with the RPO and Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik on Sunday, March 4, 2007 at 2 p.m. at the Eastman Theatre as part of the RPO’s Casual Sunday Matinee Series. Impressed with the caliber of auditions, Tyzik said, “I’m looking forward to having some of Rochester’s most talented young musicians on stage with the RPO. It will be a great experience for all.” The following is a list of the winners, with their schools and instruments, where applicable:


  • Anna Lenti - Aquinas Institute Senior; soprano
  • Tobias Greenhalgh - Greece Athena H.S. Senior; baritone
  • Jenna Owens - Greece Athena H.S. Senior; soprano
  • Aaron Sperber - Pittsford Sutherland H.S. Senior; tenor


  • Glenna Curren - Penfield H.S. Senior; cello
  • Tara Brooks - Fairport H.S. Senior; marimba
  • Andrew Hawk - Livonia Central H.S. Junior; piano


  • Gabe Condon - Penfield H.S. Sophomore; guitar
  • Zachary Brown - Gates Chili H.S. Senior; drums
  • Karl Stabnau - Brighton H.S. Senior; baritone saxophone
    These three students auditioned separately, but will be performing together as a jazz trio at the concert.

Nearly 100 performers from 30 high schools competed in the first round of live auditions, narrowed down to 21 for the final round of call-backs. The competition was open to vocal and instrumental performers in both classical and pops divisions from the seven county area in grades 10-12. Judges included choral conductor and vocal educator Harold McAulliffe; RPO Director of Artistic Operations Andy Cassano; RPO cellist Polly Hunsburger; RPO violinist Ellen Rathjen; RPO hornist Stephanie Zimmerman; guitarist and City Newspaper music editor Frank DeBlase; and Jeff Tyzik.

Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two ASCAP awards for adventurous programming in recent years.

RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO.


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