With the RPO since: 1970
My earliest musical memory is hearing my parents and siblings play Christmas music together and knowing I wanted to be a part of it.
I knew I would make music my career when I realized I was happiest when I picked up my violin and played – especially in my teenage years.
Most influential teachers: All the colleagues and conductors with whom I am privileged to make music.
Favorite composer and/or musical period: It really depends on my mood. Bach is generally my favorite composer because of the beauty of the sound and the amazing construction of his works. And Mozart is wonderfully refreshing.
What do you most enjoy about performing? Sharing the music I love with others and continually being challenged to perform my best.
What is your favorite part of being a member of the RPO? I enjoy the feeling of community and commitment I share with my colleagues.
When I’m not onstage, you might find me with family and friends. I also like reading, jogging and teaching.
I’ve always thought it might be fun to be a real athlete with all the time available for training.
I love to dine anyplace that serves chips, chocolate and ice cream!
My favorite thing about Rochester is all the wonderful people I know and care about. Also, Rochester is a town that has a solid appreciation for the arts.
What do you think is the Orchestra’s most important role in our community? Music is a wonderful reminder of life’s emotions. It feeds the soul. I also feel that the Orchestra has a great responsibility to educate young people.
Ellen Rathjen joined the RPO violin section in 1970 after graduating from Arizona State University. While at ASU she played with the Phoenix Symphony. Her teachers have included Eugene Lombardi and Millard Taylor. She has held adjunct teaching positions at Houghton College and Roberts Wesleyan College, along with having an active private studio. Ms. Rathjen also plays with the Rochester Chamber Orchestra.