January 8, 2014

RPYO Musicians Reach Out

by RPYO Manager Susan Basu

Daphne Pickens and Casey Murray
The teen-aged musicians of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra may be intently focused on their instruments, engrossed in learning great symphonic works and delighting us with fine RPYO performances. But this is only part of their busy and creative lives. Many are deeply involved in volunteer work at hospitals, churches, and community organizations; participate in school math, science, entrepreneurship, and Model U.N. teams; play field hockey, soccer, tennis or run cross-country.

Their musical involvements also stretch well beyond the youth orchestra. Some of our students compose and perform their own music, some have their own teaching studios, and others work on developing their conducting skills for future careers in music teaching and ensemble directing.

They are all such interesting and delightful young people! Here are just four with especially wide musical involvements.

MARTINE THOMAS is a senior at the Wilson Commencement Academy. As co-principal violist of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, Martine spent part of last summer rehearsing in New York and performing in some of the world’s greatest concert halls: New York City’s Avery Fisher Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, the Moscow Conservatory, the St. Petersburg Mariinsky II, and London’s Royal Albert Hall.

DAVID STEINHARDT, a junior at Pittsford Mendon High School, plays double bass in the RPYO but already occupies a prominent place in the world of classical guitar. He was the winner of the 2013 Youth Competition in the Montreal International Classical Guitar Festival and Competition. This past October, he was invited to San Antonio for a classical guitar residency that took him into local high schools and universities to give recitals and master classes.
DAPHNE KANACK-PICKENS and CASEY MURRAY, 12th grade violinist at The Harley School  and 11th grade home-schooled cellist, perform many styles of music and especially love traditional folk and string music. When their friend and fellow RPYO musician Eric Levy passed away unexpectedly this past summer, they wanted to create something lasting in his memory. With several musical friends they recorded a CD – entitled To Zamir after Eric’s Hebrew name –with mostly original folk/fiddle music performed on acoustic violin, cello, guitar, and mandolin.

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