March 6, 2014

Reflections from RPYO Musicians

The Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra performs its annual side-by-side concert with the RPO Sunday, March 9 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. In addition to music by Holst, Rachmaninoff, and John Williams, the concert will feature performances by the five winners of the RPYO's December Concerto Competition. When auditioning for Concerto Competitions, RPYO Musicians are asked to express their thoughts on performing as soloists with the RPYO. Our thanks to the five winners for sharing the following reflections.

Ethan Hasiuk, timpani
Brighton High School

I almost abandoned my plan to audition to solo with the RPYO. After returning from a six week summer program at Cornell University, I was hesitant to even resume practice on the concerto for I knew that my performance would not meet my standards. Fortunately, my teacher, RPO Principal Timpanist Chip Ross, reassured me, telling me for the first time that he took a five year break from timpani while focusing on other areas of his life but eventually returned to the instrument with renewed focus and determination. He reminded me of the value of diverse experiences. Not only did I change my mind about the concerto, but I have since made it my mission to pursue opportunities even when they are initially disguised as roadblocks. To demonstrate to my RPYO colleagues and audience the capabilities and stylistic range of the timpani as a solo instrument is an important part of fulfilling my new mission.

Philip Glick, trombone
Victor Senior High School

It is hard for me to believe that this is my fifth year as a member of the RPYO, considering how quickly the past few years have gone by. Even after five seasons and two tours with the orchestra, it still seems as though my involvement with the RPYO is coming to an end far too soon. Performing a solo with my peers and for the audience in front of these amazing RPYO musicians has been something I have dreamed of even since I joined the orchestra back in 2009. Playing with an orchestra is one thing, but performing in front of one is an entirely different experience!

David Steinhardt, guitar
Pittsford Mendon High School

Concierto de Aranjuez, composed by Joaquin Rodrigo, is undoubtedly one of the most famous works in the classical guitar repertory. The second movement, the composer’s lament for the death of his newborn child, is extremely moving, emotional, and powerful. At its climax, nearly in tears while listening to a live performance by the renowned guitarist Pepe Romero, I realized the true power of music. I felt the emotional pain/anger that Rodrigo was expressing and could only imagine how terrible a time he had endured. Performing this piece allows me to share not only this wonderful music but also the beauty and complexity of the classical guitar, which is all too often under-represented among the string instruments in the world of classical music.

James Guo, violin
Brighton High School

As a member of such an accomplished, distinguished, and passionate group of young musicians, I have been infinitely blessed and am forever grateful for the extraordinary friends, memories, and music I have been exposed to in the RPYO over the past four years. The RPYO has taught me that hard work and dedication to a passion bears fruits of success and satisfaction. To me, each Sunday’s gathering does not constitute a three-hour rehearsal, but rather a three-hour celebration--a celebration of the unique and awe-inspiring power of music to bring exceptional students into a beautifully unified state of mind. 

Martine Thomas, viola
Wilson High School

Considering a career in music, I have experienced many aspects of the music profession—chamber music, orchestras, solo recitals, competitions, group and private teaching, and masterclasses. However, I have never had the opportunity to solo with an orchestra. I had been hoping to experience this first with the RPYO, since the group consists of many musicians with whom I feel connected on a personal and musical level. Additionally, soloing on the stage of Kodak Hall has always been a dream of mine. The theatre holds such personal significance for me, as a symbol of my musical aspirations and as a representation of the musical spirit of my hometown of Rochester. 

Hear these talented young musicians perform alongside the wonderful musicians of the RPYO this Sunday, March 9 at 3 PM in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.
The RPO joins the RPYO for the program's second half, performing music by Holst and Rachmaninoff.