March 30, 2015

Meet the interns!

Something most people don’t know about the RPO is that we are committed to providing college students with internship opportunities in our administrative office.

From aspiring musicians and educators to business and creative arts majors, the RPO internship program has something to offer any student who is passionate about supporting the arts and interested in learning more “behind-the-scenes” aspects of running a symphony orchestra, from artistic and education to marketing, development, and special events.

This semester, we are pleased to have five interns who hail from the Eastman School of Music, St. John Fisher College and R.I.T., collectively. Read on for more information about our interns this semester!

The service scholar
Madison Hornick is a sophomore at St. John Fisher College pursuing an 
Madison Hornick
RPO Intern
English major and a business minor.

As a Fisher Service Scholar, Madison found the RPO while looking for a place to volunteer her time. In high school, she was an active member of the theatre and music departments. She is looking forward to learning from those she works with and growing in experience and awareness of our community!

The educator
Aimee Lillienstein is a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music
Aimee Lillienstein
Education Intern
pursuing a master's degree in music education.

As an avid performer and educator, Aimee has always been interested in educational outreach and connecting professional musicians with school programs and young students. In her internship, she is able to gain experience in the administrative details that go into putting on a concert/educational event while also thinking of creative music-making activities to enhance the student's orchestral experience.

The outreach specialist
Seo Hee Min is a senior at the Eastman School of Music
Seo Hee Min
Special Events Intern
pursuing a dual degree in business and violin performance.

As a musician, she has always appreciated support from the local community. She decided to intern at the RPO because she wanted to work more closely with volunteers and to give back to the community not just as a musician, but also as an administrator.

The arts advocate
Andrew O’Connor is a senior at the Eastman School of Music
Andrew O'Connor
Marketing Intern
pursuing an applied music major for double bass and a minor in history at the University of Rochester. He is interested in learning the inner workings of symphonies and arts organizations in hopes of finding ways to ensure the future success of symphony orchestras. He is also an avid car and fitness enthusiast, participating in swimming, boxing and kettlebell competitions in his spare time.


The filmmaker
Austin Quinlan is a third year film and animation student at the 
Austin Quinlan
Video Production Intern
Rochester Institute of Technology. He is currently the Video Production intern at the RPO, helping to combine his love for orchestral music with his passion for filmmaking. A former vocalist and tuba player himself, he now dedicates all of his time to film.

Fun facts:
The RPO  has a track record of hiring some of our best interns after graduation, such as Marketing Manager Katy Judd (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, grad. 2010) and Development Assistant Olivia Grant (SUNY Potsdam, Crane School of Music, grad. 2014). RPO interns also have the opportunity to attend concerts for free, which is not only a fun perk, but helps them understand why we do what we do!

If you are a college student interested in interning for the RPO’s administrative office in a particular sector, we’d love to hear from you!

Special thanks to Kathy Miller, the RPO’s administrative and volunteer coordinator, for collecting the bios and photos!

March 20, 2015

Meet the (cover) artist: Jane Notides-Benzing

"Fields" by Jane Notides-Benzing graces
the March/April Bravo
Our March/April Bravo cover was designed by Jane Notides-Benzing, a retired technical writer from Rochester. Notides-Benzing is a winner of the RPO Bravo Award, granted to eight artists whose work was displayed at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center 6X6X2014 Exhibition. The 2014-15 Bravo program covers were selected anonymously by RPO staff from RoCo's display of almost 7,000 small artworks. Congratulations to Jane, and come check out her artwork on the Bravo program covers through April 18!

Personal: Jane Notides-Benzing of Rochester

Retired, previously worked for Xerox and Kodak.

Do you have other experience as an artist? I have given private art lectures about contemporary art and written art reviews. Currently, I pursue my own art.

How did you develop the concept for your art? After many years of painting on large canvases I began to prefer actual rather than illusion space in my art. I am intrigued by the 3D aspects of painted, incised, and folded papers. Whether presented single sculptural objects, such as my winning Bravo art, or several combined forms within a clear acrylic case, my art has become more materially present, more complex, and richer in colors and rhythms.

Jane Notides-Benzing

What medium did you use in "Fields?"
I used a mixed media: watercolor and ink on various types of archival paper. These components allow me to spread the optical sensations of paint through intermingling planes of paper.   

What inspires your creativity? 
I am often inspired by observations of nature including land masses and atmospheric elements.

What theme(s) are you trying to convey?
I hope to convey the aesthetic qualities of light, color, and form in a surreal composition.

What are your favorite styles of music? 
I enjoy classical, jazz, and contemporary music. I need a little of each in my life. 

Favorite composers?
My favorite composers are Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, John Adams, John Luther Adams, Phillip Glass, Duke Ellington, and Jerry Neiwood.

My favorite things to do in my hometown are: Listening to live music by the RPO and Eastman School students/faculty, attending the International Jazz Festival and GEVA plays, borrowing books from the MAG and Rundel Libraries, viewing art at RoCo and MAG, ballroom dancing, walking in Highland Park and living in the downtown area where I can walk to many events. 

RocCo is currently accepting submissions for 6X6X2015; submissions must be postmarked by April 18, 2015.

March 16, 2015

Meet the artist: Jazz crooner Denzal Sinclaire

This weekend at the RPO will be “Unforgettable,” as we welcome Canadian vocalist Denzal Sinclaire

for an evening of Nat King Cole’s greatest hits under the baton of Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik. Cole was a celebrated African American singer and jazz pianist who produced many hit records from the 1940s until his death in 1965. Cole favored big band and jazz styles of music, and his hits such as “L-O-V-E,” “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” and “Mona Lisa” remain popular today. Like Cole, Sinclaire is also a vocalist and pianist who has performed on television and in concert halls around the world. He is a multiple nominee of the Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy Award), a recipient of the 2004 National Jazz Award for “Best Album,” four-time consecutive recipient of Jazz Report Magazine's Award for Male Jazz Vocalist, and France’s 2007 Chocman Award.

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We caught up with Denzal Sinclaire to learn more about Cole’s influence on his career and what he is most looking forward to this weekend at the RPO!

Denzal Sinclaire
Hometown: Toronto, ON.
Current Town: Toronto, ON.

Can you share one of your early memories as a performer?
In Grade 2, I was a last minute substitute for the lead in a skit based on “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” song. I had a lot of fun and can remember how natural it felt even though it was my first acting experience.

How did you learn about the music of Nat King Cole? Why do you respect his work as an artist?
I used to listen to my dad’s records when I was growing up. Among them were a few Nat King Cole
albums. I loved the sound of his voice and would sing along, trying to emulate his tone.

Would you consider yourself a Cole impersonator, or something more unique?
I’m not a Nat King Cole impersonator, but the influence is evident.

What’s your favorite song on this weekend's program?
I don’t have a favorite song, but my favorite moment in the program is a solo violin and orchestra feature in Jeff Tyzik’s exquisite arrangement of “Smile.”

Do you have any pre-performance rituals? How do you prepare for a concert?
I usually meditate and do vocal exercises before the concert. I also avoid speaking too much.

If you go
Denzal Sinclaire sings the Nat King Cole Songbook
Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 at 8 PM
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
Tickets start at $19
Visit or call 585-454-2100, tickets also available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street, Rochester) and at any area-Wegmans. 

Video: Denzal Sinclaire performs the jazz standard "You and the Night and the Music."