July 8, 2015

Young musicians take the stage this weekend: Part 1

The region’s best young musicians will take the stage at Kilbourn Hall this Sunday for the annual Young Artists in Concert recital.

Now in its seventh year, the Young Artists recital features winners from the Young Artist Auditions, a scholarship competition held each spring by the Rochester Philharmonic League. The Rochester Philharmonic League is the RPO’s leading support organization focused on music education and fostering musical talent in young people. The annual Young Artist auditions draw high school musicians from a nine-country area competing for awards in the categories of male and female vocal, strings, piano, and instrumental.

The following musicians have been selected to perform at the 2015 Young Artists recital: Catherine Caton, harp; Joy Krasner, marimba; Megan Ormsbee, mezzo-soprano; David Steinhardt, classical guitar; Holden Turner, baritone; and Vivian Yu, piano. In this two-part series, we will introduce you to these young musicians to learn more about their love of music!

Don't miss seeing them in concert this Sunday, July 12 in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music at 7:30 PM. This performance is free to attend.

Catherine Caton, harp
2015 YAA awards: Helen and George Greer Instrumental Award
Will perform: Feerie: Prelude et Danse; Marcel Lucien Tournier
Catherine Caton

Catherine Caton is a harp student who has been studying under Dr. Nan Gullo Richmond Bassett for 11 years. She also studies clarinet with RPO Clarinet/Bass Clarinet Andrew Brown. She is principal harpist of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO), as well as principal clarinetist in the Spencerport High School Wind Ensemble, where she will enter her senior year this fall. She plans on pursuing music and biology in college.

Q: How old were you when you started playing harp, and who (or what) inspired you to start?
A: Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in both the harp and music in general. My oldest sister Emily is also a harpist and she got me involved in lessons when I was four. Hearing Emily practice and perform immediately grabbed my attention, and I have loved the harp ever since. She, along with my current teacher Dr. Bassett, encouraged me to perform and get involved in music at a young age.

Q: How much time do you put towards practicing?
A: On the average day, I usually practice between two and three hours. I love practicing very early in the morning before my family is up because the peace in the morning brings fresh focus to my playing. My practicing needs change based upon what I am working on, but I tend to practice in increments throughout the day starting with one session in the early morning, in the afternoon, and one before bed.

Q: Do you consider any composer to stand out from the rest?
A: Although I have many favorite composers, my absolute favorite composer to listen to is Camille Saint-Saëns. I love the variety in his compositions, but I also love how you can always tell a Saint-Saëns piece when you hear one. The works of Saint-Saëns have to power to evoke many emotions within me, which is why he is ultimately my favorite composer to listen to.

Joy Krasner, marimba
2015 YAA awards: Helen and George Greer Instrumental Award (runner-up)
Joy Krasner
Will perform: Sonata No. 1 in G Minor (Presto), J.S. Bach; Nature Boy, Clair Omar Musser

Krasner has studied percussion for seven years and has been a student of Ruth Cahn at the Eastman Community Music School for three years. She has performed in the Brighton High School Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble, Eastman percussion ensemble, Drum Joy, and the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In the fall, she will attend Hamilton College as an English major and will continue studying percussion and performing with the orchestra and jazz ensemble.

Q: How old were you when you started playing marimba, and who (or what) inspired you to start?
A: I began studying piano at the age of four with Patricia Hanson at Eastman. While I studied piano seriously, I always enjoyed playing African drums in my free time, and eventually, I was introduced to percussion in fourth grade. I grew passionate about percussion and during my sophomore year of high school I began taking lessons with Ruth Cahn at Eastman.

Q: Do you have a favorite composition that you like to perform?
A: One of my favorite compositions to perform is Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G Minor (the piece I will be playing!). It feels very special that I am able to interpret an artist’s composition on the marimba when I was most used to hearing and playing Bach’s pieces on the piano.

Q: Do you collaborate with other artists in the area? What other musical groups have you recently participated in?
A: Throughout the years I’ve participated in the RPYO, as well as the Eastman Drum Joy Percussion Ensemble. I also played drum set in the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra for one year. Additionally, I played in jazz groups at my high school as well as a student-made band outside of school.

Megan Ormsbee, mezzo-soprano
Megan Ormsbee

2015 YAA awards: Tessa Martin Award for Female Vocalist
Will perform: When I Have Sung My Songs, Charles Ernest; Tourjours Op. 21, No. 2, Gabriel Faure; Die Mainacht Op. 43, No. 2, Johannes Brahms

Megan Ormsbee is a senior at Pittsford Sutherland High School who sings and plays cello. She takes cello lessons from RPO Cellist Mary Ann Wukovitz and vocal lessons from Jane Gunter-McCoy.

Q: How old were you when you started singing, and who (or what) inspired you to start?
A: I started singing almost before I could speak. I heard my mother singing and playing at the piano, and I started imitating her. I was 11 when I started taking lessons with Jane Günter-McCoy.

Q: Do you collaborate with other artists in the area?
A: I am in several choirs around the area and at school. I am in my school’s concert choir, the Eastman Youth Chamber Choir, and frequently sing in both the youth and adult choirs of my church. I am also a cellist in the RPYO as well as in symphony orchestra and occasional chamber ensembles at school.

Q: Who are your favorite composers?

A: My favorite composer to listen to is probably John Williams or John Powell. I love performing Brahms’ songs because he has written so many that are for the beautiful, low register of mezzo-sopranos. While it’s not difficult to find mezzo-voiced music, Brahms is very fun to sing. I also enjoy the song Alto’s Lament, which is not classical, but it is a very humorous song that is just very fun to sing.

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