July 29, 2016

Principal Music Librarian Kim Hartquist Celebrates 20 Years at RPO

Kim Hartquist in the RPO library
Principal Music Librarian Kim Hartquist celebrated her 20-year anniversary at the RPO on Friday, July 22. A Rochester native, Hartquist joined the RPO in 1996 after a short time teaching music education following her graduation from SUNY Fredonia, where she also majored in bass trombone.

 “I should have realized my career path in the seventh grade when I was helping the band director sort and file music,” said Hartquist, “not to mention being orchestra librarian and manager for SUNY Fredonia’s Philharmonic Orchestra. Little did I know!”

Hartquist’s first connections to the RPO came when she worked as a music copyist for Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik. When the RPO's music librarian position became vacant two years later, Tyzik recommended Hartquist for the role.

“The most complex part of the job is getting folders [with sheet music] ready for musicians to pick up two weeks ahead of each concert,” said Hartquist. “Some shows have three pieces, some have 25 or more. All has to be ordered, marked, and collated in advance. Everything becomes an overlapping process happening at the same time for many different shows. It’s an organizational nightmare--or a puzzle challenge depending on how you look at it!”

While modern advancements in technology have made Hartquist’s work more manageable, she insists that the more things change, the more things seem to stay the same.

“In many ways, the main library of the orchestra has not changed with technology,” said Hartquist. “The engraved pieces of music with handwritten notations from each player remain the center of what we use, as it has been for hundreds of years.”

While today’s engraved pieces of music are created using special computer software, the term originates from the early days of the printing press when sheet music was typeset using engraving plates. Prior to that, scores were completely handwritten and could not be reproduced. Additionally, the Internet has streamlined many aspects of music librarianship. 

“Research scores can easily be found online,” said Hartquist. “PDF's of a missing or revised part can be sent via email and printed in minutes and blogs with other music librarians make finding the answer to an obscure question pretty quick. Still, with all of this technology, the pencil, eraser, and tape remain the most important tools on my desk!”

Outside of the RPO, Hartquist has no shortage of outdoorsy interests. Her love of birdwatching, or birding for short, takes her all over Western New York’s countless parks and hiking trails. Hartquist also loves camping in the Adirondacks and horseback riding in Yellowstone, two of her favorite vacation spots. In the past several years, Hartquist has traveled to Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Africa. While she’s currently planning a trip to the Galapagos, Hartquist often finds the best place to take a break from the office is actually much closer than you might expect.

“Every now and then I’ll sit in the house of the Eastman Theatre during rehearsal and look around at the beauty of this historic hall while listening to everything from a Beethoven Symphony to Star Wars, said Hartquist. “I am just as honored to be a part of this orchestra and one of George Eastman’s legacies as the first day I started, 20 years ago.”

Written by Alexander Jones, a recent graduate of RIT's journalism program and current marketing and communications intern at the RPO.

July 9, 2016

2016 RPL Young Artist Auditions winners take the spotlight

Samuel Nitsch
The eighth annual Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners will take place tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Eastman School of Music’s Hatch Hall. Honoring the winners of the Rochester Philharmonic League’s (RPL) 2016 Young Artist Auditions (YAA) contest, the free concert is a spotlight on six talented winners from this year’s competition.

“It’s an honor for the kids who win the Young Artist Auditions each year,” said RPL president Eileen Ramos. “It’s a great experience for these kids to play for highly established musicians in the area.”

The Rochester Philharmonic League is a volunteer support organization of the RPO that primarily focuses on education programs and initiatives. Each year the RPL sponsors the Young Artist Auditions competition in March, where students perform for a panel of judges that includes RPO musicians. The YAA hands out five $500 awards, two $1,000 scholarships (The Aldridge-Tinker Scholarship for Instrumentalists and the Jan DeGaetani Scholarship for Vocalists) and one “special award” that allows the recipient an opportunity to audition for a solo performance with the RPO.

“We just love encouraging young musicians to keep doing what we’re doing and push them as far as we can,” said Ramos. “Their whole lives are music.”

Samuel Nitsch, a senior at Penfield High School and runner-up for the Ruth and Sidney Salzman Award for Strings at this year’s YAA, is a living testament to this idea. Nitsch has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for 3 years, where he serves as concertmaster. Additionally, Nitsch was recently awarded concertmaster of the New York Conference All State String Orchestra, where he was also chosen to solo with the Conference Wind Ensemble.

Overall, Nitsch has found this year’s YAA to be a fulfilling and exciting experience.

“No matter what skill level you’re at you should definitely enter,” encourages Nitsch. “It’s so well organized and everyone wants to help you out. This year was my second year entering and my violin teacher Nancy Hunt from the RPO encouraged me to enter again. Even though I didn’t win, it was still a great experience.”

“We, as League members, feel the gratitude expressed by the performers and their families for making it available at such a high level,” said RPL member and long-time Rochester-based organist Margaret-Anne Milne. “Whether they stay in Rochester at Eastman or go on to other universities or conservatories, we often have the opportunity to attend and support them in recitals and concerts. It’s fun to bask in their successes!”

The YAA and the Young Artists in Concert performance highlight some of the immense musical talent coming out of the Rochester area. Those who aren’t selected as winners still walk away with “tons of positive feedback and constructive advice on how to improve for next year,” as Ramos put it. For young musicians devoting their lives to their craft, any push of encouragement can make a world of difference. It can also make the drive to come back next year and try harder than ever even stronger.

“I think playing in front of anyone is helpful, but the judges of the YAA being experienced musicians themselves is a really priceless experience,” said Nitsch. “It’s made me a much better musician and the process has made a lot of my nerves go away. Next year I’ll be taking home first place.”

More about the other performers at tomorrow's recital:
  • Anna Miller, flute (recent graduate of Spencerport High School) 
  • Tessa Spencer, soprano (senior at Greece Odyssey Academy) 
  • McKena Stickney, piccolo (junior at Eastridge High School) 
  • Jarod Yap, piano (senior at Clarence High School)
If you go:
Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners

Sunday, July 10 at 7:30 PM
Hatch Recital Hall at Eastman School of Music
FREE - Please call 585-455-7723 to reserve your seats. Reception to follow the concert

Please note this performance does not feature the RPO

Written by Alexander Jones, a recent graduate of RIT's journalism program and current marketing and communications intern at the RPO

July 1, 2016

Jeff Tyzik 'honors' Wegmans centennial with new work

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Wegmans. Two Rochester institutions that set roots in the Flower City a century ago. Well, almost a century for the RPO.
Jeff Tyzik
c: Sean Turi

Earlier this year, Wegmans Food Markets kicked off a yearlong celebration honoring 100 years in business. The grocer is now a fourth-generation company with 89 stores in six states. John Wegman started it all with the Rochester Fruit and Vegetable Co. in 1916. As you may know as an RPO fan, George Eastman founded the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1922. As a tribute to the grocer where Eastman himself likely picked up fresh produce, RPO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has written a new piece commemorating Wegmans.

Tyzik’s Honor will premiere under the baton of Music Director Ward Stare at the RPO’s free concert at Ontario Beach Park on Wednesday, July 6 at 7:30 PM, and then encore at a concert at CMAC on Saturday, July 9, and again at Frontier Field on Friday, July 15, all with Stare. Tyzik is traveling this summer, but will perform Honor at a special concert for the Wegmans' network in December, a fitting holiday gift from Tyzik and the RPO to Wegmans at the end of their centennial year.

“The Wegman family has contributed so much to the Rochester community through their generosity and support of numerous programs that are of great benefit to our region,” said Tyzik, who lives in Pittsford and celebrates 22 years with the RPO this year. "I chose the title because it sums up how I feel about this opportunity to celebrate Wegmans and recognize them for all they’ve done to ‘give their best’ to the Rochester community over the past 100 years.

While the Grammy Award-winning Tyzik has written more than 200 arrangements, orchestrations, and compositions for orchestra, Honor is the first piece he has written for Wegmans. According to the composer, Honor is a four-minute composition that features a driving rhythm and energetic fanfare (as the title may suggest).

“I'm thrilled to have written Honor in honor of Wegmans,” said Tyzik. “I treasure the relationship between the RPO and Wegmans and how we have both made Rochester a better place to live because of our efforts.”

If you go:
Hear Jeff Tyzik's new work, Honor, celebrating the Wegmans centennial. Ward Stare conducts these concerts.

Concerts by the Shore: RPO @ Ontario Beach
Wednesday, July 6 at 7:30 PM
FREE; sponsored by Monroe County

RPO @ CMAC: Movies, Marches, & America
Saturday, July 9 at 8 PM
Tickets from $16; kids 18 and under free; sponsored by Constellation Brands
Tickets available at ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000; Blue Cross Arena box office (585-758-5330); and CMAC box offices. Click here for more information on ticketing locations and hours.

Play Ball! RPO @ Frontier Field
Friday, July 15: 6:05 PM game; 8:30 PM concert
Tickets: redwingsbaseball.com, 585-423-WING

Ward Stare and Wegmans' staff.
Wegmans provided cookies and water for the RPO's opening weekend in September 2015.