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RPO’s Rochester Philharmonic League awards $7,000 to area teen musicians

Grand Prize Winner, Williamson’s Catalina Wooldridge, will perform with the RPO


Rochester, NY – Forty-six accomplished high school musicians from the Greater Rochester Area competed in the Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL)’s 68th annual Young Artist Auditions (YAA), which saw its final rounds this past Sunday afternoon in Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall.


The 2023 awards and scholarships offered totaled $7,250 (an increase over last year’s $5,500), which included ten cash awards – $750 for winners and $300 for runners-up – in Female Vocalist, Male Vocalist, Strings, Piano, and Instrumental (woodwind, brass, percussion, harp, or guitar) categories. (Because no runner-up was chosen for the Piano Award, the actual amount distributed was $6,950.) Those winners and runners-up then competed for $1,000 Vocal and instrumental college scholarships. A Grand Prize winner – chosen from among the winners in the award categories – has the opportunity for a solo performance with the RPO.


Below is the complete list of 2023 YAA award and scholarship winners (name, instrument, grade, school, and private teacher):


Grand Prize (an opportunity to perform with the RPO)

Winner: Catalina Wooldridge, Cello, Grade 12, Williamson Senior High School, Rosemary Elliott


Aldridge-Tinker Scholarship for Instrumentalists ($1000 college scholarship)

Winner: Catalina Wooldridge, Cello, Grade 12, Williamson Senior High School, Rosemary Elliott


Jan DeGaetani Scholarship for Vocalists ($1,000 college scholarship)

Winner: Charles Bohrer, baritone, grade 12, Irondequoit High School, Susanna Adams


Helen and George Greer Instrumental Award (Winner: $750, Runner-up $300)

Winner: Elizabeth Runion, Flute, grade 11, Gates Chili High School, Diane Smith

Runner-up: Lina Yang, Flute, Grade 11, Pittsford Sutherland High School, Sophia Gibbs Kim

Honorable Mention: Sophia Chuang, Harp, Grade 11, Our Lady of Mercy, Elizabeth Ojeda


Mildred and Julius Ness Award for Piano (Winner: $750)

Winner: Rebecca Lee, Grade 11, The Harley School, Jacob Ertl

Honorable Mention: Julian Chumacero, Grade 11, Victor Senior High School, Elier Suarez


Ruth and Sidney Salzman Award for Strings (Winner: $750, Runner-up $300)

Winner: Elizabeth Norris, Cello, grade 12, Brighton High School, David Ying

Runner-up: Noor Rouhana, Violin, Grade 12, Fairport High School, Virginia Wensel

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Yi, Cello, Grade 12, Clarence High School, David Ying


Nobel Hirsh Award for Male Vocalists (Winner: $750, Runner-up $300)

Winner: Charles Bohrer, baritone, grade 12, Irondequoit High School, Susanna Adams

Runner-up: Vincent Mussumeci, Tenor, Grade 10, Greece Athena High School, Diane Abrahamian


Tessa Martin Award for Female Vocalists (Winner: $750, Runner-up $300)

Winner: Rylee Pierce, Soprano, grade 12, Brockport High School, Teresa Ringholz

Runner-up: Sophie Hilger, Soprano, Grade 12, Brighton High School, Hannah Harrow

Honorable Mention: Tamsin Spiller, Soprano, Grade 12, Brighton High School, Susanna Adams


“We’re thrilled to be able to support and recognize the accomplishments of these young musicians, along with the oversight and commitment from their parents and teachers,” says YAA Co-Chair Paul Ness. “Many of this competition’s winners over the years have gone on to highly successful careers as performers, music educators, and professionals in other music-related fields.”


All winners have been invited to perform in a free, public recital, Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners, on Sunday, July 9 at 7:30 PM in Kilbourn Hall.


Says RPL Chair Catherine Fragenberg: “The League is honored to offer support and to recognize these accomplished young artists, as they pursue their musical interests. This is our way to focus on music education for our youth!”


The Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL) was founded in 1929 as a volunteer group to support the education and outreach programs of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The League has held and funded its annual Young Artist Auditions (YAA) for high school musicians – the most prestigious competition of his kind in the region – since 1955. Its current activities focus on educating young people about music and the RPO, and on fostering the advancement of music talent in the community’s youth. 


The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its origins in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Music Director Andreas Delfs joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Mark Elder, and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, now in his 28th season, has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his tenure with the RPO. The RPO reaches more than 15,000 youth through its specific education programs.