Our Conductors and Musicians

Our talented conductors and musicians have shaped the artistic vision, guiding your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as we reach new heights.

Meet the RPO

Ward Stare

Music Director

Joined the RPO in 2014 Appointed the 12th music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in July 2014, Rochester native...

Ward Stare

Joined the RPO in 2014

Appointed the 12th music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in July 2014, Rochester native Ward Stare has been described as “inspiring musicians to impressive heights” by The New York Times, and “a dynamic music director” by Rochester CITY Newspaper. This December, Stare will make his debut at the Metropolitan Opera for nine performances of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, with Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in the title role.

This season at the RPO, Stare will collaborate with Itzhak Perlman and returning favorite pianists Olga Kern and Misha Dichter. Stare will also lead a Beethoven Festival, Bizet’s Carmen in Concert, and two world premieres by celebrated composers Allen Shawn and Jennifer Higdon. 2016–17 season highlights included collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma and Grammy-winning violinist James Ehnes. Stare also led a three-weekend salute to the music of American composers, as well
as Puccini’s La Bohème in Concert and a world-concert premiere by Academy-Award winning composer Eliot Goldenthal.

Stare’s recent seasons have seen a number of highly anticipated debuts with orchestras around the world, including performances with the Baltimore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and the Calgary Philharmonic. Last season he made his debut with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra followed by his return to the St. Louis Symphony in December.
Stare’s frequent collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago began with his debut in 2012 conducting performances of Hansel and Gretel; he returned in 2013 to lead Die Fledermaus, and again in November 2014 to lead Porgy and Bess to rave reviews. He made his debut with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti’s comic opera L’Elisir d’amore in 2014.

Stare served as resident conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2012. In 2009, he made his highly successful Carnegie Hall debut with the orchestra, stepping in at the last minute to lead H. K. Gruber’s Frankenstein!

The 2013–14 season saw his return to the Atlanta and Detroit symphony orchestras, as well as his debuts with the Syracuse Symphoria, the Jacksonville Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic with Lang Lang as soloist.

Stare was trained as a trombonist at The Juilliard School in Manhattan. At 18, he was appointed principal trombonist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has performed as an orchestral musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others. As a soloist, he has concertized in both the U.S. and Europe. wardstare.com

Jeff Tyzik

Principal Pops Conductor

Joined the RPO in 1994 Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik is one of America’s most innovative and sought after pops...

Jeff Tyzik

Joined the RPO in 1994

Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik is one of America’s most innovative and sought after pops conductors, recognized for his brilliant arrangements, original programming, and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages. This season Tyzik celebrates 24 years as principal pops conductor of the RPO, a title he also holds at the Detroit Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, and The Florida Orchestra. This is also the fifth season that Tyzik has held The Dot and Paul Mason Principal Pops Conductor’s Podium at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Frequently invited as a guest conductor, Tyzik has appeared with the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Milwaukee Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Tyzik has written more than 200 arrangements, orchestrations, and compositions for orchestra. A
consummate musician, Tyzik regularly appears as a guest conductor in the RPO’s Philharmonics Series. In the 2015–16 season, Tyzik premiered a new violin concerto written for RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde on the Philharmonics Series. This season, Tyzik’s original programming includes collaborations with The Mambo Kings, PUSH Physical Theatre, and a Pops opener featuring a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz standards.

Tyzik has collaborated with such diverse artists as Megan Hilty, Chris Botti, Matthew Morrison, Wynonna Judd, Tony Bennett, Art Garfunkel, Dawn Upshaw, Marilyn Horne, Arturo Sandoval, The Chieftains, Mark O’Connor, Doc Severinsen, and John Pizzarelli. He has created numerous original programs that include the greatest music from jazz and classical to Motown, Broadway, film, dance, Latin, and swing.

A native of Hyde Park, New York, Tyzik began his life in music at nine years of age, when he first picked up a cornet. He studied both classical and jazz throughout high school, and went on to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied composition/arranging with Radio City Music Hall’s Ray Wright and jazz studies with Chuck Mangione. www.jefftyzik.com.

Christopher Seaman

Conductor Laureate

The Christopher Seaman Chair, Supported by Barbara and Patrick Fulford and The Conductor Laureate Society Joined the RPO in 1998...

Christopher Seaman

The Christopher Seaman Chair, Supported by Barbara and Patrick Fulford and The Conductor Laureate Society

Joined the RPO in 1998

British conductor Christopher Seaman has an international reputation for inspirational music making. His diverse musical interests are reflected in his range of repertoire and he is particularly known for his interpretations of early 20th Century English music, Bruckner, Brahms, and Sibelius.

Seaman was music director of the RPO from 1998-2011, and was subsequently named conductor laureate. During his 13-year tenure- the longest in RPO history, he raised the orchestra’s artistic level, broadened its audience base, and created a new concert series. This contribution was recognized with an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Other key positions have included music director of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor-in-residence with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and artistic advisor of the San Antonio Symphony. In the U.K. he was principal conductor with both the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Northern Sinfonia.

As a guest conductor, Seaman has recently performed with the Aspen Music Festival, Detroit, Houston, St Louis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Seattle symphony orchestras, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, and Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais in Brazil. He frequently visits Australia and Asia where he has conducted the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Taiwan, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Singapore symphony orchestras, amongst others.

As a recording artist Christopher has worked with the Royal Philharmonic RPO amongst others, and his RPO recordings have received great critical acclaim

In May 2009, the University of Rochester made Seaman an honorary doctor of music, acknowledging his outstanding leadership as conductor, recording artist, teacher, and community arts partner. In 2013, University of Rochester Press published Seaman’s Inside Conducting, a wise but entertaining look at the art of conducting.

First Violin

Juliana Athayde

Juliana Athayde

Joined the RPO in 2005

Appointed concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra 2005 at age twenty-four, Juliana Athayde became the youngest person to hold the position since the orchestra’s inception in 1922.

She has appeared as guest concertmaster for the Houston, Kansas City and Santa Barbara Symphonies as well as the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to joining the RPO, Athayde was concertmaster of the Canton (OH) and Plymouth (MI) Symphonies. In 2002, she served as concertmaster of the New York String Seminar under the direction of Jaime Laredo for concerts at Carnegie Hall. For five years, she was a member of the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis and she has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra in the United States and Europe. A fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School for six years, Athayde was awarded the prestigious Dorothy DeLay fellowship in 2005 and was subsequently invited to return in 2010 to deliver the festival’s convocation speech.

Athayde’s numerous solo appearances with the RPO have covered a wide range of composers from Mozart and Brahms to Barber and Prokofiev as well as the 2010 premiere of Allen Shawn’s violin concerto, commissioned by the RPO and specifically written for her. She has also performed as a soloist with the Asheville, Canton, Diablo, Fayetteville, Flint, Mid-Texas, New Bedford, Palo Alto, Plymouth and Wyoming Symphony Orchestras.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Athayde made her solo debut at the age of 16 performing with the San Francisco Symphony. In demand as a chamber musician locally and nationally, she has collaborated with artists including Michael Tilson Thomas, Joseph Silverstein, Jon Nakamatsu, William Preucil, Jon Kimura Parker, Anton Nel, Orion Weiss and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Together with her husband, RPO principal oboist Erik Behr, Athayde is Artistic Director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester.

A passionate educator, Athayde is an Associate Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of Music, a Visiting Teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and previously served as a Visiting Professor at Cornell University. Recently named a Distinguished Member of Sigma Alpha Iota and presented with the 2012 University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Emerging Artist Alumni Award, Athayde also received the Albert A. Stanley Award, the school’s highest undergraduate honor, upon graduating from the University of Michigan where she studied with Paul Kantor. Completing her graduate work at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil, she is the first graduate of CIM’s Concertmaster Academy. She spends her summers performing with her husband at San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho.She performs on a 1948 Celeste Farotte violin and a J.B. Vuilliaume bow.

Photo Credit: Kate Lemmon

Concertmaster, The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair, funded in perpetuity

Wilfredo Degláns

Wilfredo Degláns

Joined the RPO in 1977

Wilfredo Degláns has been Associate Concertmaster of the RPO since 1977 and served as Acting Concertmaster from 2001-2005. In March 2005 he was appointed Concertmaster for the Miami Symphony. He has been a member of the St. Paul and English Chamber Orchestras as well as Louisville, Aspen, Festival Casals and Chautauqua Symphony. In 2002, he was appointed Artistic Director of Música de Camara in New York City. He studied with Dorothy DeLay and Ivan Galamian at The Juilliard School where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He maintains a busy private studio and has been on the faculties of Eastman and the Aspen Music School.

Associate Concertmaster

Shannon Nance

Shannon Nance

Joined the RPO in 1993

Shannon Nance, Assistant Concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, has been a member of the RPO violin section since 1993. She holds two degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Catherine Tait and Zvi Zeitlin. Nance has appeared as soloist with the RPO, the SUNY Geneseo Orchestra, the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra (Neb.), the Greece Symphony (N.Y.), the Greater Rochester Women’s Philharmonic, and the Festival Orchestra at the Masterworks Festival in Winona Lake, Ind. Nance has also served as Associate Concertmaster of the Arizona Musicfest in Scottsdale, Ariz.

She is the violinist of the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble, which performs regularly in Lodi and Ithaca, N.Y.  An active chamber musician in the Rochester area, she enjoys collaborating with colleagues from the RPO and faculty members of the Eastman School of Music.
In addition to a busy performing career, Nance is also a dedicated violin teacher, and has students of varying ages currently in her studio.  She is also director of the String Intensive Study Program at the Masterworks Festival in Winona Lake, Ind.

Assistant Concertmaster

Perrin Yang

Perrin Yang

Joined the RPO in 1991

Since joining the RPO in 1991, Perrin Yang has served as acting principal second violin and associate concertmaster. Originally from San Francisco, Yang is a high honors graduate of Oberlin College and received his Master's of Music from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, where he has appeared as soloist and concertmaster on several occasions. He also performs chamber music, mostly with his string quartet, and has appeared as guest artist at the Fortissimo!, Aspen, Peter Britt, Roycroft, Skaneateles, and Boulder Bach festivals.

Over the past few years, he has expanded his musical palette by venturing outside of the "traditional" classical music genre. He has performed original and cover music of all kinds including folk/blue grass, blues, rock, and pop. Audiences at a variety of Rochester's festivals and musical venues - from the Rochester International Jazz Fest to the Dinosaur BBQ, have enjoyed the variety of sounds produced by his purple electric violin and collection of effects pedals. He has recorded full CDs with several local Rochester groups such as "Birds On A Wire," "Right Turn Racer," and "Significant Other." Outside of his musical activities, you can usually find him participating in some sport, most likely tennis, or spending time with his two energetic cats-Winky and Bandit.

Tigran Vardanyan

Tigran Vardanyan

Tigran Vardanyan

Joined the RPO in 1998

Tigran Vardanyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia. He began his violin studies with his father at the age of six.  At a very young age, Vardanyan won First Prize at the 1991 and 1993 Armenian National Competitions; he also won the Gold Medal at the 1992 Amadeus Competition for Young Artists and performed as a soloist with the Armenian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Armenian Chamber Orchestra, and the Armenian TV and Radio Orchestra.

In 1994, Vardanyan immigrated to Los Angeles, CA, to study with the renowned Ukrainian violinist, Abram Shtern. In 1996, he moved to Rochester, NY, to study at the Eastman School of Music with Professor Zvi Zeitlin.

Since 1998, Vardanyan has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2000, he was featured as a soloist with the Philharmonic, playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto under the direction of Christopher Seaman. Vardanyan is on the faculty of Nazareth College and Hochstein School of Music, and has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in various concert venues in the Middle East, Europe, Central America, and North America. He performs on a Francesco Gobetti violin (Venice, ca. 1720).  In 2009, Vardanyan became a U.S. citizen. He lives in Rochester with his wife and son.

Photo credit: Kate Lemmon

Tigran Vardanyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia. He began his violin studies with his father at the age of six. At a very young age, Vardanyan won First Prize at the 1991 and 1993 Armenian National Competitions; he also won the Gold Medal at the 1992 Amadeus Competition for Young Artists and performed as a soloist with the Armenian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Armenian Chamber Orchestra, and the Armenian TV and Radio Orchestra.

In 1994, Vardanyan immigrated to Los Angeles, CA, to study with the renowned Ukrainian violinist, Abram Shtern. In 1996, he moved to Rochester, NY, to study at the Eastman School of Music with Professor Zvi Zeitlin.

Since 1998, Vardanyan has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2000, he was featured as a soloist with the Philharmonic, playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto under the direction of Christopher Seaman. Vardanyan is on the faculty of Nazareth College and Hochstein School of Music, and has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in various concert venues in the Middle East, Europe, Central America, and North America. He performs on a Francesco Gobetti violin (Venice, ca. 1720). In 2009, Vardanyan became a U.S. citizen. He lives in Rochester with his wife and son.

Photo credit: Kate Lemmon

Willa Finck

Willa Finck

Willa Finck, a native of Boone, North Carolina, is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music Degree at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Mikhail Kopelman. She has served as a concertmaster in both the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra and the Eastman Philharmonia since Fall 2015. In 2016 she won the Eastman School Violin Concerto Competition, which led to her performance as soloist with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Earlier accolades include winning the Asheville Symphony Young Artists competition in 2014 and the Kathleen Price and Joseph M. Bryant North Carolina Symphony Young Artists Competition in 2015, with subsequent solo appearances with both orchestras.

Finck attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts her senior year of high school, where she studied with Ida Bieler and Sarah Johnson. In addition to her passion for classical music, she enjoys playing Celtic and Old-Time music. For over a decade, Finck played fiddle as a member of a Celtic band that performed across western North Carolina, most notably at the roots-based music festival MerleFest.

Thomas Rodgers

Thomas Rodgers

Joined the RPO in 2012

Thomas Rodgers, a native of Anderson, Indiana, joined the RPO in March 2012 as a member of the first violin section. During the 2014-2015 season, he served as principal 2nd violin. He holds a Master of Music degree in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with William Preucil, concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra. He also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (graduated summa cum laude), where he studied with Alexander Kerr, former concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and current concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Rodgers began studying the piano at age five with his father and started violin lessons at the age of six. During high school as a member of the Indiana University Violin Virtuosi directed by Mimi Zweig, Rodgers performed with the group in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is the winner of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Concerto Competition and Kuttner Chamber Music Competition, the Indianapolis Symphony Side-By-Side Concerto Competition, the MTNA Jr. High String Competition, the Chamber Music Fellowship sponsored by the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and is the winner of various young artist competitions in Indiana.

Rodgers has attended a number of summer festivals including the Pacific Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, the National Arts Centre Young Artists Programme directed by Pinchas Zukerman, Encore School for Strings, and Meadowmount. He has participated in masterclasses by Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Mauricio Fuks, Ruggiero Ricci, Peter Salaff, and Donald Weilerstein. In the fall of 2012, Rodgers joined the faculty of the Kanack School of Musical Artistry in Rochester.

Photo Credit: Roger Mastroianni

Aika Ito

Aika Ito

Joined the RPO in 2014

Aika Ito, a native of Tokyo Japan joined the first violin section of the RPO in September 2014. Previously she was a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra and the Akron Symphony Orchestra. She has participated in several summer festivals including the Pacific Music Festival, Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. She also plays the viola and attended a chamber music festival at the Nebraska Institute of Music as a violist.

Ito began studying the violin at the age of four. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where she studied with Tsugio Tokunaga, former concertmaster of the NHK Symphony Orchestra. She earned an artist diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Stephen Rose, principal 2nd violinist of the Cleveland Orchestra. During her education, she also studied with Mayumi Ohira, Kumi Iguchi, Akihiro Miura and Asako Urushihara.

Youngsun Kim

Youngsun Kim

Violinist Youngsun Kim received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Manhattan School of Music with the dissertation “The Solo Violin Caprice: A Survey of its Evolution from the Eighteenth Century to the Present.” Prior to her doctoral studies, Ms. Kim graduated Summa Cum Laude from Seoul National University and holds her Master’s degree and Artist Diploma from Yale University.

A native of Korea, Ms. Kim is an active soloist as well as chamber musician in Korea and the United States. She has performed in places such as Hoam Art Hall, Kumho Art Hall, Seongnam Arts Center, and Seoul Arts Center in Korea, and Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, David Geffen Hall, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Woolsey Hall in the United States. As an avid chamber musician, Ms. Kim gave performances in Connecticut and New Jersey, and has performed at various chamber music festivals including Kneisel Hall and Norfolk Music Festival. As an orchestral musician, she has been a part of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, KBS Symphony orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, and Seoul Classical Players. She will be joining the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in the upcoming 2018-19 season.

Ms. Kim’s primary studies were under Sylvia Rosenberg, Hyo Kang, Youngmi Cho and members of the Tokyo String Quartet.

Kenneth Langley

Kenneth Langley

Joined the RPO in 1989

Kenneth Langley was raised in East Brunswick, New Jersey. He holds a bachelor's degree in violin performance from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Samuel Applebaum. Prior to joining the RPO, he was a violin instructor at Wittenberg University, Principal Second Violinist at the Springfield Symphony, and Assistant Concertmaster at the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra.

Molly Werts McDonald

Molly Werts McDonald

Joined the RPO in 2013

Molly Werts McDonald, a native of Fairway, Kansas, joined the RPO in October of 2013 as Acting Assistant Principal Second Violin. She has been playing in the first violin section since September 2014. With a Bachelor of Music degree and a Certificate in World Music, McDonald was one of RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde’s first students at Eastman. McDonald then continued on to complete a Master of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music with William Preucil, concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra.

McDonald grew up playing music with both of her parents, and gained exposure to chamber music and orchestral playing through local festivals in Kansas City. In the coming years she attended many other summer festivals including the Interlochen Arts Camp, the Castleman String Quartet Program, the Round Top Festival Institute, the National Repertory Orchestra, Music Academy of the West, and the Tanglewood Institute. Prior to the RPO, she was Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, and she has made appearances with the Kansas City Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the New World Symphony.

During her education, McDonald explored Early Music, Balinese Gamelan, folk, and many other styles of music. She is passionate about teaching and playing chamber music, and continues to do both in addition to her position with the RPO.

Cynthia Burton

Jeremy Hill

Jeremy Hill

Joined the RPO in 2003

Jeremy Hill, an active soloist and chamber musician, has participated in numerous music festivals, including as featured Young Artist of Euro Arts Music Festival- Germany, Johannes Brahms Festival- Austria, and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, among many others. He is also the curator of programming for RPO to the Max, a series of special events designed for donors.

As a professional orchestral musician, he joined the Syracuse Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestras in 2003. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, his major teachers include Jeremy Zhu and Donald Wilerstein, with additional coaching in orchestral music from Glenn Dicterow and William Preucil. He has also performed actively as a concertmaster for the Erie Philharmonic.

Jeremy Hill, an active soloist and chamber musician, has participated in numerous music festivals, including as featured Young Artist of Euro Arts Music Festival- Germany, Johannes Brahms Festival- Austria, and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, among many others. He is also the curator of programming for RPO to the Max, a series of special events designed for donors.

As a professional orchestral musician, he joined the Syracuse Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestras in 2003. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, his major teachers include Jeremy Zhu and Donald Wilerstein, with additional coaching in orchestral music from Glenn Dicterow and William Preucil. He has also performed actively as a concertmaster for the Erie Philharmonic.

An-Chi Lin

An-Chi Lin

Joined the RPO in 1997

Violinist An-Chi Lin comes from a family of musicians and began playing the piano at the age of five and the violin at age six. An-Chi Lin received a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance from Soochow University in Taipei, Taiwan and a Master of Music in Violin Performance and Literature from Eastman School of Music. Lin has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1997. She has also performed with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Rochester Oratorio Society, and the Skaneateles Festival Orchestra.

From 2002 to 2008, Lin performed in the RPO’s Educational String Quintet, a group dedicated to bringing classical music to the elementary school children of the Rochester City Schools. As a chamber musician, she has appeared on "Live from Hochstein" with the Hochstein String Quartet and with Gibbs and Main (formerly known as Quartsemble). She is currently in a violin-guitar duo, Red Creek Duo, which took them to western New York, Illinois, and California.

Lin is currently on the violin faculty of the Roberts Wesleyan College, Hochstein School of Music, and Nazareth Community School. She joins the faculty of InterHarmony International Music Festival in 2014. She is also an accomplished pianist and accompanist, and performs regularly with her students and colleagues.

Violinist An-Chi Lin comes from a family of musicians and began playing the piano at the age of five and the violin at age six. An-Chi Lin received a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance from Soochow University in Taipei, Taiwan and a Master of Music in Violin Performance and Literature from Eastman School of Music. Lin has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1997. She has also performed with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Rochester Oratorio Society, and the Skaneateles Festival Orchestra.

From 2002 to 2008, Lin performed in the RPO’s Educational String Quintet, a group dedicated to bringing classical music to the elementary school children of the Rochester City Schools. As a chamber musician, she has appeared on "Live from Hochstein" with the Hochstein String Quartet and with Gibbs and Main (formerly known as Quartsemble). She is currently in a violin-guitar duo, Red Creek Duo, which took them to western New York, Illinois, and California.

Lin is currently on the violin faculty of the Roberts Wesleyan College, Hochstein School of Music, and Nazareth Community School. She joins the faculty of InterHarmony International Music Festival in 2014. She is also an accomplished pianist and accompanist, and performs regularly with her students and colleagues.

Second Violin

Daryl Perlo

Daryl Perlo

Joined the RPO in 1984

Daryl Perlo studied violin with Joseph Silverstein and Raphael Druian at Boston University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree. Originally from the Rochester area, she joined the RPO as one of the youngest musicians, just out of college, and is the Assistant Principal Second Violin. She has performed with violinist Cho-Liang Lin in a quintet in New York City and also played in Lyle Lovett’s band on PBS’ Austin City Limits. She also has performed solo with the RPO and in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Rochester, Skaneateles Music Festival, and the Penfield Symphony.

Acting Principal

Patricia Sunwoo

Patricia Sunwoo

Joined the RPO in 2003

Since 2003, Patricia Sunwoo has performed to critical acclaim across the U.S. as a member of the Whitman String Quartet (winner of the 1998 Naumburg Award). She has also performed with the music groups Continuum, Sequitur, and Da Capo Players. She was a teaching artist for the Midori Foundation and NYASTA. She received her doctoral degree from The Juilliard School and is on faculty at Binghamton University. She is currently a member of the Bard Festival String Quartet and Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble.

John Sullivan

John Sullivan

Joined the RPO in 1979

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

Music School attended: Cleveland Institute of Music

Most inspirational teachers: Charles Avsharian, Julius Stulberg, David Cerone, Bernhard Goldschmidt, John Celentano.

First music-related memory: Seeing and hearing the Grand Rapids Symphony, where my parents were principal clarinet and oboe.

What other orchestras have you performed with?
 Grand Rapids Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Rochester Chamber Orchestra.

What I enjoy most about the Rochester area:
  The scope and variety of the scenery and cultural venues. For scenery, there’s Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes. For culture, there’s the Dryden Theatre, Eastman School, a myriad of concert series by a variety of organizations, GEVA a well as many other live theatre venues, many museums and historical places to visit.

Hobbies: Beer brewing, vegetable gardening.

Pets: Two cats, Brown Tabby Gussie and Orange Tabby Ronan.

People would be surprised to know: That I make all my fires (wood stove and charcoal grill) by flint and steel.

The RPO is essential to Rochester because... The most culturally advanced cities always seem to have a first-class symphony orchestra. Arts institutions also help drive their local economies.

Lara Sipols

Lara Sipols

Joined the RPO in 2002

Lara Sipols has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 2002. During the summer, she is also a member of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, where also served as assistant orchestra librarian. Previously, she held positions with the Charleston (SC) Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra, American Sinfonietta, Greenwich (CT) Symphony, Jupiter Symphony, Utah Festival Opera Orchestra and Colorado Music Festival in Boulder.

She has performed chamber music locally as a guest of both the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble and Gibbs and Main Ensemble, and she has been active in the musical programs of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Third Presbyterian Church. Sipols is currently a violin instructor at the Eastman Community Music School and has also completed 10 years' instruction as the RPO Liaison and Adjunct Lecturer at SUNY Brockport.

She holds both a B.M. and M.M. in violin performance from the Mannes College of Music in New York City, and she was a New World Symphony fellow from 1993-1995. Sipols was a violin student of Mischa and Hortense Mischakoff, Sally Thomas, Anne Setzer and David Cerone. She studied chamber music with Paul Doktor, Karen Ritscher, Timothy Eddy, Lucie Robert, Yizhak Schotten and Baroque violin with Nancy Wilson.

Nancy Hunt

Nancy Hunt

Joined the RPO in 1977

Nancy Hunt has been a violinist in the RPO since 1977. She also performs in the Music in the Mountains summer festival orchestra in Durango, Colorado. Previously she held orchestral posts in the Dayton Philharmonic and the Filarmonica de las Americas in Mexico City.

In addition, Hunt maintains a busy private teaching studio. She was also Lecturer of String Techniques at Nazareth College for 24 years and was a string class instructor in the elementary schools of Forest Hills, Ohio, Penfield, New York, and at Rochester Christian School.

Hunt attended the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she received degrees in violin performance and music education. She also participated in Suzuki teacher training at Ithaca College.

Nancy Hunt is married to William Hunt, who is also a violinist in the RPO. They have two adult children.

Boris Zapesochny

Boris Zapesochny

Instrument: Violin

With the RPO Since: 1979

I knew I would make music my career when I was accepted to Leningrad Music School for gifted children at the age of 10.

Most influential teachers: My first teacher, Michael Melamedov.

Favorite composer and/or musical period: Sergei Prokofiev

What do you most enjoy about performing? I like discovering something new in the old music.

What is your favorite part of being a member of the RPO? The ability to interact with and perform for a wonderful community.

When I'm not onstage, you might find me teaching violin or chamber music and doing arrangements for different string ensembles.

I love to dine at Aladdin's.

My favorite thing about Rochester is its incredible capacity for the arts.

What do you think is the Orchestra's most important role in our community? To bring the pleasure of quality music which enriches us all.

Liana Koteva Kirvan

Liana Koteva Kirvan

Joined the RPO in 2001

Violinist, Liana Koteva Kirvan is originally from Bulgaria and moved to the U. S. when she was 15 years-old to pursue advanced musical studies. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Harid Conservatory in violin performance studying with Sergio Schwartz, and then continued her studies at the Eastman School of Music for a Masters degree under the tutelage of Zvi Zeitlin.

She has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the U.S. and Europe. She has been a featured soloist with many orchestras, including the Harid Philharmonia, Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Boca Symphonic Pops Orchestra, and ISOMATA Chamber Orchestra.

She has won numerous solo competitions including Grand Prize of the Wallenstein Violin Competition, Grand Prize of the Boca Pops Competition, and top prizes in the NSAL Competition, and the Escandido International String Competitions. She is the recipient of the Most Promising Young Artist award from Bulgaria in 2001. She has attended the Santa Barbara music festival and participated in the prestigious New York String Seminar. She has also recorded the complete Brahms Violin Sonatas that can be found locally and online at www. CDBaby.com. She performs on a modern violin by a renowned maker, Kurt Widenhouse.

To visit this musician's personal web site, please click here.

Margaret Leenhouts

Margaret Leenhouts

Joined the RPO in 1994

Margaret Leenhouts is currently on the faculty of Nazareth College, in addition to her work at the RPO. She earned a bachelor of arts magna cum laude in European History from Yale University and a doctorate in violin performance and literature with Charles Castleman at the Eastman School of Music. She performed in master classes with Josef Gingold, Henryk Szeryng, and Glenn Dicterow. Additional musical studies included work at the Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay.

A frequent performer, Dr. Leenhouts has appeared regularly with Eastman faculty in the Kilbourn Hall recital series and returned to her native Arizona several times to give benefit concerts for the Sedona Chamber Music Society and the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. The recipient of the First Prize for Chamber Music at the American School of Arts in France, Dr. Leenhouts appeared with Amadeus Trio members Marian Hahn and Jeffrey Solow and has performed chamber works at the British Arts Center of Yale, at the Eastern Festival of Music and in Eastman School of Music's Virtuosi Series with RPO concertmaster Ilya Kaler.

In addition to her solo and chamber music work, Dr. Leenhouts has been a member of the Honolulu Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra. She toured throughout Germany with the American Sinfonietta.

Dr. Leenhouts has taught extensively at all age and ability levels. Collegiate faculty appointments include Hope College, Mansfield University, and Nazareth College. She spent 13 years teaching at the Eastman School of Music’s Community Music School where she directed the Summer Chamber Music and Middle School Strings Workshops and served as chair of the string department.

Heidi Brodwin

Heidi Brodwin

Joined the RPO in 2009

Heidi Brodwin was raised in Ballston Spa, NY. She began playing the violin at the age of five. At age 14, she was a semi-finalist in the Seventeen Magazine competition. After completing her schooling at Indiana University, she moved to Miami Beach to become a member of the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. She then became a member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, in Charleston, SC, often performing as assistant concertmaster. In 2002, Brodwin moved to Rochester and is now a member of the RPO. She enjoys spending her summers at Chautauqua Institution where she performs with the Chautauqua Symphony.

Catherine Arai

Ellen Sonnenberg

Viola

Melissa Matson

Melissa Matson

Joined the RPO in 1983

Melissa Matson is well known to Rochester audiences as the principal violist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a versatile chamber musician. She has been a frequent performer since 1987 with Chamber Music Rochester and the Skaneateles (NY) Festival. She is the artistic director of First Muse Chamber Music, a series of concerts at First Unitarian Church of Rochester (FirstMuse.org). Matson is a member of the Amenda Quartet (with violinists David Brickman and Patricia Sunwoo, and cellist Mimi Hwang) whose “Project Ludwig” aims to study and perform all of the Beethoven string quartets (AmendaQuartet.org).

Previous solo appearances with the RPO include Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante (with violinist David Brickman), Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, Bruch’s Romanze, and on the Pops series, Jeff Tyzik’s original Blue Adagioand his arrangement of Autumn Leaves. Ms. Matson has premiered works written for her by Rochester composers Verne Reynolds, David Liptak, and Jeff Tyzik.

As a founding member of the Chester String Quartet (1978-83), she performed throughout the U.S. and won top chamber music awards at the Munich and Portsmouth (England) international competitions. The quartet was on the faculty of Indiana University at South Bend, and recorded works of Warren Benson, Karl Weigl, and Ernest Chausson. After her tenure with the Quartet she joined the RPO and also the faculty of the Eastman School of Music. Her current duties as an associate professor at Eastman include teaching viola orchestral repertoire classes, for which she has written numerous guides to preparing orchestra excerpts. Matson presented two sessions on orchestral excerpts and audition preparation at the 2004 ViolaFest in Binghamton, NY. She also mentors the violists of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Originally from northern California, she was raised in a music-loving family - they played recorders together, her three siblings studied string instruments, and her mother built a harpsichord. Matson received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastman, where she studied with Martha Katz and was awarded the coveted Performer’s Certificate. She also studied with Heidi Castleman and Karen Tuttle. Her chamber music training includes work with the Cleveland and Juilliard Quartets, as well as study at The Quartet Program and the Aspen Center for Advanced Quartet Studies. Matson has been a chamber music participant in the Aspen, Norfolk, and Grand Teton summer festivals. For three years she was the principal violist and on the faculty of Eastern Music Festival, where she appeared as soloist with bassist Gary Karr and performed chamber music with violinist Franco Gulli and pianist Andre-Michel Schub.

Principal, The William L. Gamble Chair

Marc Anderson

Marc Anderson

Joined the RPO in 2005

Marc Anderson enjoys a versatile career as an orchestral violist, chamber musician and teacher. Anderson has been with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005 and is principal violist of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, Anderson frequently collaborates with his RPO colleagues and Eastman School of Music faculty in many of the area’s classical concert series. He holds performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with George Taylor (B.M.) and John Graham (M.M.). While at Eastman, Anderson received the coveted Performer's Certificate and Orchestral Studies Diploma. Outside of his musical studies, Anderson is a graduate of the University of Rochester's "Take Five" program and has a minor in German Cultural Studies. As a teacher, Anderson has been on the string faculty of Roberts Wesleyan College and the Eastman Community Music School. He maintains a private studio and frequently works with his wife's orchestra students in Fairport. Outside of work, he can be found chasing after his children, Milo (6) and Charlotte (3).

Assistant Principal

Samantha Rodriguez

Samantha Rodriguez

Joined the RPO in 2009

Samantha Rodriguez, a native of Mastic Beach, New York, began playing the viola at the age of seven. Her early musical career brought her to the Juilliard Pre-College Division, where she studied with the late Eugene Becker, and to the stage of Carnegie Hall several times with the New York Youth Symphony. She received her BM and Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied and will continue to study for her MM with George Taylor. Rodriguez has distinguished herself as a soloist with Eastman's Philharmonia, Symphony, and Chorale. An avid chamber and orchestral musician, she has served as principal violist for the Colorado College Music Festival for three summers, played with the National Repertory Orchestra and the Skaneateles festival, and given chamber music concerts for communities in Colorado Springs, Rochester, and Long Island. She has also studied with such notable figures as Lawrence Dutton of the Emerson String Quartet, members of the Shanghai String Quartet and the Ying Quartet. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming and teaching her students at the Hochstein School of Music.

Mary Ferrillo

Olita Povero

Olita Povero

Joined the RPO in 1989

Originally from Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, Olita Povero received her bachelor’s degree from the New School of Music, an orchestral studies conservatory in Philadelphia founded by her teacher Max Aronoff, and whose faculty included the Curtis String Quartet and Philadelphia Orchestra members. Povero continued her studies with Kim Kashkashian, and obtained her master’s degree from Southern Methodist University as a student of Ellen Rose. Before joining the RPO, she played in the Dallas Opera, Ballet and Chamber Orchestras.

Olivia Chew

Olivia Chew

Joined the RPO in 2014

 

Olivia Chew, a native of Long Island, joined the RPO in 2014 and served as assistant principal viola in the 2014-15 season. During her orchestral career she has been invited to play at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and others. As a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival she served as principal viola of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. She holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with Alan de Veritch and Stephen Wyrczynski. After her studies at IU, Chew received a full scholarship to Manhattan School of Music's Orchestral Studies program, where she studied with Karen Dreyfus. Prior to joining the RPO, she served as assistant principal viola in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and was a member of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.

Neil Miller

Neil Miller

From Long Island NY, Neil Miller holds both a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance, and a Master of Music degree in viola performance from the Eastman School of Music. He was awarded the coveted Performer's Certificate and was also the recipient of the Robert L. Oppelt Viola Prize which is presented annually to an outstanding violist at Eastman.

Summer festivals have included the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckinridge Colorado where he performed in over 20 concerts playing 120 orchestral works.  Conductors included Karina Canellakis, Andrew Litton, Peter Oundjian and Michael Stern. Neil has also participated in LyricaFest in Boston as well as Charles Castleman’s Quartet Program both in Boulder, CO, and Fredonia, NY.

Neil has studied with Shirley Givens, Lynn Blakeslee, Renée Jolles, Carol Kushner, Barbara Weber, and was most recently a viola student of George Taylor.

David Hult

David Hult

Joined the RPO in 1984

David Hult, winner of the Viola Virtuoso Prize at the Hudson Valley International String Artist Competition, balances an active career as a guest soloist and recitalist, a chamber and orchestral musician, and a teacher and adjudicator. A frequent guest of National Public Radio, his performances on the violin and viola have taken him all over the United States and Europe. He has served as both Concertmaster and Principal Viola for numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Hult has performed extensively as solo violist for the Juilliard Chamber Players and the New York Chamber Orchestra. For four seasons he was Assistant Principal viola in the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. As violist with the Hampshire String Quartet and SUNY Geneseo's resident Tremont String Quartet, he commissioned and premiered numerous compositions which have been recorded on the Opus 1, Musical Heritage Society, and Centaur record labels.

As a violinist, Hult has been the Concertmaster of many orchestras including the United Nations Symphony and the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. He has been Concertmaster for numerous Broadway musicals which have featured many of the world's best-known stars. He has also played with Carnegie Hall’s American Symphony Orchestra, the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, and the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra.

A high school graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Hult received his bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, and both his master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Juilliard School, all on scholarship. His former teachers include Ivan Galamian, Millard Taylor, Paul Doktor, and coaching with Josef Gingold, and the Cleveland and Juilliard String Quartets.

Currently, Hult is the Coordinator of Strings at Nazareth College of Rochester where he has been a member of the faculty for the past 17 years. He is also Concertmaster of the Rochester Oratorio Society and has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1986 and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra since 1979. For the past 6 years he has been Principal Viola of the Anchorage Festival of Music orchestra. In addition, Hult is a founder and member of two critically acclaimed ensembles - Rhapsodie (a flute, viola, and harp trio) and the Chautauqua Chamber Music Society, where he also serves as the Artistic Director.

Aaron Mossburg

Aaron Mossburg

Aaron Mossburg, violist, completed his undergraduate studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he studied with Peter Slowik, and his Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Robert Vernon, Principal Emeritus of The Cleveland Orchestra. Aaron has attended music festivals across the world, including The Perlman Music Program (New York), Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Kneisel Hall (Maine), and the Sarasota Music Festival (Florida).

In 2011, Aaron gave his solo Carnegie Hall debut in which he was invited and sponsored by the Netherlands American Community Trust. In recent years, he has received top honors in the senior divisions of both the American String Teachers Association’s (ASTA) National Solo Competition in New York City and the Ohio Viola Society Solo Competition. He has had the opportunity to perform chamber music and orchestra concerts in such places as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, and the Dominican Republic.

Aaron is currently principal viola of the Akron and Canton Symphonies and a contracted player with the Rochester Philharmonic, as well as a frequent substitute with the Indianapolis Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and The Cleveland Orchestra.

This past fall, Aaron joined the viola faculty at Cleveland State University. He has also taught multiple lessons and master classes at the Oberlin Conservatory.

Having grown up in rural Indiana, Aaron and his wife, Jeanelle, now reside in Cleveland and enjoy spending time with their two cats, Theodore and Hamilton. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys reading, running, playing and watching basketball, cooking, and woodworking.

Aaron plays on the viola made by Douglas Cox in 2006 in West Brattleboro, Vermont.

Matthew Ross

Benjamin Magruder

Cello

Ahrim Kim

Ahrim Kim

Joined the RPO in 2015

Ahrim Kim is an accomplished soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral leader who recently joined the RPO as principal cellist in the fall of 2015. She was awarded the Cassado Prize at the Gaspar Cassado International Cello Competition in Japan and top prizes in numerous other competitions, including the Houston Symphony's Ima Hogg Young Artists Competition, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition, the Five Towns Music Competition, and the Corpus Christi International Competition. She has performed solo and chamber repertoire at Boston's Symphony Hall, The Juilliard School, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Sarasota Music Festival, Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory, the Kennedy Center, and the Salzburg Mozarteum. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Boston Pops, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, and others. She was a member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for the 2014-15 season as acting principal cellist, and she has also played in the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In 2016, she taught and played at the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kim began her cello studies at the age of six. She moved to the U.S. in 2002 and studied cello through Juilliard’s Pre-College Division for young musicians. She holds a master’s degree in cello performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree under the tutelage of Laurence Lesser and Natasha Brofsky.

Kim was awarded the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association as the cellist of the Klimt Trio. As a chamber musician, she has participated in festivals such as Yellow Barn, Chesapeake Chamber Music, and Marlboro.

Principal, The Clara and Edwin Strasenburgh Chair, funded in perpetuity

Kathleen Murphy Kemp

Kathleen Murphy Kemp

Joined the RPO in 1977

Kathleen Murphy Kemp is Assistant Principal Cello of the RPO and has been a full time member of the cello section since 1977. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, she earned a bachelor of music and a master’s degree in performance and literature as well as the performer’s certificate. She serves on the collegiate and community ed. faculties of both the Eastman School of Music and the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. She is the coordinator of the Orchestra Studies Diploma Program and mentor of the secondary cello teachers at Eastman. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and was awarded Musician of the Year by Mu Phi Epsilon. She is also a recipient of the RPO Musicians' Award for Outstanding Music Educators.

She has participated in the Chamber Music Rochester series, Roycroft Chamber Music Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Fortissismo Festival, Academy of Medicine Salon Concerts as well as Aspen Music Festival, Sarasota Festivals, and Music Academy of the West where she was a concerto winner.

As a strong advocate for music education, Kemp served over 10 years on the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Board and during her tenure developed the Mentor Program (RPO musicians coaching RPYO students). She is the co-founder of the chamber music program at the Hochstein School, a program for beginning through advanced young musicians with an interest in learning the art of chamber music playing. She devotes much of her time to educational volunteerism and has been honored with the RPO Volunteer Recognition Award and the Philharmonic League Fanfare Ward for Education.

Teachers have included Einar Holm, Ron Leonard, Alan Harris, Robert Newkirk, Gabor Rejto and Gregor Piatogorsky. She is married to Randy Kemp and is the proud mom to Megan Kemp (violin teacher and performer) and Michael Kemp (professional percussionist and timpanist).

Assistant Principal

Lars Kirvan

Lars Kirvan

Cellist Lars Kirvan grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, where he began his cello studies with Loran Stephenson of the National Symphony Orchestra. He later earned his bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a student of the Cleveland Orchestra’s renowned principal cellist, Stephen Geber.

Kirvan was a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland and the Verbier Chamber Orchestra where he served as a principal, and also was a member and principal of the New World Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Kirvan has traveled all over the world performing in its most prestigious concert halls and has been fortunate to collaborate in chamber music performances with artists such as Maxim Vengerov, James Buswell, Leonidas Kavakos, Dimitry Sitkovesky, Heinrich Schiff, Laurence Lesser, Jon Kimura Parker, and many more. He was recently invited to join the World Orchestra for Peace, conducted by Valery Gergiev.  Most recently, Kirvan became the assistant principal cellist of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

Kirvan joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008 and was appointed its third chair cello. In the 2014-15 season, he served as principal cellist of the RPO.

Christopher Haritatos

Christopher Haritatos

Joined the RPO in 2009

Cellist Christopher Haritatos holds degrees from the University of Chicago, the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Alan Harris, and the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Mr. Harris and with Steven Doane. Before joining the RPO in 2009, he had been a member of numerous other orchestras including the Austin Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra (including as Acting Principal and Interim Principal cellist), and the Aspen Chamber Symphony, and taught at Texas State University-San Marcos. As a baroque cellist, he studied with Jaap ter Linden as a Fulbright Scholar at the Akademie für Alte Musik in Bremen, Germany, and has played with numerous early music groups throughout Northern Europe and North America. He is Co-director of Publick Musick and cellist of the baroque chamber ensemble Fioritura.

Zexun Shen

Zexun Shen

Joined the RPO in 2016

Born in Shanghai, China, Zexun (Jason) Shen studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music with Professor Da-Hai Liu and graduated with honors in 2009. In the same year, he began his studies with Timothy Eddy at the Mannes College of Music (BM 2013, MM 2015), where he was presented with a full scholarship and the Goldsmith Foundation Award. Shen has served as the principal cellist of the Mannes Orchestra since 2011.

Shen has performed extensively in the U.S. and abroad (including China, Australia, and Poland) as a soloist and chamber musician, playing at venues such as the Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Steinway Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Metropolitan Museum, Morgan Library Museum, and has taken part in music festivals such as the Sarasota Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute (String Quartet Seminar), and the Taos Chamber Music Festival, working with the members of the Borromeo String Quartet, Brentano String Quartet, the Moscow Rachmaninoff Piano Trio, the Guarneri String Quartet, and the Orion String Quartet, amongst others. He has also performed in solo and chamber master classes given by world-renowned musicians such as Shmuel Ashkenazi, Colin Carr, Christoph Henkel, Andres Diaz, Paul Katz, Ralph Kirshbaum, Laurence Lesser, Robert McDonald, Joseph Silverstein, and Michael Tree.

Shen is currently studying with Philippe Muller at the Manhattan School of Music.He plays on an 1889 Giovanni Dollenz cello made in Triesta, Italy, with an 1860 Charles Peccatte bow made available to him as a gift from a private sponsor.

Benjamin Krug

Benjamin Krug

Joined the RPO in 2008

Benjamin Krug hails from Royal Oak, Michigan. Krug graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.M. in Cello Performance in 2004. He went on to the Cleveland Institute of Music to do graduate work with Stephen Geber, earning his Masters in Cello Performance in 2006 and a Professional Studies Diploma in 2008. He has participated in a variety of summer music programs including the Kent Blossom Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. During his graduate studies in Cleveland, he was a member of the Akron and Canton Symphonies. Photo credit: Kate Lemmon

Jennifer Carpenter

Ingrid Bock

Ingrid Bock

Joined the RPO in 1979

RPO cellist Ingrid Bock is also the principal cellist of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. She loves to teach, and has a class of inspired, and inspiring, private students. She is a founding member of the Cello Divas, a boundary-stretching cello quartet which provides her the opportunity to perform unusual and challenging music and to develop her arranging skills. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and the Performer’s Certificate, from the Eastman School of Music.

Bass

Cory Palmer

Cory Palmer

Joined the RPO in 2017

Cory Palmer was appointed principal bass in May 2017. Prior to joining the RPO, he was principal bass of the Canton Symphony Orchestra from 2012-16. He has also held positions with the Sarasota Opera and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Summer engagements include performances with the Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Artosphere Festival Orchestra in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan; Brevard Music Center in Brevard, North Carolina; and the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock, Maine.

While growing up in Atlanta, Palmer was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and studied with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra principal bassist Ralph Jones. After high school he continued his studies at Michigan State University, Peabody Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, and Carnegie Mellon University. His major teachers were Ralph Jones, Jack Budrow, John Hood, Orin O’Brien, and Jeff Turner.

Principal, The Anne Hayden McQuay Chair, funded in perpetuity

Michael Griffin

Michael Griffin

Joined the RPO in 1994

Michael Griffin has played in the RPO since 1994 and holds degrees from Indiana University-Bloomington. Griffin has played in the Syracuse Symphony, Albany Symphony, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and St. Cecilia Chamber Orchestra, and has taught bass students at Ithaca College.

In addition to performing with the RPO, Griffin owns and operates Luthier's Care, specializing in repairs and restorations on violins, violas, cellos, basses, bows, and more.

Assistant Principal

Gaelen McCormick

Gaelen McCormick

Joined the RPO in 1995

Ms. McCormick has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic’s double bass section since 1995, and is Acting Assistant Principal this season.  Before joining the RPO, she held positions with regional orchestras such as the Erie (PA) Philharmonic, the Binghamton Philharmonic and the Albany Symphony and filled in with other major orchestras, including the Buffalo Philharmonic.  She holds degrees in performance from the Eastman School where she studied with James VanDemark and Carnegie Mellon University where she studied with Jeffrey Turner.

Teaching the double bass to students of all ages is a significant part of Gaelen’s life. She is a faculty member of Nazareth College and the Eastman Community Music School. In 2017 she joined the faculty of the Arts Leadership Program at the Eastman School of Music. Since 2014, she has been organizing and teaching at the Rochester Bass Retreat, a workshop for all ages and genres of bass playing. Gaelen has given masterclasses and recitals at Ithaca College, Williams College, the College of St. Rose, and Roberts Wesleyan College. She is a regular clinician at the New York State School Music Association’s Winter Conference and at the International Society of Bassists biennial conventions.  Her three book set on double bass bow technique, Mastering the Bow, is published by Carl Fischer. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Bassists, and is the editor of their Bass World magazine’s teaching column.

Playing chamber music has been a passion for Ms. McCormick.  Before moving to Rochester, she often performed with the St. Cecilia Chamber Orchestra (Albany, NY) as their sole bassist.  During her tenure in Pittsburgh, she became the founding bassist of the Pittsburgh Live Music Chamber Orchestra. She was the founding member of the innovative string quintet “Gibbs and Main”, and recorded a cd of tango standards with them and commissioned a new work for the ensemble by Judd Greenstein.   Over many summers she has performed with the Music in the Mountains chamber orchestra, a festival based in Durango, Colorado. She is frequently invited to play chamber music with musicians from around the country in festivals such as the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival and the Syracuse New Music Ensemble.

Gaelen has been involved in volunteering and arts advocacy, and is proud to be one of the representatives for the RPO in the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians.  She is honored to be a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda, groups recognizing and supporting excellence in the humanities and in music specifically.  In her spare time, Gaelen enjoys kayaking, Argentine tango and West Coast swing dancing, and spending time with her family.  A recent career highlight was spending a month in Paris studying with iconic bassist and pedagogue Francois Rabbath.

Edward Castilano

Fred Dole

Fred Dole

Joined the RPO in 2012

Fred Dole is currently Section Double Bass in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and also performs with the Richmond Symphony, Virginia Symphony, and West Virginia Symphony Orchestras, and the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble (ACE), of which he was a founding member. He also has been Professor of Double Bass at Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William and Mary. Previously, he was a freelance musician throughout the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, and has played in numerous orchestras and chamber groups in the area. In 2003, Dole was chosen as a Peabody String Fellow, which allowed him to travel to Singapore to help open the Young Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and to perform with the Singapore Symphony. He received his Masters of Music from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Md., where he studied with Paul Johnson and had additional studies with John Hood and Rob Kesselman. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with Michael Cameron and had additional studies with Catalin Rotaru.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell

Joined the RPO in 1994

Jeff Campbell is an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media at Eastman School of Music. He is widely recognized for his versatile skills as performer and teacher of double bass and is active as a musician with the RPO, Eastman Jazz Quartet and Trio East. He has performed with Marian McPartland, Gene Bertoncini, Rich Perry and Harold Danko and released a new CD, West End Avenue, featuring John Hollenbeck. He is jazz editor for Bass World and serves as Jazz Program Director for Birch Creek Music Center in Door County, WI.

Eric Polenik

Eric Polenik

Joined the RPO in 2005

Bassist Eric J. Polenik was drawn to the instrument’s low sound at age 16 after hearing Beethoven for the first time. While studying at Duquesne University, he served as principal bass of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. In Rochester, Polenik continued his studies with former Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra principal bassist Robert Zimmerman, and has since joined the RPO’s bass section. He was a founding member of the NEO Chamber Orchestra, a student-operated ensemble based in Rochester.  He is also a member of Gibbs & Main, a chamber music ensemble performing in Rochester, N.Y.

Flute

Rebecca Gilbert

Rebecca Gilbert

Joined the RPO in 1996

Rebecca Gilbert joined the RPO as principal flute (The Charlotte Whitney Allen Chair) in the 1996-97 season. As a regularly featured soloist, her expressive and versatile playing has illuminated the RPO’s Philharmonics and Pops Series performances. She has performed as acting principal flute of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and guest assistant principal flute with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood. Previous appointments include principal flute of the Charleston Symphony and second flute of the Dayton Philharmonic

As an active soloist/recitalist, she has performed solo and chamber music concerts with the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, First Muse (Rochester), Live from Hochstein, Skaneateles Festival, Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Charles Ives Center for the Arts Contemporary Music Festival, and the Chautauqua Chamber Players. She has performed concerti with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and the Penfield Symphony Orchestra.

From 2000-01, Gilbert served as visiting artist in residence at the Juilliard School (Jeanne Baxtresser International Flute Masterclass), and has given masterclasses in orchestral flute playing across the U.S. Her interest in the similarities between orchestral playing and chamber music playing was the subject of a program entitled “The Chamber Music of Orchestral Teamwork” that she presented with the RPO flute section for the National Flute Association.

She has served as lecturer in flute performance at Ithaca College, and adjunct faculty flutist at the College of Mount St. Joseph (Ohio), as well as the College of Charleston. She has served as vice president and program coordinator of the Rochester Flute Association and maintains an active teaching schedule with her private flute studio and as coach/mentor with the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

A Wisconsin native, Gilbert began playing the flute at age nine. She earned a master’s degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and attended the Centre International De Formation Musicale in Nice, France. Her principal flute teachers include Jeanne Baxtresser, Randolph Bowman, Kyril Magg, and Gwen Powell.  She lives in the Highland Park neighborhood with her husband Gavin Rigg, their two boys Julian and Malcolm, and their Rhodesian Ridgeback Nala.

Principal, The Charlotte Whitney Allen Chair, funded in perpetuity

Joanna Bassett

Joanna Bassett

Joined the RPO in 1984

Joanna Bassett is a flutist and  teacher who has lived in Rochester since joining the RPO in 1984. She plays second flute and piccolo in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and began her orchestral career as a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. She has performed with the Canandaigua LakeMusic Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, Chamber Music Rochester and the First Muse series at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester. As a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music, she collaborated in memorable chamber music recordings with soprano Benita Valente and mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani. Cary Ratcliff’s “Five Joys: Gitanjali Dances” was a co-commission by Bassett and the Rochester Flute Association for her 2005 Flute Fair Recital, and a new sonata for flute and piano by Ken Kreuzer was written for her as a special birthday gift from her husband.

Bassett was the founding president of the Rochester Flute Association from 1995-2003 and is currently a member of the Rochester Philharmonic League board and the RPO Volunteer Enrichment Series. Her belief in the importance of volunteering is energized by the generosity and commitment of the RPO volunteers she has met over the years. She is also active in the National Flute Association, currently as Program Chair for the 2015 convention in Washington, D.C.

She began playing the flute in the Ann Arbor, MI public schools in fourth grade, and credits her public school music teachers, private teacher Glennis Metz Stout and her parents for gently steering her to a career in music. She has degrees from Northwestern University as a student of Walfrid Kujala and the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Bonita Boyd and Leone Buyse. She enjoys teaching students of all ages in her home studio.

Bassett is married to RPO Principal Trombonist Mark Kellogg, and they live in Pittsford with their son, Rob, and dachshunds, Eddie and Antler.

Jessica Sindell

Jessica Sindell

Joined the RPO in 2016

Diane Smith

Piccolo

Joanna Bassett

Joanna Bassett

Joined the RPO in 1984

Joanna Bassett is a flutist and  teacher who has lived in Rochester since joining the RPO in 1984. She plays second flute and piccolo in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and began her orchestral career as a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. She has performed with the Canandaigua LakeMusic Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, Chamber Music Rochester and the First Muse series at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester. As a graduate student at the Eastman School of Music, she collaborated in memorable chamber music recordings with soprano Benita Valente and mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani. Cary Ratcliff’s “Five Joys: Gitanjali Dances” was a co-commission by Bassett and the Rochester Flute Association for her 2005 Flute Fair Recital, and a new sonata for flute and piano by Ken Kreuzer was written for her as a special birthday gift from her husband.

Bassett was the founding president of the Rochester Flute Association from 1995-2003 and is currently a member of the Rochester Philharmonic League board and the RPO Volunteer Enrichment Series. Her belief in the importance of volunteering is energized by the generosity and commitment of the RPO volunteers she has met over the years. She is also active in the National Flute Association, currently as Program Chair for the 2015 convention in Washington, D.C.

She began playing the flute in the Ann Arbor, MI public schools in fourth grade, and credits her public school music teachers, private teacher Glennis Metz Stout and her parents for gently steering her to a career in music. She has degrees from Northwestern University as a student of Walfrid Kujala and the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Bonita Boyd and Leone Buyse. She enjoys teaching students of all ages in her home studio.

Bassett is married to RPO Principal Trombonist Mark Kellogg, and they live in Pittsford with their son, Rob, and dachshunds, Eddie and Antler.

Jessica Sindell

Jessica Sindell

Joined the RPO in 2016

Oboe

Erik Behr

Erik Behr

Joined the RPO in 2007

Erik Behr was appointed principal oboe of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2007. Prior to joining the RPO, he was principal oboe of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet. Behr has performed as guest principal with the San Francisco Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and as a guest with the Seattle and Houston symphonies. During the summer, he performs alongside his wife, RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde, at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and the Mainly Mozart Festival. Other festivals appearances include the Casals and Spoleto festivals.

In addition to numerous concerto appearances with the RPO and Houston Ballet, Behr has recorded Honegger’s Concerto da Camera with the RTV Slovenia Orchestra. Along with his wife, he was appointed artistic director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester in 2013. He has given chamber recitals nationally and internationally at the Edinburgh International Festival, Kilkenny Festival, and Maribor Festival. His playing has been praised by critics as “bold and graceful” (Washington Post), “immaculate” (Sunday Tribune), for its “tremendous musicianship and sense of style” (Irish Examiner) and “ease and eloquence” (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle).

Behr has served on the oboe faculty at the University of Houston and was a visiting lecturer at Cornell University. He is presently adjunct professor at Roberts Wesleyan College. He received his bachelor’s degree (cum laude) at Arizona State University, his master’s from Temple University, and doctorate from Rice University. His principal teachers have been Robert Atherholt, Richard Woodhams, and Martin Schuring.

Principal, The Dr. Jacques M. Lipson Chair, funded in perpetuity

Anna Steltenpohl

Anna Steltenpohl

Joined the RPO in 2008

Anna Steltenpohl is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School.  Her teachers have included Elaine Douvas, Pedro Diaz, Nathan Hughes, Richard Woodhams, and Jonathan Fischer. She has performed as principal oboe with the New York City Ballet Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and New Jersey Symphony.  She has attended the Pacific Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival and School.  In addition to being featured on National Public Radio’s nationally syndicated “From the Top,” she and her twin sister Lisa, a violist, have starred in the educational video series “Musical Encounters” and on Philadelphia television.

Geoffrey Sanford

Geoffrey Sanford

Joined the RPO in 2013

Geoff Sanford has been a member of the oboe section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since September 2013. Most recently in September 2014, Sanford became the Adjunct Lecturer in Oboe at Nazareth College, where his duties include teaching private lessons, studio classes, and performing in a faculty woodwind quintet.  Prior to his work in Rochester, Sanford earned a Master of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music as a student of Robert Atherholt, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music as a student of Richard Killmer. Sanford has served as a substitute with the New World Symphony, the Erie Philharmonic, the Canton Symphony, and the Wheeling Symphony. Sanford attended the Tanglewood Music Center in 2013 and again in 2014, and he has also attended the Music Academy of the West, the Sarasota Music Festival, and the Festival-Institute at Round Top, Texas. Sanford grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and his early teachers included Danna Sundet, John Mack, and Elizabeth Camus.

English Horn

Anna Steltenpohl

Anna Steltenpohl

Joined the RPO in 2008

Anna Steltenpohl is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School.  Her teachers have included Elaine Douvas, Pedro Diaz, Nathan Hughes, Richard Woodhams, and Jonathan Fischer. She has performed as principal oboe with the New York City Ballet Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and New Jersey Symphony.  She has attended the Pacific Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival and School.  In addition to being featured on National Public Radio’s nationally syndicated “From the Top,” she and her twin sister Lisa, a violist, have starred in the educational video series “Musical Encounters” and on Philadelphia television.

Clarinet

Kenneth Grant

Kenneth Grant

Joined the RPO in 1987

A Buffalo native, Kenneth Grant joined the RPO in 1987 as principal clarinet after almost 15 years in the same position with the Columbus Symphony.

Solo appearances with the RPO include works by Mozart, Weber, Copland, and Debussy. In 1994, he premiered Sydney Hodkinson’s Concerto for Clarinet with the Rochester Philharmonic under the direction of David Effron. Other premieres with the RPO include Sonata for Clarinet and Piano and the Fantasy Etudes, composed by Verne Reynolds, former professor of horn at the Eastman School of Music. Grant also has appeared as soloist with the Finger Lakes Symphony, the Penfield Symphony, the Geneseo Symphony, and the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra. He also has performed as part of the Rochester Society for Chamber Music since 1989.

In 1990, Grant toured Europe with The Cleveland Orchestra as assistant principal clarinet and participated in that orchestra’s recording of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony. In 1994, he won critical acclaim in Japan as soloist with the Eastman Wind Ensemble on the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and has returned to Japan on several occasions to provide lessons and master classes.

In addition to performing, Grant is associate professor of clarinet at the Eastman School of Music since 1988 and also has taught at Barker (N.Y.) Central Schools, Capital University (Ohio), Tidewater Music Festival (Md.), Otterbein College (Ohio), and Ohio Wesleyan University.

In the summers, Grant teaches at the Aria International Festival at Mt. Holyoke College (Mass.), and teaches and performs at the Marrowstone Festival at Western Washington University. He also was part of the Festival at Roundtop in Texas for the past 11 summers.

Grant received his education at the Eastman School of Music. His principal teachers were Donald Mattea, James Pyne, and D. Stanley Hasty. He pursued additional studies with Frank Cohen and Theodore Johnson of The Cleveland Orchestra.

Principal, The Robert J. Strasenburgh Chair, funded in perpetuity

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown

Joined the RPO in 2006

Andrew Brown joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006 as the Third/Bass Clarinetist. He also regularly performs with the Buffalo Philharmonic and has appeared with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and the Albuquerque Philharmonic.

As a chamber musician, Brown has performed around upstate New York and in New Mexico’s “Church of Beethoven.” As a member of The Eastman Broadband Ensemble, a new music ensemble based at Eastman, he has toured Europe and Mexico, participated in two recording projects, one of which was a Pulitzer-Prize Finalist, and performed in the Zankel Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Brown earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from The Ohio State University and master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. He spent four summers at the Aspen Music Festival. His principal teachers have been Bob Lehner, James Pyne, and Kenneth Grant.

In addition to his performing activities, Brown also maintains an active studio as Instructor of Clarinet at the Eastman Community Music School.

Bass Clarinet

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown

Joined the RPO in 2006

Andrew Brown joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006 as the Third/Bass Clarinetist. He also regularly performs with the Buffalo Philharmonic and has appeared with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and the Albuquerque Philharmonic.

As a chamber musician, Brown has performed around upstate New York and in New Mexico’s “Church of Beethoven.” As a member of The Eastman Broadband Ensemble, a new music ensemble based at Eastman, he has toured Europe and Mexico, participated in two recording projects, one of which was a Pulitzer-Prize Finalist, and performed in the Zankel Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Brown earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from The Ohio State University and master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. He spent four summers at the Aspen Music Festival. His principal teachers have been Bob Lehner, James Pyne, and Kenneth Grant.

In addition to his performing activities, Brown also maintains an active studio as Instructor of Clarinet at the Eastman Community Music School.

Saxophone

Ramon Ricker

Ramon Ricker

Joined the RPO in 1973

Ramon Ricker is Emeritus Professor of Saxophone and Senior Associate Dean for Professional Studies (retired) at the Eastman School of Music. As a senior administrator at Eastman, Dr. Ricker has been instrumental in shaping the innovative entrepreneurial programs at the School. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Polyphonic.org, an Eastman sponsored website for professional orchestra musicians. He was a full-time Eastman faculty member from 1972-2013, and was the first titled saxophone professor at the School.

In 1973, Ricker won a position with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as a member of the clarinet section. His many books are looked to as standards in the saxophone and jazz improvisation fields with over 150,000 copies sold worldwide with translations in French and Japanese. His works are published by Schott (Germany), Alphonse Leduc (Paris), ATN (Tokyo), Alfred (USA) and Jamey Aebersold (USA). His latest book, Lessons From a Street-Wise Professor; What You Won’t Learn at Most Music Schools (2011, Soundown, Inc.) was honored as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Business: Entrepreneurship and Small Business category of The USA “Best Books 2011" Awards, sponsored by USA Book News.

In 2013, Ricker was awarded the Dean’s Medal in recognition of extraordinary leadership, dedication, service, and philanthropy to the Eastman School of Music. For more information, visit www.rayricker.com

Bassoon

Matthew McDonald

Matthew McDonald

Joined the RPO in 2013

Matthew McDonald was appointed Principal Bassoon of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2013. Before his appointment there, he was Principal Bassoon of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and Co-Principal Bassoon of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. McDonald has performed as soloist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra, as well as at the International Double Reed Society conference. He has appeared with festival orchestras such as the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Born in Huntsville, Alabama, McDonald began studying with Hunter Thomas, and later with Benjamin Kamins. A graduate of the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, McDonald had other teachers including Barrick Stees, Bernard Garfield, and Daniel Matsukawa. Along with soprano Susanna Phillips, McDonald co-founded Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival in Huntsville, Alabama, which had its inaugural summer in 2010. credit: Lydia DiMonte

Principal, The Ron and Donna Fielding Chair, funded in perpetuity

Karl Vilcins

Karl Vilcins

Joined the RPO in 2017

A Long Island native, bassoonist Karl Vilcins graduated from The Ohio State University in 2002 with a bachelor's in music performance, studying with Christopher Weait. In 2004 he received his master's in orchestral performance from the Manhattan School of Music, with Frank Morelli.  Since graduating, he has participated in the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Attergau Festival (Salzburg), where he worked with members of the Vienna Philharmonic.

From 2005 through 2011 Vilcins was principal bassoon of the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. During the 2011-12 season, he served as principal bassoon for the RPO. In January of 2014, he joined the faculty of Long Island University’s Post Campus as adjunct professor of bassoon.

For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed a steadily thriving career as a New York City freelance musician, playing with many groups including the Orchestra of St. Lukes, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, and the American Composers Orchestra. In 2014 he was asked to join Orpheus on a two-week tour of Japan, playing in twelve of the nation’s most prestigious concert halls, including Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.

Martha Sholl

Martha Sholl

Joined the RPO in 1988

Martha Sholl graduated from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with the renowned K. David Van Hoesen. Prior to her studies at the Eastman School, she studied with Shirley Curtiss of the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. Sholl has held the position of principal bassoon with the Tri Cities Opera, the Binghamton Philharmonic, and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. She was also a member of the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphoria, among others. In addition to orchestral playing, she is an active chamber musician, performing as a member of the RPO Woodwind Quintet and the Geneseo Wind Quintet.  Sholl has performed in several summer festivals, including Music in the Mountains (Durango, CO), the Skaneateles Festival, the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and the Chautauqua Symphony. She is a faculty member at SUNY Geneseo and Roberts Wesleyan College, and has given master classes at SUNY Fredonia and at Ithaca College, where she has also been a guest faculty member. In her free time, she enjoys her cats, gardening, cooking, and playing golf.

Contra-Bassoon

Karl Vilcins

Karl Vilcins

Joined the RPO in 2017

A Long Island native, bassoonist Karl Vilcins graduated from The Ohio State University in 2002 with a bachelor's in music performance, studying with Christopher Weait. In 2004 he received his master's in orchestral performance from the Manhattan School of Music, with Frank Morelli.  Since graduating, he has participated in the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Attergau Festival (Salzburg), where he worked with members of the Vienna Philharmonic.

From 2005 through 2011 Vilcins was principal bassoon of the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. During the 2011-12 season, he served as principal bassoon for the RPO. In January of 2014, he joined the faculty of Long Island University’s Post Campus as adjunct professor of bassoon.

For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed a steadily thriving career as a New York City freelance musician, playing with many groups including the Orchestra of St. Lukes, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Ballet Theater, and the American Composers Orchestra. In 2014 he was asked to join Orpheus on a two-week tour of Japan, playing in twelve of the nation’s most prestigious concert halls, including Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.

Horn

W. Peter Kurau

W. Peter Kurau

Joined the RPO in 1983

W. Peter Kurau was appointed Principal Horn of the RPO in 2004. He had previously served as Assistant Principal Horn (1983-1995) and Acting Assistant Principal Horn (2002-2004). He also serves as Professor of Horn at the Eastman School of Music. A prizewinner in the Heldenleben International Horn Competition (1977) and a recipient of an I.T.T. International Fellowship for study in the United Kingdom (1974-75), he also served as an Artistic Ambassador for the United States Information Agency, presenting concerts and classes with esteemed colleague Joseph Werner in Serbia-Montenegro, Kazakstan, Syria, and Macedonia (1997). Active also as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician, he has appeared at numerous professional symposia, as well as at leading universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. His festival activities include appearances at the Chautauqua Music Festival, Bravo! Colorado, Grand Teton Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Texas Music Festival, and the International Festival Institute at Round Top (TX), among others.

He resides in Honeoye Falls with his wife, soprano Pamela Kurau, and a variable number of feline companions.

Principal, The Cricket and Frank Luellen Chair, funded in perpetuity

Nikolette LaBonte

Nikolette LaBonte

Joined the RPO in 2016

Nikolette LaBonte, a native of South Florida, has quickly emerged as a distinguished performer in the field of orchestral horn playing. In 2015, LaBonte was appointed acting assistant principal horn of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. While living and working with the orchestra in Honolulu, she also served as the associate principal horn of the Hawaii Opera Theater and Oahu Choral Society. In addition to the RPO and HSO, she has had the opportunity to perform with orchestras across the country including the New York Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and Syracuse-based Symphoria.

LaBonte will be returning to Rochester not only as a performer, but also to complete her undergraduate degree coursework at the Eastman School of Music, under the direction of RPO Principal Horn W. Peter Kurau. Outside of the concert hall, LaBonte is active in promoting classical music throughout the community. During her time in Honolulu, she maintained a private studio, served as the education coordinator of the Hawaii Symphony, and was a recorder and ukulele instructor with “Kalikolehua,” an El Sistema program. She has served as a member of a variety of chamber ensembles including the Spring Winds and Eastman Brass Band and is the co-creator and coordinator of “Olympic Overtures”, a multimedia project designed to spread awareness of classical music through collaboration with Olympic athletes.  Away from the horn, she enjoys hiking and scuba diving, although she’ll likely have to reserve the latter for her visits to more tropical climates.

Associate/Assistant/Utility

Maura McCune Corvington

Maura McCune Corvington

Joined the RPO in 2015

Maura McCune Corvington has distinguished herself as a virtuosic artist through her expressive playing. Prior to joining the RPO in July 2015, she served as acting principal horn of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and Hawaii Opera Theatre Orchestra, as well as throughout the Hawaiian Islands as the hornist of the Honolulu Brass Quintet. She previously served as acting associate principal and third horn of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and Hawaii Opera Theatre Orchestra. She has also performed with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Chamber Choir, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. She has spent summers performing with the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, Marrowstone Music Festival, The International Festival-Institute at Round Top, and the Skaneateles Festival Orchestra.

Growing up in Illinois, Corvington was inspired at an early age by the renowned Chicago Symphony Brass, and she studied with Chicago Symphony Orchestra hornists, Dale Clevenger, and Alice Render. She holds a master’s degree in horn performance from the Shepherd School of Music under the tutelage of William VerMeulen and a bachelor’s in horn performance with the performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music under the instruction of RPO Principal Horn W. Peter Kurau. During her undergraduate years, she toured as a member of the Grammy Award-nominated Eastman Wind Ensemble.

Corvington is an adjunct instructor of horn at the Eastman School, instructor of horn at the Eastman Community Music School, adjunct professor of horn at Roberts Wesleyan College, a horn mentor for the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and adjunct lecturer in horn studies at SUNY Geneseo where she has been a featured faculty soloist with the Geneseo Wind Ensemble and performs regularly as a member of the Geneseo Wind Quintet. Her horn students have been invited to perform at leading festivals, including the BUTI Young Artist Orchestra, and pursue elite level collegiate studies across the country. She previously served as lecturer of horn at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Corvington has also served as a featured clinician at Cornell University and at the Roberts Wesleyan College International Music Camp.

In spring of 2018, Corvington will lead a new course in Eastman’s Arts Leadership Program illuminating innovative, impactful, and essential studio teaching strategies for future music educators who face a continually evolving professional mentorship landscape. She lives in Rochester with her husband Patrick, a professional trumpet player.

David Angus

David Angus

Joined the RPO in 1973

David Angus, 3rd horn, has enjoyed playing in the RPO since 1973.  He is also a member of the RPO Brass Quintet. A native of San Diego, Calif., Angus graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts before enrolling at the Eastman School of Music for graduate study. He attended Eastman on an NDEA fellowship, earning Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in horn performance as well as a Performer’s Certificate. He has been active as a representative of musicians over his entire career, serving frequently on the RPO’s Orchestra Committee and as its ICSOM Representative. He was an ICSOM officer for many years and currently serves as officer of the Rochester Musicians’ Association, Local 66 of the American Federation of Musicians. He and his musician spouse Jan have two grown children and one new grandson.

Stephen Laifer

Stephen Laifer

Joined the RPO in 2012

Horn player Stephen Laifer was born in Honolulu, Hawaii into a military family, eventually settling in Syracuse, New York. Laifer began playing the horn relatively late as a sophomore in high school, deciding at the last minute to shelve a career in graphic design and pursue music instead. He studied horn at Ithaca College with John Covert, relocating to the West Coast after graduation to play in the U.S. Air Force Band, where he studied with David Krehbiel, former principal horn of the San Francisco Symphony. In 1990 Stephen was named Co-Principal Horn with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in South Africa, a position he held for 12 years. He also spent a year with the orchestra in Barcelona, Spain.

Laifer has worked with orchestras around the globe, touring and performing across Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, Singapore, and China. He was a member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra from July 2005 until the orchestra’s closure in 2011. He joined the horn section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as its 4th Horn player in September 2012. He is also an active educator, maintaing a regular private studio. Clinician visits over the last year have included master classes given at Louisiana State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is currently a regular substitute player with the North Carolina Symphony, and the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra in Spain’s Canary Islands. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, and Singapore Symphony. Outside of music, Laifer is a keen hiker, mountain biker, and kayaker, grows more than 200 orchids, and is a busy freelance writer and editor.

Trumpet

Douglas Prosser

Douglas Prosser

Joined the RPO in 1997

Douglas Prosser is a native of Kansas, born in Topeka in 1963. He received his collegiate musical training at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School of Music from 1981-1987 under the tutelage of Barbara Butler Charles Guyer, formerly of the Chicago Symphony and Mark Gould, principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera of New York. Prosser began his career in 1987 as the RPO’s third trumpet and was shortly thereafter named the principal trumpet of the City of Barcelona Symphony Orchestra in Barcelona, Spain. From 1987 to 1995, Prosser toured widely with the Barcelona ensemble throughout Europe and Asia and was featured frequently as a soloist with performances of trumpet concerti by Tomasi, Haydn, and Hummel. In 1995 he returned to the U.S. to rejoin the Rochester Philharmonic as principal trumpet, and in 1997 was appointed to the faculty of the Eastman School of Music as associate professor of trumpet and brass chamber music.

Most recently, Prosser served as acting associate principal trumpet with the Philadelphia Orchestra during their 2007 summer residency at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and has continued to perform with them as a guest musician on numerous occasions including two recent tours of China and Pope Francis’ recent visit to Philadelphia. Prosser has toured worldwide as an orchestral musician, chamber player, recitalist, and clinician, including performances in Tokyo, Osaka, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Marseille, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Toronto, New York City, Boston, Miami, and Campeche, Mexico. Prosser’s orchestral and chamber performances can be heard on recordings of EMI Classics, harmonia mundi, and Eastman in Concert.

Principal, The Elaine P. Wilson Chair

Wesley Nance

Wesley Nance

Joined the RPO in 1986

Wesley Nance holds the position of Second Trumpet with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and is in his 29th season, having won a position with the orchestra in 1986 at the age of 17. In addition to his section duties in the orchestra, he is frequently called on to play Principal Trumpet, and has been featured as a soloist with the orchestra on several occasions. Also a composer, he has had several pieces commissioned and premiered by the RPO over the last several years under the batons of Jeff Tyzik and Michael Butterman.

Nance holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer. For over 20 years he has been on the faculty of the Eastman Community Music School, where his trumpet studio is highly regarded, and he directs a trumpet ensemble made up of the finest pre-college players in the area.

An active chamber musician, Nance is a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Brass Quintet, and a frequent musical collaborator in the Rochester area. He has performed with the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, the Skaneateles Festival, and the Canandaigua Lake Chamber Music Festival, and  the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble.

Nance is also the director of the music programs at the Charles Finney School in Penfield.

Outside of music, Wesley Nance enjoys espresso, wine, tennis, sailing, salsa dancing with his lovely wife (RPO Assistant Concertmaster Shannon Nance), and a good movie downstairs in the home theater, where he’s likely to be joined by Shannon and their four children.

Herbert Smith

Herbert Smith

Joined the RPO in 1991

Herb Smith is third trumpet with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a graduate of The Eastman School of Music and began playing in the orchestra after graduating in 1991.

He works with students through the Young Audiences of America and Rochester City School District Artist in Residence program. Smith travels all over upstate N.Y. doing workshops and presentations on classical music and the accessibility of this music for non-musicians. He also is a regular presenter on world music and jazz.

Smith also plays many gigs with his jazz quartet and is a frequent substitute player for the Chautauqua Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic orchestras. He is trumpet instructor for the Eastman Community Music School, and teaches trumpet from his home studio. He has played with many notable artists, including Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, Doc Severinsen, and The O’Jays.

He also has played for many commercial jingles recorded in Rochester, N.Y. Other ventures include composing music for silent films, writing musical arrangements for local bands in the area, and a recent collaboration composing a full-length ballet for Garth Fagan Dance.

Paul Shewan

Paul Shewan

Paul Shewan has been a member of the RPO trumpet section since 1998. He also is a frequent guest conductor with the RPO, including the RPO’s inaugural side-by-side concert with community members in February 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Roberts Wesleyan and a master’s degree in trumpet performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music. He completed the doctoral degree in conducting from the Eastman School in 2004 where he has returned as a visiting associate professor of conducting and ensembles.

As professor of instrumental music at Roberts Wesleyan College, he conducts the orchestra and wind ensemble, and teaches trumpet and instrumental conducting. At the Eastman School, Shewan studied conducting with Mendi Rodan, Neil Varon, Donald Hunsberger, and Mark Scatterday. He has conducted the Varna Philharmonic Orchestra (Bulgaria), Concordia Santa Fe (New Mexico), the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Shewan has performed frequently with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Solo appearances include performances of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the Equinox Symphony, J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with members of the RPO and live broadcasts on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM radio’s Noontime at Hochstein (trumpet and conducting).

Trombone

David Bruestle

David Bruestle

Joined the RPO in 2016

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, David Bruestle joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in May, 2017 as Principal Trombone, after serving as Acting Principal Trombone since October, 2016.

David previously studied at the Eastman School of Music where he received a Bachelor of Music with High Distinction and was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. At Eastman, David had the privilege of studying with Dr. John Marcellus, international recording artist and former principal trombone of the National Symphony Orchestra. He then received his Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he studied with Dr. Per Brevig, a 26-year member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.\

David returned to Eastman to pursue the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, studying with Mark Kellogg, his predecessor as principal trombone of the RPO, completing his course of study in May 2015. Before joining the RPO, David held the position of second trombone with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and principal trombone with the Erie Philharmonic. He has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphoria (Syracuse). David is honored to have participated in multiple recordings with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

David resides in the Browncroft neighborhood with his wife Katie, an Eastman graduate in horn performance, who is currently pursuing an MD/PhD degree at the University of Rochester. In addition to playing the trombone, David enjoys cooking, birding, and cycling.

Principal, The Austin E. Hildebrandt Chair, funded in perpetuity

Lisa Albrecht

Lisa Albrecht

Joined the RPO in 2009

Lisa Albrecht serves as second trombonist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where she received the Remington Scholarship and Performer’s Certificate. Albrecht also has held positions with the Minnesota Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, and Honolulu Symphony. For several years she served as Assistant Principal Trombonist of the New York Philharmonic. She has performed with several orchestras around the world, among them the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Metropolitan Opera, Czech National Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Orchestra, and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie. Albrecht also has toured with the Summit Brass, Burning River Brass, and Proteus 7. Her early music credits include performances with Rebel Baroque Orchestra, New York Collegium, Spiritus Collective, and Early Music New York. Albrecht has also enjoyed musical collaborations with the modern dance companies of Martha Graham, Mark Morris, and Eric Hawkins as well as with the American Ballet Theater and New York City Ballet. Her opera credits include Glimmerglass, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera.

A New York-based freelancer for 15 years, she performed in over 20 Broadway productions, among them: Candide, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, The Lion King, The Music Man, Hairspray, Urinetown, Nine, Fiddler on the Roof, The Three Penny Opera, A Chorus Line, and Spamalot.  Other commercial credits include performances with such legendary performers as Sarah Vaughan, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Cook, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Cassandra Wilson, The Manhattan Transfer, Wynton Marsalis, Elvis Costello, Barry Manilow, Bernadette Peters, Julie Andrews, Ute Lemper, Chita Rivera, Audra MacDonald, and Eartha Kitt.

A frequent recitalist and clinician, Albrecht has been a soloist with the Jupiter Symphony Players, the International Trombone Festival, Lieksa Brass Week (Finland), Eastern Trombone Workshop, and the New York Brass Conference. She has served on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Jeffrey Gray

Jeffrey Gray

Joined the RPO in 2011

Jeffrey Gray joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011 as bass trombonist. He is also the bass trombonist with the Grant Park Orchestra of Chicago; joining that orchestra in 2003. Gray previously held the same position with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra from 2000 to 2011. Gray has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, and was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra. He can be heard on recordings with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Grant Park Orchestra.

He received his formal music training at Bowling Green State University and The Juilliard School. His teachers include Paul Hunt, Dennis Smith, Don Harwood, Joe Alessi, Steve Norrell, and Blair Bollinger. In 2000, Gray was the winner of two international competitions: the Lewis Van Haney Philharmonic Prize Competition and the Donald Yaxley Solo Competition, both sponsored by the International Trombone Association. He is one of the few trombonists to win both international competitions for bass trombone in the same year. As a result of these competitions, he was a featured performer at the 2000 International Trombone Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Gray began teaching at Ithaca College in 2006. He teaches trombone, bass trombone, brass chamber music, conducts the trombone ensemble, and teaches brass symphonic and operatic repertoire. He is also on the faculty at the Eastman Community Music School where he teaches trombone and conducts the trombone choir.

Tuba

W. Craig Sutherland

W. Craig Sutherland

Joined the RPO in 2004

W. Craig Sutherland, a native of Clarence, N.Y., was appointed to the position of Principal Tubist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004. Prior to joining the RPO, he served as tubist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, in Charleston, S.C. Shortly after receiving his bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Michigan, Sutherland served as Principal Tubist with the Hofer Symphoniker and Rekkenze Brass Quintet, in Hof, Germany. Upon returning to the States, Sutherland was awarded a full scholarship to attend The Juilliard School where he earned his master's degree. In addition to his tenure with the RPO, he has also performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Seattle Symphony. Sutherland also spends his summers in Santa Fe, N.M. as a performing member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra.

Sutherland is an active music educator in the Rochester area, currently serving as Adjunct Professor of Tuba & Euphonium at Roberts Wesleyan College, and for the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College. He is also a faculty member at the Eastman Community Music School and the RPO low brass mentor for the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In past summers, he has served on faculty at the New York State Summer School of the Arts in Saratoga, N.Y., in conjunction with performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and as a performing faculty member at the Brevard Music Center, in Brevard, N.C.

Principal

Timpani

Charles Ross

Charles Ross

Joined the RPO in 2003

Charles Ross has been the principal timpanist of the Rochester Philharmonic since 2003. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, he has performed, toured, and recorded as timpanist with many orchestras in the U.S. and abroad; among them include the Philadelphia Orchestra, La Scala Opera, Baltimore Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, RAI (Radio Orchestra) of Torino, (Italy), Chatauqua Festival Orchestra, and the Moscow and Philadelphia Chamber Orchestras, as well as with acclaimed Baroque ensembles, New York Collegium, VOX Amadeus, and the Philadelphia Classical Symphony.

Ross is on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music and the Brevard Music Center. He has also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, Drexel University, and has given clinics and master classes for the Percussive Arts Society. His primary teachers have been Ken Belding, David Fein, Gerald Carlyss, Michael Bookspan, and Fred Hinger, as well as additional studies with Cloyd Duff, Saul Goodman, and Alan Abel.

In January, 2010, Ross gave his debut as timpani soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic, premiering a concerto written for him by Grammy Award-winning composer, producer, and conductor, Jeff Tyzik. Since then, he has given numerous performances of the piece, including one for public radio. In December 2015, he performed and recorded the concerto with the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

An accomplished jazz vibraphonist, Ross has performed a number of times as vibe soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic. As well, he actively performs in collaboration with Eastman colleagues, Michael Burritt, Howard Potter, and Jeff Campbell as the “Mallet Time Quartet”; additionally with his percussion colleagues of the Philharmonic, making up the “RPO Marimba Band”.

He is also the creator and manufacturer of RossTimp Kettledrum Mallets, currently used by professionals and students throughout the world. He is an affiliate artist and clinician with the Pearl/Adams Corporation, Evans/Daddario, JG Percussion, and Mike Balter Mallets.

Ross can be contacted for clinics, masterclasses, and lessons at Rosstimp@aol.com, as well as through Tonerow.com.

Principal, The Harold and Joan Feinbloom Chair, funded in perpetuity

Jim Tiller

Jim Tiller

Joined the RPO in 1995

Jim Tiller was appointed Principal Percussionist and Assistant Principal Timpanist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1995. He joined the music faculty at SUNY Geneseo in 1996, where he directs all percussion studies and is conductor of the Geneseo Percussion Ensemble. He has also served as conductor of the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Tiller is director of the Percussion Ensembles Program at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. He received his formal music education at the University of South Carolina and the Eastman School of Music. He earned the Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance and Literature, and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from Eastman in 1990, where he was a percussion student of John H. Beck and conducting student of David Effron. He completed the Bachelor of Music Education degree and Performer’s Certificate from the University of South Carolina in 1988, where he was a percussion student of James Hall.

Active in virtually all musical genres, Tiller has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As a soloist and chamber musician he has performed for professional conventions and festivals, including those of the Percussive Arts Society, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Spoleto Festival, American Harp Society Conference, International Viola Congress, and International Double Reed Society, among others. He has been featured on WXXI’s Live from Hochstein, Eastman’s Faculty Artist Series, Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, Friends of Music, and Fortissimo! Tiller has recorded for harmonia mundi usa, Sony Music, NAXOS, ADMLive, Capstone, and other labels. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, South Carolina Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, and Binghamton Symphony, among others.

Principal, The Marie-Merrill and George M. Ewing Chair, funded in perpetuity

Percussion

Jim Tiller

Jim Tiller

Joined the RPO in 1995

Jim Tiller was appointed Principal Percussionist and Assistant Principal Timpanist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1995. He joined the music faculty at SUNY Geneseo in 1996, where he directs all percussion studies and is conductor of the Geneseo Percussion Ensemble. He has also served as conductor of the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Tiller is director of the Percussion Ensembles Program at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. He received his formal music education at the University of South Carolina and the Eastman School of Music. He earned the Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance and Literature, and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from Eastman in 1990, where he was a percussion student of John H. Beck and conducting student of David Effron. He completed the Bachelor of Music Education degree and Performer’s Certificate from the University of South Carolina in 1988, where he was a percussion student of James Hall.

Active in virtually all musical genres, Tiller has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As a soloist and chamber musician he has performed for professional conventions and festivals, including those of the Percussive Arts Society, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Spoleto Festival, American Harp Society Conference, International Viola Congress, and International Double Reed Society, among others. He has been featured on WXXI’s Live from Hochstein, Eastman’s Faculty Artist Series, Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, Friends of Music, and Fortissimo! Tiller has recorded for harmonia mundi usa, Sony Music, NAXOS, ADMLive, Capstone, and other labels. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, South Carolina Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, and Binghamton Symphony, among others.

Principal, The Marie-Merrill and George M. Ewing Chair, funded in perpetuity

Brian Stotz

Brian Stotz

Joined the RPO in 1977

Brian Stotz was appointed Second Percussionist with the RPO in 2000, and has been a member of the Orchestra since 1977. A Rochester native, he was timpanist/percussionist for numerous Broadway musicals performed at the Auditorium Theatre for many years, and was a member of the Pangaia Steel Drum Band. He is also owner/operator of Repaircussions, one of the world's leading percussion instrument service businesses. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he studied with long-time RPO Timpanist John Beck.

Jillian Pritchard

Jillian Pritchard

Joined the RPO in 2000

Jillian Pritchard has played with the RPO percussion section since the 2000–01 season. She also performs with Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed with the New World Symphony, Erie Philharmonic and the Chautauqua Symphony. Pritchard currently serves on the percussion faculties of Roberts Wesleyan College and Finger Lakes Community College and is a member of the RPO Marimba Band. She holds degrees from Northwestern University (MM) and the Eastman School of Music (BM), where she was also awarded the Performer's Certificate. Her primary teachers have included Michael Burritt, James Ross, and John Beck.

Harp

Grace Browning

Grace Browning

Praised for her “superb technical acumen and sensitive musicality” (South Florida Classical Review), Grace Browning is thrilled to begin her first season as Principal Harpist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. An avid opera harpist, Grace performed four seasons as Principal Harpist with the Dallas Opera and continues to perform with the Santa Fe Opera for their summer season. She has also performed regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and, most notably, with the Houston Symphony Orchestra as Guest Principal Harpist during their 2017-2018 season and European tour.

Formerly, Grace was the Harp Fellow with the New World Symphony where she worked closely with Michael Tilson Thomas, performing Mozart’s Flute & Harp Concerto as a featured alumna for his 70th birthday gala concert in 2015.  Grace has participated in music festivals around the globe, including the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival USA, Aspen Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, and National Orchestral Institute.

As a soloist, Grace has been acknowledged for her appealing stage presence and “absolute command of the instrument”. Her most notable performances include concertos with the Pacific Symphony, New World Symphony, and the National Repertory Orchestra. She was also a winner of the Young Texas Artists Solo Competition and the Aspen Music Festival Harp Concerto Competition in 2015.

Grace attended the Eastman School of Music from 2005 to 2007, received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in 2009, and finished her education at The Juilliard School, where she received her masters degree in 2011. In her spare time, Grace enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her extended family, and spoiling her sweet rescue dog, Annie.

 

Principal, The Eileen Malone Chair, A Tribute by Mr. and Mrs. Harcourt M. Sylvester

Rosanna Moore

Keyboard

Joseph Werner

Joseph Werner

Joined the RPO in 1975

Joseph Werner enjoys a varied career as a soloist, collaborative artist, orchestral pianist, administrator, and educator. He has been the Principal Pianist for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1975 and the orchestra’s Personnel Manager since 1993. He was also Co-Artistic Director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester from 2000-2013.

Active both in recital and as an orchestral soloist, Werner has performed numerous times with the RPO in concerto repertoire ranging from Bach to Gershwin. In his solo role, he has appeared with conductors David Zinman, Mark Elder, Christopher Seaman, Jorge Mester, Peter Bay, Isaiah Jackson, and Enrique Diemecke. One of the busiest collaborative pianists in Rochester, he was for many years the accompanist for the celebrated American violinist, Carroll Glenn, and performs regularly with a host of RPO soloists, Eastman School of Music faculty, and visiting artists.

An active recording artist, Werner has recordings on the Columbia, Vanguard, Musical Heritage Society, NEXUS, and Naxos labels. He recorded an album of French music for trombone and piano with Mark Kellogg entitled Impressions and the world premiere of Blue Windows, a sextet for winds and piano written for him and the Antara Winds by the distinguished American composer Libby Larsen.

Werner is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees and the performer’s certificate. His teachers have included Eugene List, Brooks Smith, Leon Fleisher, and Rosina Lhevinne. He is currently Co-Chair of the Piano Department of the David Hochstein School of Music and Dance, where he won that institution’s first Faculty Service Award in 1990. He was named Mu Phi Epsilon’s “Musician of the Year” in 2007. He resides in Penfield with his wife, flutist Diane Smith, and enjoys opera, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Principal, The Lois P. Lines Chair, funded in perpetuity

Cary Ratcliff

Cary Ratcliff

Joined the RPO in 1973

A native of California, Cary Ratcliffe settled in Rochester after attending the Eastman School of Music, where he studied composition with Joseph Schwantner and Samuel Adler, contemporary piano with David Burge, and accompanied in the voice studio of Jan DeGaetani. He served for three seasons as conductor for Eastman’s Musica Nova program and Graduate Chamber Orchestra. For 10 years, he served as Composer-in-Residence at the Strasenburgh Planetarium, where he created orchestral soundtracks for the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.

Ratcliffe’s original compositions include the opera Eleni (selected by New York City Opera for the 2008 VOX concert showcase) and Mice and Beans (an opera for children’s chorus). Recordings include Kathryn Lewek sings Cary Ratcliff (an album of artsongs), and Mitzie Collins’ widely-selling album Rejoice, Virtuosic Carols for Flute, Harp, and Hammer Dulcimer.

His oratorio Ode to Common Things (set to poetry by Pablo Neruda) is currently in recording for the harmonia mundi label. Chamber works include Gitanjali Dances for Flute and Piano, and Grasshopper Dances for Saxophone and Strings. His Viola Concerto won the ASCAP Nissim Prize for Best New American Orchestral work.

Ratcliff is Artistic Director of Madrigalia chamber choir, based in Rochester NY, and currently serves as Music Director for Bethany Presbyterian Church. In 2014, he released two albums with the Madrigalia chamber choir which will include his new EE Cummings Madrigals.

He and his wife Marjorie Relin enjoy biking, folk dancing, gardening, traveling, and spending time with their seven grandchildren.

For more information, visit RatcliffMusic.com and EleniTheOpera.com.

Support

Fred Dole

Fred Dole

Joined the RPO in 2012

Fred Dole is currently Section Double Bass in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and also performs with the Richmond Symphony, Virginia Symphony, and West Virginia Symphony Orchestras, and the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble (ACE), of which he was a founding member. He also has been Professor of Double Bass at Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William and Mary. Previously, he was a freelance musician throughout the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, and has played in numerous orchestras and chamber groups in the area. In 2003, Dole was chosen as a Peabody String Fellow, which allowed him to travel to Singapore to help open the Young Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and to perform with the Singapore Symphony. He received his Masters of Music from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Md., where he studied with Paul Johnson and had additional studies with John Hood and Rob Kesselman. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with Michael Cameron and had additional studies with Catalin Rotaru.

Personnel Manager

Kim Hartquist

Kim Hartquist

Joined the RPO in 1996

Kim Hartquist has just completed her 10th year as Music Librarian for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She is also the Librarian for RPO Principal Pops Conductor, Jeff Tyzik. Born and raised in Rochester, she considers herself extremely fortunate to be librarian for her hometown orchestra. Her librarian experience started in the 7th grade, thanks to a teacher who saw an organized student, and continued throughout grade school and into college. With a bachelor's degree in music education/trombone from SUNY Fredonia, Hartquist went on to teach briefly before finding her true calling as Music Librarian for the RPO.

Adventures along the way also include working at various music stores selling everything from instruments to print music, and years of experience as a professional music copyist. Hartquist is also an active member of the Major Orchestra Librarians' Association (MOLA). In her spare time, you can find her kayaking or hiking while searching for interesting birds.

Principal Librarian

David Zaccaria

Stage Manager

Deirdre Street

Assistant Stage Manager