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Local Student-Musicians Honored with Awards from Rochester Philharmonic League

Rochester, NY – On Sunday, March 14, more than 30 high school student-musicians who live or study in the nine-county area competed for cash award, scholarships, and recognition in the annual Rochester Philharmonic League’s Young Artist Auditions.  This year’s big winner was flutist Melissa Mashner—a junior from Brighton High School—receiving both the top Special Award as well as the Helen & George Greer Award (the top instrumental prize), for her flute performance.  As the Special Award winner, she also is granted the opportunity to audition for an appearance with the RPO in the future.  Soprano Jena Abati was another double-winner, receiving the Tessa Martin Award and the Jan DeGaetani Scholarship.

Each category winner received a $500 cash award. The two $1,000 scholarships (for vocal and instrumental performance), were awarded to high school seniors who plan to pursue music at an accredited college or university in the 2010-11 school year. The students auditioned for a variety of judges including RPO players, Eastman School of Music faculty members, and Eastman Community Music School teachers as well as professional educators from the Rochester area. The category award winners and their schools are as follows:

• Flutist Melissa Mashner (Special Award and Helen & George Greer Award – Instrumental); junior at Brighton High School
• Violinist Christina Yee (Albright Award – Strings), junior at Pittsford Mendon High School
• Tenor Matthew Swensen (Allen Award –  Male Vocal); junior at Penfield High School
• Soprano Jena Abati (Tessa Martin Award – Female Vocal, and the Jan DeGaetani Scholarship – Vocal); senior at Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, from Lancaster, NY
• Pianist Brian Lai (Ness Award – Piano); senior at Webster-Schroeder High School
• Pianist Joseph Mohan (Aldridge-Tinker Scholarship); senior at Clarence High School

New this year were two Judges’ Recognition for Outstanding Performance awards, given to pianist Brian Lai (Special Award category); and violinist Alexander Styk (Aldridge-Tinker Award category).

The RPL also congratulates the category runners-up, noting a tie in the Albright Award for strings category:
• Violinist Dylan Kennedy (Albright Award tie); sophomore at Victor High School, and
   Double-bassist Louisa Womack (Albright Award tie); home-schooled senior from Brighton
• Baritone Christian Palmer  (Allen Award); senior at Penfield High School
• Mezzo-Soprano Hannah Harrow (Tessa Martin Award); home-schooled junior from Honeoye Falls
• Flutist Victor Wang (Helen & George Greer Award); senior at Webster Thomas High School

The Rochester Philharmonic League was founded in 1929 as a support group for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.  For more than 80 years, the two organizations have worked closely together to further the common goal of providing great music and music education for the community. The League’s activities focus on educating young people about music and about the RPO, and on fostering the advancement of music talent in the community’s youth.