Rochester, NY – The winners of Saturday’s annual Rochester Philharmonic League Young Artist Auditions have been announced, and the top prize (Special Award) has gone to pianist Benjamin Hopkins, a senior at the School of the Arts and a resident of the City of Rochester. Competing for the Special Award were all the top prizewinners in five individual categories. Hopkins won the top prize in two categories: the Ness Award for piano and the Aldridge-Tinker Instrumental Scholarship.
As a result of winning the Special Award, Mr. Hopkins will have the opportunity to audition for one of the RPO conductors for a chance to perform with the RPO at a future date. Hopkins studies with pianist Brian Preston. The other multiple winner was baritone Kyle Sackett from Webster, who received both the male vocal award and the vocal scholarship.
More than 45 high school students from the nine-county area 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. Five cash awards of $500 were given to the top winners in each category, with two $1000 scholarships (vocal and instrumental) presented to high school seniors who plan to major in music at an accredited college or university in the upcoming 2008-09 academic year. The category award winners and their schools are as follows:
- Soprano Bridget Casey; Mercy High School junior from Pittsford (Deverian Award – Female Vocal)
- Pianist Benjamin Hopkins; School of the Arts senior from Rochester (Special Award, Ness Award – Piano and Aldridge-Tinker Scholarship – Instrumental)
- Baritone Kyle Sackett; Webster Thomas High School senior (Allen Award – Male Vocal and Jan DeGaetani Scholarship – Vocal)
- Trumpeter Demian Spindler; Allendale-Columbia School sophomore from Rochester (Greer Award – Instrumental)
- Violinist Alexander Styk; Pittsford Mendon High School sophomore (Albright Award -Strings)
The RPL also congratulates the category runners-up:
- violinist Francesca Fetten, junior from Pittsford (Albright)
- pianist Andrew Hawk, senior from Livonia (Ness)
- flutist Katrina King, home-schooled sophomore from Marion (Greer)
- bass Miles Ludek, senior from Greece (Allen)
- mezzo-soprano Julia Natoli, senior from Penfield (Deverian)
The RPL has supported the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 75 years. Today, League members support many activities including RPO education and community programs.
NOTE: Digital Photos of the winners are available.