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ROCHESTER PHILHARMONIC LEAGUE PRESENTS: 2016 Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners

For Immediate Release:  July 1, 2015
Media Contacts:  Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795,


2016 Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners
Five YAA award winners to perform in a free concert in Hatch Hall July 10


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL) will host its eighth annual Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners on Sunday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Eastman School of Music’s Hatch Hall (433 East Main Street). The concert will feature five talented award winners from the 2016 Young Artist Auditions (YAA):  Anna Miller (flute), Samuel Nitsch (violin), Tessa Spencer (soprano), McKena Stickney (piccolo), and Jarod Yap (piano). The concert is free, but seating is limited; call (585) 399-3654 to reserve seats as soon as possible. A reception will follow the recital.

More about the young performers:

  • Anna Miller just graduated from Spencerport High School, and was chosen as the 2016 YAA runner-up for the Helen and George Greer Instrumental Award. A member of the flute section of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Krusentjerna Flute Choir at Eastman Community Music School (ECMS), Anna studies flute under Sophia Gibbs Kim at ECMS. In August, she’ll attend the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music to pursue a music performance degree. 
  • Samuel Nitsch, who just finished his junior year at Penfield High School, has been playing the violin since he joined the Suzuki program at age six. Since then, he has studied with RPO violinists Nancy Hunt and Shannon Nance. Sam is the runner-up for the Ruth and Sidney Salzman Award for Strings at RPL’s 2016 Young Artist Auditions, and has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for 3 years, for which he serves as concertmaster. Recently he was awarded concertmaster of the New York Conference All State String Orchestra.
  • Tessa Spencer, who will be entering her senior year at Greece Odyssey Academy, was thrilled to win the 2016 YAA Tessa Martin Award for Female Vocalists and the Jan DeGaetani Scholarship for Vocalists. A soprano, Tessa is a member of the Greece Odyssey Mixed Choir and Select Chorus. She studies voice with her director, Joseph Borrelli, and with her private teacher, Rena Monti. She has participated in numerous NYSSMA solo festivals and in several All County and Area All State events for both voice and French horn. She sang with the RPO Holiday Pops choir.
  • McKena Stickney received RPL’s 2016 YAA Honorable Mention for the Helen and George Greer Instrumental Award. A member of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Hochstein Scholarship Flute Quartet, McKena has studied flute with Jennifer Trimble Ford for the past five years. She held the position of principal flute last year at the Fredonia Summer Music Festival and was chosen as piccoloist at the MCSMA and NYSSMA Festivals for the last two years. She has just finished her sophomore at Eastridge High School.
  • Jarod Yap, a rising senior at Clarence High School in Clarence, NY, plays both piano and violin. He was chosen as Runner-up for the Mildred and Julius Ness Award for Piano at RPL’s 2016 YAA.  Jarod holds the ARCT Piano Performance degree from Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto (RCM), and was a finalist in the American Prize High School Division for Solo Piano Performance. He won the Ithaca College Concerto Competition and performed with its orchestra, and will perform with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra after winning its Young Artist Competition. Jarod is a piano student of Mary Handley and a violin student of Andrea Cone.

More about the Rochester Philharmonic League’s Young Artist Auditions: The Rochester Philharmonic League was founded in 1929 as a support group for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Members take great pride in the RPL’s rich history and long commitment to the RPO. The League’s activities focus especially on educating young people about music and our orchestra, and on fostering the advancement of musical talent of our youth.

The RPL has organized and hosted the Young Artist Auditions since 1955. This prestigious competition for high school-age musicians recognizes talent and dedication in Male Vocal, Female Vocal, Strings, Piano, and Instrumental categories. The YAA is judged by professionals in each field, with Awards of $500 given for each classification. The five final winners compete for a Special Award, an opportunity to audition to perform with the RPO. In addition, a $1,000 Instrumental Scholarship and a $1000 Vocal Scholarship are awarded to two outstanding student musicians.

For the past several years, the RPL has presented its most recent YAA winners in recital, Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners. In addition to showcasing these talented young musicians for the RPL membership and others in the community, it is an honor to recognize their accomplishments and to encourage the advancement of their musical careers.

In 2006, the Rochester Philharmonic League established its 75th Anniversary Endowment fund to provide for the secure future of the Young Artist Auditions. This Fund is managed by the Rochester Area Community Foundation, which is dedicated to the development, preservation and growth of financial resources.

​”The Rochester Philharmonic League is proud to present its eighth annual recital of winners from the Young Artist Auditions held every spring,” says RPL President Eileen Ramos. “For the past 60 years, it has been the mission of the League to support and encourage those young musicians who are among the most highly gifted and accomplished in our area.” 

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Recently appointed 12th Music Director Ward Stare joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 21-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair)—the first position of its kind in the country—the RPO reaches more than 13,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.

Media please note:  Photos are available, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged.