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ROCHESTER PHILHARMONIC LEAGUE PRESENTS: 2017 Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners




For Immediate Release:  June 26, 2017

Media Contact:   Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, [email protected]


RPL Info &,; Eileen Ramos, [email protected], 585-455-7723













2017 Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners

Six area teenage award winners to perform in a free concert at Kilbourn Hall July 9


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic League (RPL) will host its ninth annual Young Artists in Concert: A Celebration of Winners on Sunday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs St.). The concert will feature six talented award winners from the 2017 Young Artist Auditions (YAA), which were held on March 12th:  Raymond Feng (piano), Isabella Lau (trombone), Mark Mitrano (tenor), Samuel Nitsch (violin), Jazmine Saunders (soprano), and Adriana Scalice (mezzo soprano). Eastman Community Music School Percussion Instructor/Chair Ruth Cahn will emcee the event, and a public reception will follow the recital. More about the young performers:


Raymond Feng, who will be a junior at Pittsford Sutherland, has been a top prizewinner of international and national competitions since the age of nine. He has been awarded first prizes in Thousand Islands Chopin International, MTNA Eastern Division Junior Piano Performance, and Claudette Sorel Piano Competition, among others. This year, Raymond received the RPL’s Mildred and Julius Ness Award for Piano and the Aldridge-Tinker Scholarship for Instrumentalists. As a piano soloist, he has been featured with orchestras from the United States to Europe, including Ashdod Symphony in Italy, Mercury Orchestra in Boston, MYA Symphony in Chicago, Genesee Symphony, Ithaca College Symphony, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and more. Raymond appeared on NPR’s From the Top with the RPO under the baton of Ward Stare, and was selected as a Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation in 2016. He is a pupil of Elier Suarez. Playing violin in youth orchestras, competing at USA Math Olympiad, and playing tennis are among his interests.


Isabella Lau has a love for music that began in elementary school after hearing a close family friend perform on the trombone. The more she listened, the more she wanted to be involved in music. Now playing in several chamber ensembles, county and state music festivals, jazz orchestras, and bands at school and in the community, Isabella can be found nearly everywhere with her trombone in hand. She recently won the Helen and George Greer Instrumental Award at the RPL’s 2017 Young Artist Auditions, and will attend the New York State Summer School of the Art’s School of Orchestral Studies. Outside of music, Isabella also enjoys volunteering with the Mendon Fire Department as an Explorer. This fall, Isabella will begin her senior year at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School, as well as continuing her trombone studies with Mark Kellogg and pursuing a Pre-Collegiate Diploma at the Eastman Community Music School.


Mark Mitrano will be a senior this fall at Greece Athena High School. He is a high honor roll student and was recently inducted into the National Honor Society.  Mark is a member of the Show Choir and Select Choir and takes vocal lessons from Kathryn Dyer, piano from Wendy Henrickson and Alison Cuchiarale, and dances at A Touch of Dance. Previous roles include Les Miserables (Jean Valjean), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy Smith), Anything Goes (Billy Crocker), Mary Poppins (Bert), and  Forever Plaid (Jinx). Mark was this year’s winner of RPL’s Nobel Hirsch Award for Male Vocalists and the Jan DeGaetani Scholarship for Vocalists. Other awards include National Young Arts Foundation Winner in Theatre 2017, National High School Musical Theatre Awards Best Vocalist 2016, Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s Stars of Tomorrow Best Actor 2016, and Rochester Lyric Opera Vocal Competition winner in the Musical Theatre division 2015. 


(Rochester Philharmonic Leagues Presents 2017 Young Artists in Concert, pg. 2)


Samuel Nitsch, who just finished his senior year at Penfield High School, has been playing the violin since he joined the Suzuki program at the age of six. Sam has held many prestigious positions including the concertmaster of both the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Conference All-State String Orchestra, as well as participating in many chamber ensembles and summer festivals. He is the runner-up for the Ruth & Sidney Salzman Award for Strings at RPL’s 2017 Young Artist Auditions, and has studied with Nancy Hunt and Shannon Nance. In addition to playing violin, Sam is a well-established singer-songwriter playing piano, guitar, and ukulele. From performing countless gigs, to releasing two CDs of original work, Sam has created a strong name for himself in the Rochester music scene and performed at the 2017 Rochester Music Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony in Kodak Hall. Next year, he’ll attend Berklee School of Music in Boston, majoring in songwriting and violin performance. In his free time, Sam enjoys playing baseball and fishing. 


Jazmine Saunders is the winner of the Tessa Martin Award for Female Vocalists in the 2017 RPL Young Artist Auditions in her first vocal competition. Jazmine will be a senior at Greece Odyssey Academy where she sings soprano in Select Choir, Mixed Choir, and plays in the Symphonic Band (clarinet). She is coached by Rena Monti and Joseph Borelli, and has been in NYSSMA’s 2016 Area All-State and Conference All-State mixed choirs. She has participated in NYSSMA’s All-County choirs for the past three years, and sang in NAFME’s 2017 All-Eastern Mixed Choir. Jasmine has been involved in Odyssey’s musicals since sixth grade, most recently playing the role of Joice Heath in Barnum. Another favorite role was Little Inez in A Touch of Dance’s production of Hairspray Jr. In 2018, Jasmine intends to go to college to major in Vocal Performance. 


Adriana Scalice, who will be a senior at Penfield High School, was runner-up for the Tessa Martin Award for Female Vocalists in RPL’s 2017 Young Artist Auditions. She is honored to have been named a national finalist in the 2017 American Songbook Academy, and selected for NYSMMA’s Conference All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Adrina participated in Geva Theatre Center’s Summer Academy 2013 and 2014, and has performed in Geva’s A Christmas Carol and The Music Man, and will be in its fall production of In the Heights. She performed in RBTL’s national touring production of The Wizard of Oz (Munchkin) and at Blackfriars Theatre, JCC Center Stage, Pittsford Musicals, and Stageworks Theater. Credits include Dorothy (Wizard of Oz), Little Red (Into the Woods), Annie (Annie), Jacqueline Bouvier (Grey Gardens), and Alice (Alice in Wonderland). Adriana studies voice with Patricia Alexander, dance with Linda Goebel and Deborah MacKay, and plans to pursue a degree in Musical Theatre.


The Rochester Philharmonic League was founded in 1929 to support the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and its members take great pride in the RPL’s rich history and long commitment to the RPO. The League’s activities focus primarily 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. 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. 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.


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