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Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Celebrates 50 Years

Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Celebrates 50 Years

Kicks off Golden Jubilee season with Golden Past on Nov. 20

Followed by Golden Memories, Golden Mentors & Golden Future

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO), founded in 1970, celebrates its belated 50th anniversary this season, after the COVID pandemic prevented its commemoration in 2020-21 and again in 2021-22. The festive music-making, however, will most certainly be worth the wait.

To kick off its Golden Jubilee season, the RPYO will look back at its Golden Past on Sunday, November 20, 2022, at 7:30 PM at Hochstein Performance Hall (50 North Plymouth Ave., 14614). That opening concert features two RPYO alumni, Annie Jacob-Perkins (cello) and Dylan Kennedy (violin), who will return to Rochester (from Austin, TX and Berlin respectively) to perform Brahms Double Concerto in A minor. Also on the program, led by RPYO Music Director Dr. James Mick, is Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor. Tickets are $10 for adults/$5 for students, and a reception immediately follows the concert.

“These incredibly talented and hardworking student musicians represent more than thirty schools in the greater Rochester area,” says Maestro Mick, who’s also on the faculty at Ithaca College School of Music. “We’re all very excited to celebrate this organization’s past, present, and future accomplishments with families, friends, alumni, and the community as a whole.”

The festivities will continue with Golden Memories, an alumni reunion event on Monday, December 26, 2022, from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM at Temple B’rith Kodesh (2131 Elmwood Ave., 14604). Alumni of any playing level can rehearse with former, longtime RPYO Music Director Dr. David Harmon as well as Dr. Mick, and a 2:30 PM read-through is free and open to the public. RPYO alums should email [email protected] for more information.

The annual Side-by-Side Concert with the RPO – called Golden Mentors this season – returns to Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on March 5, 2023, at 3 PM, and the celebratory season will culminate with a look towards the RPYO’s Golden Future in May. More information about both concerts will be forthcoming.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate this wonderful orchestra’s 50-year history, and we look forward to the next 50 years of helping young people achieve success – whether in music or another field altogether,” says Barbara Brown, the RPO’s Lisk Morris Foundation Director of Education Chair.

More about the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra: Since 1970, more than 2,100 of the Rochester area’s most talented musicians in grades 8-12 have experienced the challenges and rewards of learning symphonic masterworks while playing in the RPYO. They are admitted through highly competitive auditions each spring and devote themselves throughout the school year to weekly rehearsals, coaching by RPO musicians, an annual Side-by-Side Concert with the RPO, concerts in Rochester’s major performance halls, and periodic trips or other special activities (including performing at Carnegie Hall in 2013 and 2017 and the Kennedy Center in 2020). In the process, RPYO members build excellent musical skills but also develop lifelong habits of teamwork, diligence, responsibility, a dedication to excellence, and a life-long love of music-making. A program of the RPO’s Education Department, six RPYO alumni currently perform with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. More than 200 of them have performed in professional music ensembles, including other major symphony orchestras. Many others perform in semi-professional and community groups in diverse musical genres. Hundreds have become dedicated music educators (more than 30 in Rochester area schools), as well as composers, conductors, and arts administrators. The RPYO has had four music directors: Howard Weiss, then concertmaster of the RPO, served as its founding music director from 1970-1989. Darryl One followed as RPYO music director and resident conductor of the RPO from 1990-1993. David Harman retired in 2014 following a distinguished tenure of twenty-one years as the RPYO’s third music director. In 2015, James Mick was appointed its fourth music director.

ABOUT THE RPO: The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its origins 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. Music Director Andreas Delfs joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Mark Elder, Ward Stare, and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, now in his 29th season, has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his tenure with the RPO. The RPO reaches more than 15,000 youth through its specific education programs.

Media please note: High-resolution images and other media assets for the RPYO can be found at Interviews and photo/footage opportunities are also available.