Young-musician program teams ESM, RPO

The Eastman School and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra are partners in a new program that broadens professional performing opportunities for top young musicians, while adding ranks to the RPO's player roster.

The Orchestral Studies Program in Strings, which begins in the fall, will offer advantages to both organizations. In addition to studying with Eastman faculty, graduate students who qualify as Orchestral Fellows will play in select concerts with the Philharmonic, gaining professional experience. They'll also learn about the administrative challenges that professional orchestras face in building audiences and attracting financial support.

"We at Eastman look forward to increasing opportunities for all with this new partnership," said Douglas Dempster, ESM associate director for academic affairs.

Ramon Ricker--RPO member, Eastman professor of saxophone, and director of the Orchestral Studies Program--noted that today's orchestral training programs need to focus on performing plus leadership and problem-solving skills. The Orchestral Studies Program will do both, and can serve as a new model for orchestral preparation and orchestral audience development, say ESM and RPO officials.

Among the program's objectives: 1) to begin accepting applications this spring, with enrollment initially limited to six to eight string performers; 2) provide on-the-job training with the RPO; 3) be open to applicants with at least a bachelor of music degree; 4) offer courses with ESM faculty and practical experience in administrative issues; and 5) offer a certificate in Orchestral Studies that can be taken with a master's degree or earned on its own.

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