© 2024 WXXI Public Broadcasting, 280 State St. Rochester, NY 14614, (585) 325-7500
Celebrating 50 years on FM 91.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Your RPO welcomes seven new musicians in advance of the orchestra's centennial season

Clockwise from left: Janelle Thompson, Chiao-Wen Cheng, Joshua Newburger
Clockwise from left: Janelle Thompson, Chiao-Wen Cheng, Joshua Newburger

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. The RPO reaches more than 15,000 youth through its specific education programs.

If you haven't been back to the RPO concerts live in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater, now might be a great time to go. Music Director Andreas Delfs is looking forward to new heights of artistic excellence from the orchestra with the addition of these extraordinary musicians.

The new posts are a result of “blind” auditions, meaning that auditioners perform for a panel of judges from behind a partition, so as not to disclose race, gender, or appearance.

As the RPO ramps up before their Centennial season, new musicians include:

Principal Second Violin Jeanelle Thompson, a native of Arizona, made her solo debut with the Phoenix Symphony at the age of 16. In 2016, she received her undergraduate degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was awarded the Dr. Jerome Gross Prize in Violin.

Principal Viola Joshua Newburger – The William L. Gamble Chair earned his Master’s degree in viola from Yale. Most recently, he was assistant principal violist with the Pacific Symphony, and he has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia as a member of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra.

Chiao-Wen Cheng, the new Principal Keyboard, is The Lois P. Lines Chair. She began piano lessons with her aunt at age four and now holds a doctoral degree from the Eastman School of Music, where is currently an Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano.

Violinist Sooyeon Kim, a native of Korea, was most recently Assistant Concertmaster of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Albany Symphony Orchestra. She has held principal positions with the Juilliard Orchestra and the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra, where she earned both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees.

South Korea, violist Yein Son received her Master of Music from Yale and is currently a candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts at Stony Brook University. She has performed at music festivals internationally and domestically, including the Heifetz International Music Festival with full scholarship and the Montecito International Music Festival with fellowship.

Violist Rebecca Christainsen is from Palo Alto, California and graduated from Williams College in 2021, majoring in chemistry and music. While at Williams, Rebecca played in the Berkshire Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Williams, I/O New Music, and the Axxea Quartet.

Sean Marron, currently a student at the Eastman School of Music, is the RPO’s new Second Flute and Piccolo. In 2022, Sean attended the Aspen Music Festival, where he was a finalist in the woodwind concerto competition and was invited to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its origins in 1922.