Behind the Scenes: Jeff Rupert

 G6D9610 1How old were you when you began playing music?

I started playing the alto saxophone when I was ten. I believe I took some piano lessons the year before.

Did you always know you wanted to lead an orchestra? What was your career/education path to get here?

No. I always wanted to play jazz. I did not dream of conducting a jazz band at that time. I knew I always wanted to play music though. When I was 10, I used to turn on recordings of Mozart symphonies and conduct them in the mirror- that was fun. I did not get serious about my musical studies until late in high school. I went to Rutgers, and my roommates were working with Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Machito, (of afro-cuban jazz fame), and Jackie Byard. My classmates had almost as much impact on me as my teachers did.

What is your primary instrument?

The tenor saxophone. I used to do a lot of studio work, playing sax, clarinet, and flute. I've gotten so busy the last twenty years with endeavors performing as a jazz saxophonist that I've had to put aside the flute and clarinet. I play a lot of piano, with regard to orchestrating and working on harmony and melody for improvisation. My mom's side of the family were violinists. I have a Tirolian fiddle that has been in my family since the early 1800's. I play it a little as a reference for composing and arranging for the orchestra, or string ensembles. I also think of a band as my instrument. I've produced about thirty albums now, and enjoy that a lot.

What's the best advice you received when you were a young musician?

To study something I love, but to accept that few people make a living in their field of study. This person went on to say that it was important to get a degree, and if it was in music, that that was OK, too, but to accept that going to school was primarily about "learning how to learn".

What advice would you give FSYO students, or young people thinking of auditioning for FSYO?

The students that do the best are the ones who don't get nervous, and those that are calm are the ones that practiced diligently before an audition. The hardest part for any musician is the individual time practicing. If the arduous time for a musician is the performance or audition itself, that simply reveals that they needed to put more emphasis on constructive individual work in the practice room. Keep that in mind when you are working on your playing. I always say, " plan your work, and work your plan".

If you weren't a conductor, what career would you want to try?

I've been playing music professionally since I was 15 years old; that's 38 years, now. If I didn't do this, I'm not sure what I would have done. I never really thought about doing anything else. I might have pursued designing sailboat hulls, have been involved in some other maritime engineering. My father was a vice president of a multinational corporation. In hindsight, I think I would have had some satisfaction with a career in business had I not pursued music. My dad passed away recently, but he always thought I had good business acumen, and that I worked hard primarily because I was doing things I loved. It's important to remember that even if you are doing what you love, it's still going to be hard! You may as well do something then, that you love.

University of Florida's Dr. Raymond Chobaz visits FSYO

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FSYO's Symphonic Orchestra with Dr. Chobaz

Dr. Chobaz gave a full three-hour rehearsal with the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra in Orlando on Sunday, November 5, 2017. During rehearsal, FSYO"s Symphonic Orchestra worked on Camille Saint-Saëns's Symphony No. 3

About Dr. Chobaz: Raymond Chobaz, Professor of Music and Conductor Laureate of the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra, has been music director and conductor of the University of Florida Symphony Orchestra since 1982 and the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra from its inception in 1983 to 2001. He studied at the Basel Conservatory and Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Switzerland, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree summa cum laude in music theory. As an International Rotary Scholar at the University of Utah he received both a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting under Joseph Rosenstock and a Ph.D. in music composition and electronic music under Vladimir Ussachevsky. Further studies allowed him to work with Herbert Blomstedt in San Francisco, Kyrill Kondrashin in Amsterdam, Raphael Kubelik in Lucerne, Erich Leinsdorf in New York City, Witold Rowicki in Vienna, and Georg Tintner in Prague. Additional training in contemporary music interpretation he acquired from Pierre Boulez in Paris and Arthur Weisberg in New York City.

BRUNDIBAR Wrap Up - Sounds of Hope and Resistance


Brundibar Promo
On November 2, 2017, the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center was able to fulfill a seemingly unattainable dream of hosting Brundibar which has been a project for over a decade and a half. They were able to achieve this dream with the help of Opera Orlando and several of our own students from our Symphonic Orchestra. Maestro Hanrich Claassen was gracious enough to serve as Music Director for this performance, as well as conduct a performance of Vedem by composer Lori Laitman
 
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FSYO's Music Director, Hanrich Claassen Vedem pictured Lori Laitman 
 
“Never forget! What an honor for FSYO to have played a small part in keeping the memory alive of the many lives lost during the Holocaust! We loved being part of the recent production of Brundibar and Vedem presented by the Holocaust Center in a collaboration with FSYO and members of the Opera Orlando Youth company.” - Hanrich Claassen, Music Director, and Symphonic Orchestra Conductor.
 
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FSYO students featured in Brundibar
 
We are incredibly proud of our students who performed in this show this year. We felt that this performance gave our students an opportunity to experience such an emotional time for so many people in our community and throughout the world. Music Director Claassen adds that in times such as these, he always thinks of the Leonard Berstein quote, “This must be the mission of every man of goodwill: to insist, unflaggingly, at risk of becoming a repetitive bore, but to insist on the achievement of a world in which the mind will have triumphed over violence. This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
 

FSYO Hosts Annual Concerto Competition Finalists' Recital

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ORLANDO, FL - On Saturday, November 18, 2017, Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras will present its 2017-2018 Annual Concerto Competition Finalists' recital. Showcasing the talent and skill of eight finalists, the adjudicated competition gives students the opportunity to hone their skills as a soloist. At the conclusion of the concert, two winners will be announced who will perform the concerto of their choice with full accompaniment from the FSYO Symphonic Orchestra later this season. All members of the Jazz Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and Symphonic Orchestra, the more advanced ensembles of FSYO, are eligible to participate in the Concerto Competition.

Previous winners have gone on to study at Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, The Boston Conservatory, among other prestigious institutions. The experience of performing at the November recital, supported by a piano reduction of the orchestral parts, has proven to be invaluable to the young artists' growth.

The 2017-2018 Concerto Competition finalists are, in alphabetical order:

  • Jesse Fei, violin: Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47, Mvt. I - J. Sibelius
  • Trevor Gehman, trumpet: Trumpet Concerto in Eb Major, Mvt. I - J. Haydn
  • Anna Horzen, violin: Violin Concerto in G minor, Mvt. I - S. Prokofiev
  • Alexander Keiser, trumpet: Concerto in Eb, Mvt. I - J. Neruda
  • Alex Koller, viola: Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Sz. 120, BB 128, Mvt. I - B. Bartok
  • Alexa Lang, violin: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26, Mvt. I - M. Bruch
  • Curtis Shugart, cello: Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 49, Mvt. III - D. Kabalevsky
  • Selina Xu, cello: Concerto No. 1 in A minor, op. 33 - C. Saint-Saëns

The recital begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Montverde Academy Sandra O. Stephens Auditorium - 17235 7th St, Montverde, FL 34756. Don't miss the opportunity to hear some of the most talented student musicians in Central Florida! Free admission for all! Please visit www.fsyo.org for more information.

ABOUT FSYO: Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras exists to encourage children and young adults, through the practice and performance of orchestral music, to become passionate leaders, thinkers, and contributors in their local community and beyond. In its 61st Concert Season, FSYO comprises three full orchestras, one string training orchestra, an advanced chamber ensemble, and a new jazz orchestra made up of more than 250 students from nine Central Florida counties. Programs are sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Orlando Utilities Commission; The City of Orlando, Mayor's Matching Grant; and United Arts of Central Florida. We thank these groups for their generous support.

Learn more: web: www.fsyo.org | FB: @TheFSYO | Twitter: @FSYO | IG: @F_S_Y_O | Youtube: @fsyo

61st Season Opener Wrap-Up

Sunday, October 15, 2017, was a joyful day as we opened our 61st Season with a concert at the historic Bob Carr Theater.

The opener started with Overture Strings who performed four pieces, one of which was Hunting the Wild Beast, followed by our Prelude Orchestra that played three pieces, with their last being Slavonic Dance No. 1, Op. 46, and then our Philharmonia Orchestra who performed Hungarian Dance No. 5 along with two other pieces. Then we introduced our brand new Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Jeff Rupert, playing various pieces such as Spider-Man, Night Train, and I Can’t Stop Loving You.

We were pleased to feature guest artist Thomas Potter (Baritone) as he performed Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) accompanied by the FSYO Symphonic Orchestra. This moment was a highlight for several students as they were able to play with someone who has made a career out of being a musician. They then wrapped up the concert with Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suite. The concert was capped with a cupcake reception provided by JillyCakes to celebrate the success of the students thus far.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Parks Neel

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FSYO Host 61st Season Opener, Featured Artist Thomas Potter

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2017-18 FSYO Poster Opening webORLANDO, FL – On Sunday, October 15, 2017, at 4:00 pm, Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras will astonish the public with the first concert of its 61st Season at the historic Bob Carr Theater, located at 401 W. Livingston St.

Featured guest artist Thomas Potter (Baritone) will perform Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) accompanied by the FSYO Symphonic Orchestra. This concert will also feature the inaugural performance of FSYO's new Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Jeff Rupert.

With over 30 years of experience as a professional opera singer, Thomas Potter has shared the stage with great artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Deborah Voigt, to name a few. As the director of UCF Opera, Potter collaborated with FSYO last season to bring to life an interactive version of Act II of Die Fledermaus, which wowed audiences at FSYO's Opera Gala. He is also a long time supporter and an Alumni parent of FSYO.

Tickets for this season subscription concert and to all other 61st season performances can be purchased on the FSYO website (www.fsyo.org) and at the door. Ticket prices for this concert range from $10 to $20. Florida academic and private teachers receive free admission to all FSYO season subscription concerts. This is one that you do not want to miss!

About FSYO: Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras exists to encourage children and young adults, through the practice and performance of orchestral music, to become passionate leaders, thinkers, and contributors in their local community and beyond. In its 61st Concert Season, FSYO comprises three full orchestras, one string training orchestra, an advanced chamber ensemble, and a new jazz orchestra made up of more than 250 students from nine Central Florida counties. Programs are sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Orlando Utilities Commission; The City of Orlando, Mayor's Matching Grant; and United Arts of Central Florida. We thank these groups for their generous support.

Learn more: web: www.fsyo.org | FB: @TheFSYO | Twitter: @FSYO | IG: @F_S_Y_O | Youtube: @fsyo

 

Th PotterAbout Thomas Potter: With over 30 years of experience as a professional opera singer, Verdi baritone and seasoned voice instructor Thomas Potter has shared the stage with great artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, Kurt Moll, Dolora Zajick, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Deborah Voigt, to mention a few. A graduate of Indiana University, where his voice teachers were Signor Nicola Rossi-Lemeni and Madame Virginia Zeani, Potter began his professional career with a multi-year contract at the San Francisco Opera, then, after several years in New York, he found himself singing opera throughout Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.

Thomas has sung leading roles with numerous International music festivals, including the Spoleto Music Festival in both Italy and the USA venues, the Ravenna (Italy) Music Festival, the Bregenzer (Austria) Festspiele, the La Biennale Festival in Venice, Italy, and the Festival de Inverno - Campos do Jordão in Brazil.

A few of the opera companies with which Potter has performed include the Teatro Comunale 'Giuseppe Verdi'; in
Trieste, Palm Beach Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Cordoba, Opera São Paulo, Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg, Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, Atlanta Opera, Utah Opera, Orlando Opera, and Indianapolis Opera.

As a winner of the Luciano Pavarotti International Vocal Competition in Philadelphia Potter was awarded the opportunity to sing alongside Mr. Pavarotti in the resulting production of Verdi's opera UN BALLO IN MASCHERA. In 1992 he was a recipient of a study grant from the Licia Albanese - Puccini Foundation. From 1994 to 2000, Mr. Potter was engaged by the Stadttheater St. Gallen in Switzerland, singing the roles of "Scarpia" in TOSCA, "Jochanaan" in SALOME, "Alfio" in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, "Ezio" in ATTILA, "Amonasro" in AIDA, and "Giorgio Germont" in LA TRAVIATA, among others.

Following the birth of their son, he and his wife, soprano Kimberly S. Randall, decided to move back to the United States to begin new careers as university professors. Mr. Potter taught for five years in Indiana before joining the University of Central Florida in August of 2005, where he currently directs the UCF Opera program and teaches undergraduate and graduate level voice lessons.

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras | (407) 999-7800 | info@fsyo.org

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is supported in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.

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