July 23, 2016

About OPSO


The Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra was founded over sixty years ago by eight musicians in the living room of Parl Brooks’ home on Clark Street in Orchard Park. With the assistance of the Orchard Park Central School District’s adult education program, the embryonic orchestra retained its first conductor, Joseph Wincenc. The first concert (actually an “open rehearsal”) featured Betty Smith (Mrs. George Smith) as its first solo artist performing the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major.

Joseph Wincenc went on to conduct the Orchestra through its forty-fifth season. During the Wincenc years, the Orchestra flourished and grew, hosting such internationally known artists as Jung-Ja Kim, Charles Castleman, Eugene List, Carroll Glenn, Robert Freeman, Mary Kathleen Earnest, Carol Wincenc and countless others. At the end of the 45th season, Dr. Wincenc laid down his baton and associate conductor, William Staebell, picked up the beat and was appointed conductor and led the Orchestra until its forty-ninth season.

The 50th season for the Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra opened under the musical direction of Dr. David Rudge, Professor of Orchestras and Opera at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Dr. Rudge has continued to develop the Orchestra’s musical ability and has enhanced the Orchestra’s tradition of exceptional quality, both in its musicianship and the solo artists, such as Cathy Cho, Peter Stumpf and Jeremy Denk, who have performed with the Orchestra.

Today the Orchestra numbers some seventy regular musicians and performs four regular season concerts and, in cooperation with the Council for the Arts, opens each season of the Orchard Park Pavilion. An active and dedicated Board of Directors and Women’s Committee whose members volunteer their time and talent performing countless hours of behind-the-scenes work support the Orchestra


Dr. David Rudge, Director of Orchestras and Opera at the State University of New York, and Music Director of the Orchard Park Symphony, has conducted orchestras on five continents to rave reviews. As Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Guatemala he was credited with the dramatic rebirth of that orchestra. Described as “dynamic” and “electric,” Guatemala’s Prensa Libre wrote “it has been many years since we have heard a symphony orchestra play with such inspiration.” Dr. Rudge founded the Eastminster Chamber Orchestra, and was Assistant Conductor of the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Columbia Lyric Opera and Ballet, and the South Carolina Philharmonic. During that time he was noted for his “Bernstein-like intensity” The State, Columbia, SC. He was chosen several times to prepare the Beethoven Chamber Orchestra for the International Workshop for Conductors in ZlÌn, Czech Republic. He has guest conducted the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra in Mariánské Lázne, CR, and, as a two time winner of the International Opera Conductors’ Competition, he was invited to conduct a complete production of Rigoletto at the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic, and to lead the Vratza Philharmonic in Bulgaria. In 1996, as an Artistic Ambassador for the State Department, he spent two months in Damascus, Syria conducting the National Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. He has conducted the Opera and Orchestra at the Rome Festival, Italy, and has guest conducted the Dialecto Urbano Chorus, Caracas, Venezuela, the Giurgiu Philharmonic (Romania), the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, the North Carolina Governor’s School Orchestra, and the Poughkeepsie Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Rudge has worked with some of today’s finest soloists, including Jeremy Denk, David Kim, Larry Combs, Carol Wincenc, Jeffrey Khaner, Gail Williams, Elizabeth Hainen, Jean-Luc Ponty, Mark O’Connor and Yo Yo Ma. His repertoire covers a wide range, including over 20 operas.

Holding degrees from the Hartt School of Music, the University of Houston, and the University of South Carolina, Dr. Rudge has also studied conducting at the Dartington School, England, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Pierre Monteux School, the Aspen Music Festival, the National Conservatory of Romania, and the Conductors Institute with Donald Portnoy and Harold Farberman. He also worked with such notables as Charles Bruck, Max Rudolf, Gunther Schuller, and Maurice Abravanel. Violin study was with Yumi Ninomiya, Jascha Brodsky, Renato Bonacini, and Fredell Lack. Chamber music coaching has been with members of the Curtis, Cleveland, Kolisch, Amadeus, Portland, Razumovsky and Emerson String Quartets. He has also pursued baroque performance practice, as both a violinist and conductor, with the directors and members of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Dr. Rudge has taught at Oklahoma State University, the University of South Carolina, Colby College, the Hartt School of Music and the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies, New York. He has given classes in conducting at the Conservatorio Nacional, Guatemala; the Higher Institute of Music, Damascus, Syria; the National Taiwan Normal University, the ASTA National Conference, and as a faculty member of the Conductor’s Institute at Bard College. He has been coach and guest conductor of the Boston, Columbia, Houston and Costa Rican Youth Orchestras, as well as many student honor-orchestras, such as the New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois All-State Orchestras. Dr. Rudge has played as both a violinist and violist with the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Tulsa Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica Venezuela, Charleston Symphony, Portland Symphony, and the Houston Grand Opera.

He was the first violinist of the Andrea String Quartet, and was invited to perform with the Portland String Quartet in their 25th Anniversary concert. At SUNY-Fredonia he also teaches Free Improvisation, and is the Founder of The Improv. Collective, a unique performing ensemble dedicated to free improvisation for self-expression. He is a member of the teaching staff and Board of Directors of Music for People, an organization that advocates and promotes freely improvised music. Dr. Rudge was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship to return to the Middle East. As a Senior Fellow, he spent the summer months in Egypt conducting the Cairo Opera Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, and the Cairo Opera Chorus, and teaching at the National Conservatoire of Music. The Cairo press called him “a proper maestro. . . grandly expressive.”


James Ieda Nicole McPherson Eric Jeffers
Randy Cole Dorea Holmes Collin Folger
Susan Carlton Ed Katz
Linda Ward PICCOLO
Merry Jeffers Gabrielle Moore
Denise Uhlman TIMPANI
Jillian Beyer OBOE Molly Williams
Sally Schaefer Brenda Small
Carl Lam Laura Buechi HARP
Sharon Valites Cristin Kalinowski
VIOLIN II  Laura Buechi
Barney Colon GUITAR
Vivian Johnston CLARINET Michael Kankiewicz
Linda Dansa Charles Vara
Michael Anton Sciortino Elaine Rappold
Lora Sambora
Maria Czechowski BASSOON
Emily Pavelski Paul Furlong
Lora Sambora Douglas Ward
VIOLA    Larry Deni
Amy Kelly Kara Mayer
Andrea Haas Nathan Barnes
George Herbert
Annette Ieda FRENCH HORN
Codi Bartolucci Michael Ruesch
Dennis Lell Ann Furlong
Julie Robinson
Nan Cobb
CELLO    Mike Robertson
Lynne Ruda
Margaret Beyer TROMBONE
Nanci Bailey Peter Karda
John Bailey Peter Blackwell
Alicia Herbert William Haile
Ann Beck
Ben Rood
Emily Finlan
BASS Fred Lenz
Colin O’Donnell
Teresa Nojaim