Penn State University freshman Daniel Friedland of York Township and Rose Crosset of Springettsbury Township both play violin in the school’s main
Penn State University freshman Daniel Friedland of York Township and Rose Crosset of Springettsbury Township both play violin in the school's main campus chamber and philharmonic orchestras. (Bill Kalina)

Rose Crosset could have been nervous when she joined the Penn State Chamber Orchestra at the university's main campus this year.

After all, she was one of three freshmen to earn a spot on one of the campus' most selective musical groups. But instead, she did what she's done since the age of 4: She picked up her bow and violin.

"I didn't really know what else to do," Crosset said. "I just started playing."

Crosset and fellow York County graduate Daniel Friedland earned spots on the orchestra by impressing conductor Gerardo Edelstein, director of orchestral studies at the university.

Friedland also plays the violin, and Edelstein selected both of them to play in the chamber orchestra. Edelstein also selected them for the philharmonic orchestra, a group of about 90 musicians.

Edelstein said the chamber orchestra has become more of a "premier" group during his 13 years at the university. What used to be a group for less-experienced musicians is now composed of about 35 students who are talented enough to play at the Lincoln Center in New York City this February.

A select few: Edelstein perused the list of students in the chamber orchestra, trying to determine how many freshmen are in the group.

"Graduate, graduate, senior, graduate..." he said as he scanned the list.

Edelstein said most musicians in the chamber orchestra are graduate students, but said freshman from strong music areas such as York have a chance to earn a seat.

Crosset graduated from York Suburban High School, and Friedland is an alum of Dallastown.

Friedland said he started to play the violin in third grade after he saw middle school students perform. Right now, Friedland and Crosset are planning to pursuing music majors.

Friedland isn't exactly sure where he wants to end up, as he also has an interest in medicine. But to start out, he knew music would take center stage.

"Violin is the one thing I knew I wanted to do," he said.

Crosset is intent on performing in a professional orchestra following graduation, but can also see herself teaching privately or joining a quartet to supplement that experience.

Study time: The workload for Crosset and Friedland is demanding in order to maintain the level of prestige the chamber orchestra requires.

Crosset said as a music major, she can reserve a practice room for three hours per day, and uses most of the time she's allotted.

"There's always something to improve on," Crosset said.

Crosset added she expects the most growth this year through her private lessons, which she takes for one hour each week with Professor Max Zorin. Zorin also instructs Friedland and fellow freshman Joann Sutyak, a graduate of West York Area High School and a member of Penn State's philharmonic orchestra.

Friedland said last semester he practiced about two hours per day, five or six days a week. But to keep improving he would like to boost that to about three hours a day in the coming months.

The freshmen spent most of winter break practicing, too: The chamber orchestra requirements in the spring only center around the performance at the Lincoln Center, but there is a second round of auditions for spots on the philharmonic orchestra when second semester begins next week.

Crosset said it's a constant rotation of proving herself, but one she welcomes as an aspiring career musician.

-- Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.