Joined Hochstein Faculty: 2022
Bassist Eric J. Polenik has been a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005 and performed on the orchestra’s Grammy winning album, American Rapture. Polenik fell in love with classical music after hearing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for the first time in a high school general music class. Drawn to the low sounds of the double bass, Polenik began learning to play the instrument at age 16 and, four years later, performed the symphony with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra as its Principal Bassist.
Polenik is a member of the ensemble fivebyfive, a mixed-quintet dedicated to promoting new music and collaboration. The award-winning ensemble is regularly featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today, as well as on WXXI’s Backstage Pass and Live From Hochstein. Of and Between, the group’s debut album, has been featured on radio and streaming programs throughout the world including I Care If You Listen.
Polenik came to Rochester earning a Master in Music degree from Eastman School of Music after earning his Bachelor of Music from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Polenik regularly performs with many ensembles in upstate New York including the Buffalo Philharmonic, Slee Sinfonietta at University of Buffalo, Rochester Oratorio Society, and Finger Lakes Opera, and was a member of the eclectic string chamber group Gibbs and Main.
As an educator, Polenik’s mission is to foster a partnership with each student that leads to fast growth through critical thinking, sensory awareness, imagination, and joy. A passionate person, Polenik loves to smile, encourage others, ride motorcycles, disc golf, and play with Ellie the cat. He’s most content practicing the bass!
Find out more about Eric and his various projects at https://www.ericjpolenik.com.
Photo by Robert Cooper.