Alumnus Concertmaster For The San Antonio Symphony

Eric Thomas GratzEric Thomas Gratz, NRO alumnus, tells us about his NRO experience and his life since Breckenridge in 2012…

“I cannot emphasize enough how important the NRO was in helping me transition into the professional orchestra world. The intense daily schedule was, of course, physically demanding, but it was the mental strength I developed that proved key in making the past two years successful.

When I left Breckenridge in August of 2012, I was just about to begin working on my master’s degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. I won a place on the Houston Symphony sub list the following month, and began playing frequently with the HSO, while also serving as a rotating concertmaster of the Symphony and Chamber Orchestra at Shepherd.

In the fall of 2013, I decided to take the concertmaster audition for the San Antonio Symphony.  After winning the audition, I played two trial weeks with the Symphony and immediately felt at home. Instead of leaving school, I decided to do double duty of school and work in two different cities, beginning officially with the SAS in January.

It has been quite the journey, but I am pleased to announce that I recently graduated from Rice. And wouldn’t you know, the guest conductor this week in San Antonio is none other than Carl Topilow! We’ve had a great time catching up, and I’m sure our paths will cross many times in the future.”

Eric, thank you for being a part of our NRO alumni family and for sharing your story.  Best of luck and please keep in touch!


Jonathan Recently Won a One-Year Position with the SPCO

Jonathan CohenJonathan Cohen was the  NRO Stage Manager in 2013 and NRO Clarinetist in 2010. Jonathan recently won a one-year position with the SPCO.

Jonathan says, “I am deeply grateful for my summer playing with the NRO. The experience I gained playing in such a high level orchestra in an intense performance schedule directly prepared me for my career as an orchestral clarinetist. Since my summer in Breckenridge, I have completed a Bachelor of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music and a Master of a Music degree at The Juilliard School. I am now ready and excited to take on my role performing with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for the 2014-15 season.”

Thanks for sharing this great news with us, Jonathan, and good luck in your well-deserved new position!

NRO Alumnus Wins Cincinnati Symphony Audition

Pedro FernandezPedro Fernandez, NRO 2013, is the winner of the Cincinnati Symphony section percussion audition. This is a one year appointment so Pedro will put on hold his position as second percussionist with the Houston Ballet Orchestra and his DMA at the University of Miami. Pedro holds degrees from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music studying with Matt Strauss and Svet Stoyanov; and Sam Houston State University, with John Lane.