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NRO Alumni Share Their Story of Music and Marriage

CheonhoChristina-115Cheonho Yoon attended NRO in 2011. Since NRO he continued his jobs at West Virginia Symphony as Sub-Principal/2nd Trumpet and Principal Trumpet at Berkeley Symphony. In July 2014, Cheonho won the audition for Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and became a full tenured member in July 2015. Owned by Japan’s biggest newspaper company and ranked as one of the country’s top orchestras, he enjoys playing regular subscription sets in his hometown of Yokohama and Tokyo as well as Japanese National and International European tours.

 ”NRO 2011 was such memorable time for me. I remember I was so busy learning and running on trails. I met my wife that summer but we weren’t really friends then. We became closer when I moved to San Francisco Bay Area from LA for my job with Berkeley Symphony. The intense musical experience at NRO pushed me to another stage in my playing and the pieces I played that summer are still in my internal library. I also met another important person in my life: Pat Spitzmiller. She was my host mom and we got along so well immediately. Our friendship grew through the years. Christina and I visited one winter to ski. She attended our wedding on August 8th as my “American Mom.” She is an adventurous, generous and caring lady and I am always inspired by her. I got so many treasures from NRO.”

Violinist Christina Knudson attended NRO in 2011 and 2012. Since graduating from San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2012 with her Professional Studies Certificate she has enjoyed a diverse freelance teaching and performing career in the San Francisco Bay Area. She continues to hold contracts with Bay Area regional orchestras while beginning her new life in Tokyo this November 2015. Upon her arrival in Japan she hopes to continue bringing music to audiences through solo and chamber music recitals and orchestral playing.

NRO has impacted her life musically, socially and physically. Just months after the festival ended, she won her first contract with Stockton Symphony. NRO was an invaluable learning experience which has helped her ever-growing freelance orchestral career.   Inspired by the mountains and Colorado beauty, she discovered a strong passion for running and the outdoors while at NRO. Topilow’s mantra “arrive alive” sometimes became the theme of an early morning pre-rehearsal adventure that has carried on today even while driving to a “gig.” Through the outdoors she met her husband Cheonho Yoon, on a short hike at McCullough Gluch. Their relationship began two years later based on a strong love for music, running and hiking that has blossomed into the beginning of a life long partnership.

Cheonho and Christina would like to thank Carl Topilow and his team for providing such a wonderful learning experience in one of the most beautiful places in the world!