Alumna Principal Harpist With Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra

faye seemanHarpist Faye Seeman (NRO 1977) is principal harpist with the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra, and professor of harp studies at both Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University.

On her NRO experience, Faye states, “I was privileged to be a part of the National Repertory Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Topilow. It was a defining experience in my life as a musician, as the harp parts were demanding and we had little time to prepare. Besides the excellent training I received, I made some life-long friendships, something I value as much as the musical opportunity, not to mention the spectacular scenery and adventures that were had in the mountains of Breckenridge! Great memories all around.”

As founder of the “Kithara” flute, cello and harp trio, she has led the group to notoriety through highly successful performances in recitals throughout the Midwest. Faye has distinguished herself as one of the most versatile harpists in the area, often venturing away from playing traditional classical repertoire. She and several well-known jazz musicians in the Chicago area collaborated to establish the “ZigZag” jazz harp quartet (piano, harp, bass and drums), exploring an eclectic blend of jazz, classical and new age styles of music. While together they recorded and produced the CD “Caught”, which features several of Faye’s own compositions, several jazz standards, and free improvisation.

One of her proudest accomplishments is the commission of a concerto for harp and orchestra in memory of her father, violinist and conductor, Ernest Seeman. Noted Chicago composer Gustavo Leone wrote the music which premiered in 2006 at the Birch Creek Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin. Since then the work has been played many times throughout the United States, most recently with the Fox Valley Symphony in Appleton, Wisconsin.

From 2002-2012, Faye was principal harpist of the Joffrey Ballet Chicago. Because of her love of ballet, Faye worked in collaboration with the Wheaton College Orchestra and the Hubbard Street Dance Company to perform a work by William Grant Still for harp and string orchestra, “Ennanga”. In this format, the HSDC choreographed and performed the music, elevating the piece to another level.

During the summers, Faye is on the faculty of the Birch Creek Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin, and is a regular guest clinician and performer at the Midwest Harp Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  As a soloist, she produced and recorded her first solo CD in 2010 at Bastyr University Chapel in Seattle, Washington. The disc features several of her own compositions, along with transcribed favorites.  Faye graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Music Performance degree, and attained a Master of Music Performance degree from Boston University, studying with the legendary harpist Lucile Lawrence.

Read more about Faye Seeman HERE

Alumnus Clarinet With The San Francisco Symphony

Jerome Simas“Looking back over my development as a musician, my summer at National Repertory Orchestra in 1992 was pivotal in helping me make the leap from student to professional musician. It was amazing playing with such a consistently high caliber ensemble and being immersed in the standards of the symphonic repertoire. I also made very good friends during that summer and it is always a pleasure to run into them in professional settings around the US at summer festivals,” says Jerome Simas (NRO alumnus).

His career since then has been quite varied from teaching music in public schools to freelancing with the Bay Area’s wonderful regional orchestras to university and conservatory teaching to winning tenure with the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) as bass and utility clarinet. He is also teaching at the San Francisco Conservatory and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and is active in the San Francisco new music scene as solo clarinetist with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.

Mr. Simas shares, “A rewarding aspect of my work at the SFS has been working as a mentor in their adult education program, Community of Music Makers, in which we offer coaching and concert experiences to adult amateur musicians onstage at Davies Symphony Hall. This is a program I believe very strongly in and I think I get as much out of it as the participants.”

Read more about Jerome Simas HERE

Alumnus Co-Founder of the Tucson Repertory Orchestra

Toru TagawaToru Tagawa attended the NRO as a violinist in 2001.  After his summer in Breckenridge, he won a job with the Arkansas Symphony, where he played in a String Quartet with several other NRO alumni.  

In the summer of 2007, Mr. Tagawa worked as the Ensemble Manager at Interlochen for WYSO (World Youth Symphony Orchestra) under Jung-Ho Pak.  With Jung-Ho Pak’s encouragement, Toru co-started the Interlochen Repertory Orchestra as a conductor.  He also co-founded the Tucson Repertory Orchestra in 2011, where he remains the Music Director and Conductor.  In October he brought the orchestra on it’s first tour of Japan, visiting Hiroshima and Okayama.

Mr. Tagawa says, “The NRO has been the best orchestra experience of my life.  Every musician there wanted to do there best and worked hard at it.  I enjoyed getting to know the players and learning great repertoire with Maestro Topilow.  It is because of the NRO that my orchestra is named Tucson Repertory Orchestra (TRO).” 

Read more about Toru Tagawa HERE
Read more about the TRO HERE

Andrew Raciti Acting Principal at Milwaukee Symphony

Andrew RacitiAndrew Raciti was a member of the NRO in 1996, and principal in 1997. After getting his masters degree at Rice University under the tutelage of Paul Ellison, Andy won a position as Associate Principal Bass with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia.

In 2006 he moved back to the United States to fill the position of Assistant Principal Bass at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.  Three seasons ago Andy became Acting Principal.  In addition to this role, he has taught at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University since 2011 and in the summers plays in the Grand Teton Music Festival.

Over the years he has also performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony, and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. 

Andy shares, “The NRO was my first exposure to the pace and rhythms of a full time orchestral job.  The length of the festival, combined with the immense amount of repertoire, opened my eyes to how much preparation outside of rehearsal is needed to excel in an orchestra.  It gave me a glimpse into what my working life could look like.   For that reason alone it was an incredibly valuable experience.  Getting the chance to play so much of the standard repertoire, much of which I’d have to play in auditions later on, gave great context to the excerpts that we practice for thousands of hours.  There is no substitute for actually playing these pieces in an orchestra, and because I showed up very prepared, the NRO was extremely beneficial.  Not to mention a lot of fun!”

Alumna Enjoys A 37 Year Career As A Professional Cellist

Carole WhitneyAn alumna of the NRO when it was the Colorado Philharmonic located in Evergreen, CO, Carole Whitney was a member of the cello section in 1974.  Already a student at Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, she had carved out a dream to have a job as a member of a symphony orchestra.  “With the number of works we covered in a summer, I was well placed to move forward in my love of the orchestra repertoire,” Carole states.

In 1976 she won a job with the New Jersey Symphony orchestra, and shortly after became the orchestra’s Assistant Principal Cellist for thirty years.  Her career on the east coast also involved chamber music, organizational leadership, and free lancing in New York.  

Carole returned to Colorado to participate in the Aspen Music Festival, and the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder.  She shares, “The energy and beauty of the mountains had taken hold of my soul, and after leaving New Jersey, I came to live in Colorado.”

She has been the Executive Director of the Boulder Bach Festival, and now regularly performs with the Colorado Symphony, the Colorado Bach Ensemble, and Opera Colorado.  Carole remains a tenured member of the cello section of the Santa Fe Opera, where she happily spends each summer. 

Always aspiring to share her love of classical music, she has taught students ages 8-80, coached chamber music, mentored youth symphony participants, and given master classes. 

Read more about her HERE

Alumnus Now With The NY Philharmonic

Richard DeaneRichard Deane is the newly appointed Associate Principal Horn of the New York Philharmonic, joining that orchestra in the fall of 2014 after 28 years as Third Horn of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. While in Atlanta, Richard participated in almost 100 recordings with the orchestra, of which over 20 were Grammy winners. Active as a teacher during his time in the south, he sent dozens of high school students on to every major music school and conservatory in the country. Richard was also Principal Horn of the Brevard Music Festival from 2006 until 2014, and Visiting Professor of Horn at the University of Georgia for that same period. In New York, along with his duties in the Philharmonic, he enjoys concertizing and touring with the orchestra’s Principal Brass Quintet.

In 1985 Richard was a member of the Colorado Philharmonic, which then became the National Repertory Orchestra when he returned for his second summer in 1987.  He states, “My two years with the NRO were maybe the most eye-opening musical experiences I ever had. Playing with that level of committed, amazing musicians was a life changing experience.”

Last fall, Richard moved from suburban spaciousness in Atlanta to a cozy apartment in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife Jill and their two teenage boys (and two cats).

Three NRO Alumni Perform Together At West Point

West Point horn section - Drew Mangus, Nick & Nicole CaluoriPictured from left to right, Nicholas Caluori, Drew Mangus and Nicole (de la Cal) Caluori are all NRO alumni, all are graduates of Southern Methodist University under the tutelage of Gregory Hustis and all currently make up 3/4 of the horn section in the West Point Band.  

Nick (NRO 2005) was first to win a position with the West Point Band as third horn in 2005.  Nicole (NRO 2006 & 2008) was a Tanglewood fellow in 2007 and won her position in the band as principal horn in 2009.  Then Drew (NRO 2013) followed, winning his position as second horn in 2013.

As part of one of the premier bands in the country, this trio has performed with the New York Philharmonic, participated in September 11th performances at the Holy Trinity Church in Manhattan and opened major venues such as Four Freedoms Park in New York City and the Patriot Plaza in Sarasota, Florida.  They have also performed for the President of the United States and, most recently, in a 4th of July concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at West Point. 

Being located only 45 minutes north of New York City allows them the opportunity to perform regularly throughout the tri-state area and the country.  All three perform with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and in different chamber ensembles. Drew has toured extensively in the San Diego area with the West Point Brass Quintet and they are gearing up for a big trip to Salt Lake City.  Nicole is part of the West Point Woodwind Quintet, which has performed at the Shalin Liu Performing Arts Center for the Rockport Music Festival in Rockport, MA.  And, Nick performs with the Academy Brass Quintet, which was recently featured in a Fox News Channel Holiday Special titled, “West Point Holiday.”

Nick speaks for the group when he says, “The three of us agree that our summers at NRO gave us the experience we needed to jump start our professional careers.  What a privilege it is to play in a section with fellow NRO alumni, where we can continue to grow the way we did during our time in Breckenridge.   Our other connection, being former students of Gregory Hustis at SMU, even further strengthens our bond.”

NRO Alumna, Fiona Hughes, A Versatile Performer

Fiona HughesViolinist Fiona Hughes holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Cleveland Institute of Music, and is an Artistic Director of Three Notch’d Road: the Charlottesville Baroque Ensemble (www.tnrbaroque.org) which is now in its fifth season.   She is a versatile performer of both modern and baroque violin, appearing regularly with Mallarmé Chamber Players, Washington Bach Consort, Boston Baroque, Duke Vespers Ensemble, and the Richmond Symphony.  In October 2015 she won a tenure-track audition for Boston’s Handel + Haydn Society, with whom she recently toured California.  Fiona has performed in numerous music festivals, including Banff, Staunton, the National Repertory Orchestra, and Japan’s Pacific Music Festival. Her violin is the ex-Vieuxtemps Claude Pierray (1720 Paris).  

Fiona, who was with the NRO in 2010, states, “NRO was one of the best training experiences I had as a young musician.  The high quality of professional interaction in an orchestral setting was inspiring to all of us.  I have wonderful memories of the Breckenridge community as well, not to mention the beauty of the mountain location!”