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NRO Announces New Board Member

Melanie FrankMelanie Frank, born in Denver and raised on the Colorado front-range, received her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Northern Colorado with a major in human communication and a minor in French.  Melanie married her best friend Marty, whom she has known since the age of eleven. 

Melanie and Marty moved to Summit County in 2001 to raise their family and enjoy the beauty and nature of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. With their two sons, they enjoy travel and introducing them to new cultures. Both boys currently attend Vail Mountain School, where there is a strong focus on the arts, music, theater and growing young global citizens.

Melanie joined the LIV Sotheby’s International Realty Family in June 2014. As Vice President of Business and Professional Development, Melanie will help introduce the company and grow the mountain region.  Working closely with the leadership teams in all 10 statewide locations and the Sotheby’s International Realty Corporate team, Melanie will provide brokers with the skills necessary to offer luxury customer service with a global reach and a local footprint.  As the Managing Broker of Summit County, Melanie helped open the brand new Breckenridge location at the corner of Main Street and Ski Hill Road in the historic Theobald Building built in 1880.

Melanie is also helping build the company’s commitment to and involvement in the community.  By introducing the NRO to expanded audiences, she hopes this arts organization will continue to complement and enhance the Breckenridge resort community for years to come.

Eric Gratz’s Debut Album Recently Released

Eric Gratz album coverShortly after attending the NRO as co-concertmaster in 2012, Eric Gratz became concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony, a post he assumed at only 22 years old, ending the orchestra’s seven year search to fill the vacancy.

Mr. Gratz states, “My summer at NRO was transformational. The support I got from such wonderful and talented colleagues, as well as being dropped into the proverbial deep end in terms of repertoire and responsibility, was absolutely instrumental in helping me become an artist. I wouldn’t have the experience, positivity, and confidence to be successful in this world without that summer.”

In his eponymous debut album, he performs some of his favorite recital works, brilliantly accompanied by pianist Euntaek Kim. The program’s eclecticism reflects Gratz’s endless tonal palette, as well as his ability to make even the most fiendishly difficult passages sound easy. “I figured it was time to share what I have to say in these treasures of the virtuoso repertoire,” says Gratz.

Praised as “eloquent” (Dallas Morning News), he has performed as soloist for over a decade on three continents, and consistently proves that despite his young age, he has already developed a mature musical voice:

“Spellbinding. . . a disciplined musician beyond his years.”
-San Antonio Express-News
“[A] natural authority. . . His playing is impeccable.”
-Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Opus 3 Artist (Conductor)

Gratz recorded the album in Mixon Hall at his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Music. He used the “ex-Isaac Stern” Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin for the recording, on loan from Chicago firm Kenneth Warren & Son. Born in Fresno, CA in 1991, he studied with Cynthia Stuart and Claudia Shiuh, and later with Linda Cerone, William Preucil, and Cho-Liang Lin.

As a teenager, he made his solo debut with The Cleveland Orchestra, and recital debut at the Kennedy Center. He continues to make important steps forward, including recent invitations to Cactus Pear Music Festival, Austin Chamber Music, Incontri Musicali, and the Mainly Mozart Festival. More information can be found at www.ericgratz.net.

Track Listing
1 Dmitri Shostakovich (arr. Tsyganov)
Prelude no. 10 from 24 Preludes, op. 34

2 Dmitri Shostakovich (arr. Tsyganov)
Prelude no. 24 from 24 Preludes, op. 34

3 Robert Schumann
Intermezzo from F-A-E Sonata

4 Fritz Kreisler
Recitativo and Scherzo

5 Fritz Kreisler
Berceuse Romantique

6 Camille Saint-Saëns
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso

7 Henryk Wieniawski
Légende

8-11 Eugène Ysaÿe
Sonata no. 2, “Obsession”
Obsession – Prelude
Malinconia
Danse des Hombres: Sarabande
Les Furies

12 Nathan Milstein
Paganiniana

1992 Alumna Returns to Summit County

Elizabeth Hainen croppedImmediately following her summer with the NRO in Keystone during the 1992 season, Elizabeth Hainen won her first position at the Kennedy Center Opera House as Principal Harp.  “I know that my summer with Carl Topilow and the outstanding musicians I played with in NRO gave me the insight and fortitude to win this job. My new position gave me a wealth of experience and knowledge that propelled me to win the next three auditions I took including Principal Harp with the Atlanta Symphony and my present position, Principal Harp with The Philadelphia Orchestra,” states Ms. Hainen.

Elizabeth performs as an orchestral musician and soloist around the world, and is on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music and Temple University.  Perhaps the most important work she does as a musician is to give back to the community through a nonprofit she founded in Philadelphia, The Lyra Society.  Founding The Lyra Society, “has rewarded me with great riches by seeing young people get to play a rare instrument, one that they would normally not have the chance to play,” she says. 

She and her husband, David DePeters (regular percussionist with the New York Philharmonic and Executive Director for the IRIS Orchestra), recently purchased their dream home in Breckenridge, Colorado. They are avid skiers, love the summers and hope to make Breckenridge their future home.  Elizabeth shares, “We look forward to supporting the NRO not only as musicians but residents!”

Principal Keyboardist at the Omaha Symphony

Yu Dean Zhang croppedAn emerging young pianist, Yu “Dean” Zhang (NRO 2013 & 2014) appears in concerts across the United States and China.  Praised by The Miami Harold, Zhang is recognized as “a powerful keyboard player” with a “smooth, fluid touch at the keyboard, bringing maximum expressiveness.”  

Most recently, Zhang was featured as a soloist with the New World Symphony as a winner of the New World Symphony Concerto Competition.  As a Piano Fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, he performed on piano, organ, harpsichord, and synthesizer in weekly orchestral concerts, in solo performances, and in chamber ensembles.  

Currently the Principal Keyboardist at the Omaha Symphony, Zhang is performing with the orchestra in more than 200 concerts and presentations during the 2015-2016 season.  A devoted pedagogue, Zhang joined the piano faculty of the New England Music Camp in 2015 and has presented master classes at universities throughout China.  Zhang will also be featured as the harpsichord soloist in J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with the Omaha Chamber Music Society in June 2016.     

He has also won first place in the 2010 MTNA Young Artist Piano Performance Northwest Division Competition and was one of the six finalists in the National Division.  Additionally, he was awarded first prize in the Snowy Range Piano Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Seattle International Piano Competition.  Dean has also performed concertos with the Shanghai University Symphony, the University of Wyoming Symphony, and the National Repertory Orchestra, where he was invited for two summers as Principal Keyboardist. 

“I would like to thank Carl Topilow and the NRO staff for all the support.  I spent the most memorable two summers in Breckenridge with fantastic, talented young musicians and with my wonderful host parents Kim and John.  The experience at NRO helped me tremendously to grow as a professional musician before I went on to my next orchestral positions at the New World Symphony and The Omaha Symphony.  The continuous pursuit of the highest artistry at NRO has always been my inspiration for my performing career,” states Dean.

In addition to his achievements in piano performance, Zhang is an outstanding organist and was featured in April, 2015 as the organ soloist in Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3 with the New World Symphony.  He has also served as the principal organist and artist in residence at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Laramie, Wyoming, and United Methodist Church of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. 

After two years of studying management science at Shanghai University, Zhang was granted a full scholarship at the University of Wyoming, where he received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees as a student of Dr. Theresa Bogard.  Under the tutelage of Paul Schenly and Kathryn Brown, he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music.  Dr. Zhang also studied extensively with Joela Jones, Principal Keyboard of The Cleveland Orchestra.

David Young A Rising Star Since 2014

district5After David Young attended the NRO in 2014, he was appointed Acting Second Bassoon/Contrabassoon with the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway from January through March, 2015. Following his stint in Norway, David joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in Washington, DC last August. David states, “My summer with the NRO was hugely formative in my development as a professional musician. I often remember fondly how well the intense pace of work and high level of musicianship prepared me for the diversity of work in my career. Beyond the orchestral performances, the outreach workshops and chamber performances also contributed to my flexibility as both performer and educator to all varieties of audiences.”

Active Professional Musician in Traverse City, Michigan

Steven K. Leonard, violinist croppedSteven K. Leonard was with the NRO in 1982, when it was called the Colorado Philharmonic and when it was located in Evergreen, CO.  About his experience, he states, “My work with the Colorado Philharmonic acted as the stepping stone to my orchestral work throughout my career.  We covered a vast array of repertoire, all with Carl’s very patient and thorough guidance.  I will always treasure this experience and the wonderful social experiences of that summer!” 

Mr. Leonard currently lives in Traverse City, Michigan, where he is Associate Concertmaster in the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and is the Director of the TSO Civic Chamber Music Program. He also performs as guest Assistant Concertmaster/Associate Principal of the violin sections in the West Michigan Symphony. This year, Mr. Leonard was a guest artist at The Bridge Chamber Music Festival at St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges in Minnesota.  He maintains a busy private teaching studio in Traverse City. Mr. Leonard is frequently a visiting artist at violin masterclasses throughout the country. He enjoys performing in solo and chamber music recitals regularly.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Music with distinction in violin performance from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Arts in music from Truman State University.  His major teachers were Raphael Bronstein, Oliver Steiner, James Buswell and Charles Castleman. Mr. Leonard studied chamber music with the Cleveland Quartet: Donald Weilerstein, Peter Salaff, Martha Katz and Paul Katz.

Mr. Leonard was Assistant Concertmaster of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra for 11 years in Birmingham before moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1995. He moved to Traverse City in 2009. His performance resume includes the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Opera and Ballet Orchestras, the Atlanta Lyric Theater Orchestra, the Atlanta Pops, the Colorado Philharmonic and the Eastman/Dryden Theater Orchestra.

Mr. Leonard has held teaching positions at The Interlochen Center for the Arts, University of Alabama in Birmingham, Birmingham Southern College, Huntingdon College, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, the Symphony School of America and Truman State University.  In Atlanta he was the Director of the String Orchestra and Chamber Music Program for the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta. His primary position was as Orchestra Director at The Paideia School.