Alumnus Guides The Next Generation

Yuriy Leonovich cropped for websiteYuriy Leonovich, NRO 2007, just finished his 3rd year as Assistant Cello Professor at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC and also conducts the university’s string orchestra.  In fact, one of his students is NRO 2016 cellist, Stephen Hawkey!

Stephen recently played Bloch’s Schelomo with the BJU Symphony (after winning the concerto competition) and Popper’s Elfentantz at the Annual Music Contest, which he also won. Derek Eilert, another one of Mr. Leonovich’s students, just got on the Greenville Symphony Orchestra’s sub list.

Yuriy shares, “NRO prepared me to learn difficult orchestral and chamber repertoire in a very short amount of time.  I think of Maestro Topilow every time I play with my string orchestra without a conductor on my red (sadly not red, white and green) cello.”

After his time with the NRO, Mr. Leonovich completed his DMA at CIM.  In October, he and his wife, Kristin, are playing a recital of 21st Century cello music, featuring pieces by Jeremy Allen, Mark Kilstofte, David Janssen, Patrick Zimmeli, Evan Fein (world premiere of his 3 Romances for cello solo) and two of his own works.

NY Phil Appoints NRO Alumnus

Chris Martin croppedChristopher Martin, NRO alumnus from 1997, was recently appointed Principal Trumpet at the New York Philharmonic.

After attending the NRO, Chris joined the New World Symphony very briefly before winning Associate Principal with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1997. After three years in Philadelphia, he joined his hometown orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as Principal for five seasons. Since 2005, Mr. Martin has been Principal of the Chicago Symphony.

“The summer I spent at the NRO was the perfect experience for me at that time. It helped me transition from the mentality of ‘student’ to ‘professional’. The high level of performance, the plethora of great music performed each week, and the camaraderie of the ensemble are unlike anything most of us experience as students. NRO teaches the tools and confidence needed to succeed as performing musicians of the highest level,” Chris says.

He would also like to give a shout-out to his fellow ’97 NRO trumpet section: Billy Hunter (Principal, Metropolitan Opera) and Kevin Finamore (2nd, Dallas Symphony Orchestra). 

’16 Musician Wins Job

Ryan Brewer b&w photo cropped for websiteRyan Brewer, NRO 2016 trumpet, recently won an audition for a position in the U.S. Army Field Band’s Concert Band, one of the Army’s two premiere wind bands! The band tours 100 days a year and is based out of Ft. Meade, MD, in between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.  He will be shipping out to Basic Training this month and starting with the band in early November.

As Ryan shares this news with the NRO, he explains, “My time at NRO has been invaluable because there is no substitute for experience. I believe that the NRO provides the greatest number of performances and the greatest variety of orchestral repertoire of any festival on the planet. Under Maestro Topilow and the many excellent guest conductors, the orchestra was able to achieve a high level in a short period of time and it was quite humbling to perform with so many talented musicians. NRO definitely fulfills its purpose — preparing musicians to play with a professional orchestra. 

The accommodations are lovely, there are tons of fun things to do around Breckenridge, and the organization is superbly well-run by the staff and donors. Also, my experience with my host parents, Joanne and Rob, has been great. They have been wonderful to me and I really appreciate their hospitality!”

Alumna Moves to LA

Dahae Kim croppedCellist, Dahae Kim attended the National Repertory Orchestra’s summer music festival in 2012 and went on to finish her master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music.  Shortly after graduating, Dahae became Assistant Principal of the Detroit Symphony.  Recently, however, she has moved to Los Angeles, CA to fill the role of Assistant Principal of the of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

She tells the NRO, “Performing new programs weekly on a few rehearsals was challenging at the time, and it really helped me develop my own skills and tactics to learn quickly and take responsibility for my role in the orchestra. The schedule was similar to that of a professional orchestra and I am grateful to have experienced NRO as a student.”

Congratulation Dahae and good luck in LA!