Sophie Brants, Youth Pianist

Sophie BrantsSophie Brants has been playing piano with Joyce Li in Colorado since the age of 6.  In the past few years, she began to compete in numerous local and international competitions.

Among her accomplishments include:

  • 2014 1st place US International Duo Competition
  • 2014 2nd place Competitive Division I Schmitt Music Competition
  • 2015 2nd place Advanced Competitive Division II Schmitt Music Competition
  • 2015 1st place US International Duo Competition
  • 2016 Featured performer in Master Class with Mr. William Wolfram at CSMTA
  • 2015 /2016 Young Artist featured with Inside the Orchestra
  • 2016 3rd place Middle School Division Schmitt Music Steinway Piano Concerto Competition
  • Celebration Series Winner, 2013 – 2017
  • 2017  1st place Advanced Competitive Schmitt Music Competition

 Sophie is currently 12 years old and is in the 6th grade at Colorado Academy.  In addition to piano, her passions include playing competitive club soccer, horseback riding, tennis and skiing.

Meet the NRO’s Newest Board Member

Sally Queen croppedSally Queen first encountered the magic created by the National Repertory Orchestra in 2010. As a second home owner in Breckenridge, she and her husband focused their one week visits on hiking, biking, and family picnics. They mixed it up for the July 4th concert and it was love at first sound! The talented young musicians made a lasting connection, and they have attended many concerts since.

Along with her husband Bruce, she has traveled the world courtesy of the United States Air Force. As an officer’s wife, she balanced military needs with a professional career in clothing and textiles. Connections were important to her successes as a quilt shop owner in the 1970s, to teaching quilting internationally in the 80s, to Director of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Costume Design Center in the 90s and publisher of historical textile books, personally authoring 2 books in the 00s.

Sally studied nonprofit governance with American Association of Museums and served on the boards of Costume Society of America, Gadsbys Tavern Museum, Virginia Quilt Museum, and various museum boards for special projects.

The common theme — connections for success – she looks forward to applying these life skills to advance the careers of talented young musicians in the NRO family.


Audrey Haas, Youth Pianist

Audrey HassAudrey Haas is eight years old and began learning piano at an early age.  By the time she was six, she was participating in local piano festivals and recitals.  She most recently placed 1st at the 2017 Schmitt Music Piano Competition, Advanced Competitive Division I.  In addition, Audrey has participated with the Colorado Inside the Orchestra program performing both the 1st and 3rd movements of Haydn’s Concerto in C.

 Audrey is especially thankful for the guidance she receives from her instructor, Crystal Lee. Ms. Lee has been an exceptional source of inspiration, encouragement, and unwavering support along this journey.

 Beyond her passion for piano, Audrey enjoys ballet, swimming, and chess. Her favorite academic subjects are mathematics, writing, and art.


Principal at Mobile Symphony is NRO Alumnus

Razvan Berindean cropperMihai Razvan Berindean, originally from Romania, started playing violin at the age of 6, being fascinated by the sound of the violin after his brother started playing. After playing violin for 8 years, he was drawn by the beautiful deep sounds of the viola, and has remained in love with it ever since. He has been making beautiful music with the Mobile Symphony since 2014, and enjoys collaborating with Pensacola Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, and Toledo Symphony.

Razvan completed his bachelor and master’s degrees at Bowling Green State University, and his doctorate at Florida State University. He had the opportunity to study with such distinguished pedagogues as Csaba Erdelyi, Dr. Meghan Yanik, Matthew Daline and Dr. Pamela Ryan. He has performed with Dearborn Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, and Lima Symphony. Razvan had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall with Toledo Symphony, Suntory Hall in Japan, as well as other venues around the world, including extensive tours in China, Japan, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, England, and Romania.

He attended the NRO in 2014 and says, “NRO helped me become a dynamic orchestral player through challenging and rewarding repertoire, inspiring colleagues, and world-renowned conductors. It was a wonderful opportunity that shaped me as an orchestra player and musician.”

Razvan won the Mobile Symphony principal position in August 2016. In addition to being principal for all symphony concerts, he is also principal for Mobile Opera concerts, and outreach concerts with other principal players of the orchestra.

2003 Alumna Starts B&B in France

Laura Appert CroppedLaura Appert comes from a musical family.  Her father is a conductor, composer, and professor of music, her mother is a coloratura soprano and teacher, and they’ve lived in Vancouver, Washington for the past 25 years.  Her sister Rebecca is a violinist based near Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Laura has a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University and a Master’s degree from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.  Both degrees are in viola performance.  She is passionate about orchestral playing and after completing her degree from CCM she gained experience both as a teacher and performer, most notably as principal viola of Huntington (WV) Symphony, and performing with West Virginia Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, and Ohio Valley Orchestra, to name a few.  She was a member of the CCM Preparatory teaching faculty and the Wyoming Fine Arts Center.  In 2006, she took a position at Bermuda School of Music in Bermuda as a music teacher and performer, where she performed chamber music and as principal viola for the Bermuda Philharmonic Orchestra.  While in Bermuda she became known for her work with young children in Kindermusik and Suzuki violin lessons.  She met her now husband Keith, a professional baker in 2008.  They both had a dream to live in France.  After having their son in 2012 they decided it was time to make preparations to relocate.  In spring 2015 they made the leap and left their jobs to begin a search for a home in France.  After several months of searching, they found a home in the Charente, about 2 hours from Bordeaux, and an hour from Cognac, Limoges, Poitiers and Angouleme.  Part of their plan involved finding a property where they could open a B&B with Keith teaching baking lessons.  Several months of renovations later, they opened their B&B in August 2016 and are now welcoming guests and friends to their little corner of France.  Laura has found an amateur orchestra to play with in Poitiers, and is actively looking for professional viola positions in the area while continuing to work on improving her French!  She started a website to promote herself as a wedding musician as well.  In between all of the setting up of work and life, they welcomed a baby girl in November 2016 and are adjusting to life with two children.  You can find out more at Baking classes/B&B/France/Jambon de printemps

 Laura went to several summer festivals while a student, but most notably NRO in 2003.  The level of playing was exceptional, some of the best playing as an ensemble that she’s ever experienced.  The world-class conductors, soloists, and other musicians were so inspirational to her as a player.  She is still in contact with several of her colleagues, who are all involved in musical projects far and wide.

“I would recommend NRO to any young player, the atmosphere of Breckenridge combined with the faculty and other musicians was such an incredible experience.  It is definitely one of the best training programs in the U.S. for orchestral playing.”