Alumna Working at the Cleveland Orchestra

Carey Skinner croppedCarey Skinner, National Repertory Orchestra Marketing Fellow in 2017, won a job with the Cleveland Orchestra shortly after her summer in Breckenridge and has recently been promoted to Manager of Development and Communication. In this role, she is the content creator for the fundraising department with written and design materials.

Outside of the Orchestra, Carey is part of a marketing team with ChamberFest, Cleveland’s Strategic Planning Committee. She also continues to be an avid partner with a young non-profit, the Cleveland Music Exchange, which has an incredible education and performance residency in Harare, Zimbabwe. In addition, Carey continues to play the viola (she graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in May, 2017 with a Masters in Viola Performance), performing with two local groups, OPUS 216 and Classical Revolution Cleveland.

Carey shares, “My time at NRO really launched me into this next phase of my career and I am eternally grateful. I hope this update can serve as encouragement to this group of supporters for how important the NRO is as a career builder for young professionals – and not just the musicians!! Their donations are incredibly significant and so crucial to support this fantastic career training program.”

No doubt that Carey’s positive, can-do attitude and hard work ethic have also played a big role in where she is today and where she will be tomorrow. We know you don’t need it, but best of luck in your new role Carey!


Alumnus Becomes Associate Concertmaster

Timothy Steeves (smaller) croppedTimothy Steeves was recently named Associate Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He served as concertmaster of the National Repertory Orchestra in 2014 and 2015.
Regarding his time with the NRO, he states, “My two seasons with the NRO were pivotal to my professional development. The intense pace of those eight weeks and the quantity of repertoire that we performed demanded diligent planning and preparation on the part of every musician. Those habits and skills sets have allowed me to transition into the professional world with a greater sense of ease and experience.”

Read More About Timothy

NRO Welcomes New Board Member

Samuel BuffordSamuel Bufford spent his early childhood in Northern California (his family arrived with the Gold Rush) and then spent his teen years in Maryland. A good scholar, he earned a PhD from the University of Texas and, while a tenured philosophy professor, earned his JD from the University of Michigan law school. After a dozen years of practice and teaching law, he became a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in the Central District of California, where he served in Los Angeles for 25 years.  After retiring from the bench, Sam served as a Visiting Scholar in Residence at Penn State University Law School for six years before becoming a permanent resident in Summit County in 2016.    

Sam has had many opportunities to teach and consult on legal issues throughout the world, beginning with Eastern European Countries such as Hungary and Romania, and then in numerous other countries around the world.  He spent the fall semester 2016 as a Fulbright Fellow teaching at the University of Bucharest.  Since retirement as a judge and professor, he has remained active with several professional organizations such as the American Bar Association and the International Insolvency Institute.

Sam has always loved music, particularly classical music, and sang with the Master Chorales at both Texas and Michigan as well as community chorales in Summit County and State College PA.  Sam was a clarinetist in college and in graduate school took up singing.  Sam’s PhD was in Philosophy of Art and he loves the visual arts as well as music. He stays busy with hiking, skiing and travel. 

NRO Welcomes New Director of Operations

Kristin Kall Casual PhotoA native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Kristin Kall has a diverse classical music background as a performer, educator, and arts administrator, focusing on projects that expand audiences through education and community engagement.

Formerly an Oboe Fellow at the New World Symphony, Kristin later served as their Executive Assistant to Musician Advancement. Prior administrative roles include Orchestra Manager and Chamber Music Coordinator for the Aspen Music Festival and School, and staff positions at the Yale School of Music and Spoleto Festival USA. She has performed with several prominent ensembles, including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and others.

Kristin received a bachelor’s degree from Rice University followed by a master’s degree and an artist diploma from the Yale School of Music. In her spare time, Kristin enjoys exploring the outdoors, mountain biking, and playing the classical guitar.

2018 NRO Alumnus Wins Position

Myles_Blakemore_132.jpgTrombonist Myles Blakemore won a position with the US Naval Academy Band just one week after this year’s festival concluded. This band of professional Navy musicians provides musical support for the Brigade of Midshipmen, and for official functions of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Myles says “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience in Breckenridge. The festival does a great job of preparing young musicians with the professional experience they don’t get in college including limited rehearsals, guest conductors, and pops concerts. Without a doubt I owe a lot to Carl Topilow and my amazing colleagues at NRO for helping me secure this job.”

Prior to NRO, Myles held fellowships with Minnesota Orchestra and New World Symphony during the 2017-18 season, as well as the second trombone position with Symphony in C during their 2016-17 season. He has also been fortunate enough to perform with the professional orchestras of Charleston, Dallas, and Malaysia. Mr. Blakemore is a graduate of Southern Methodist University (BM), where he studied with John Kitzman and Manhattan School of Music (MM), where he studied with Dr. Per Brevig in the Orchestral Program.

NRO Celebrates 25th Year in Breckenridge

IMG_3246The National Repertory Orchestra is pleased to announce the opening of its 59th season, as well as its 25th season in the Town of Breckenridge!

At the beginning of June, 88 gifted musicians from around the world performed their first of many rehearsals together at the Riverwalk Center. Over the course of the summer, they will perform 21 full orchestral concerts and 22 free chamber concert series within Summit County.

Music Director and Principal Conductor, Carl Topilow, will return for his 41st season with the NRO. Topilow is the founding conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and is also the Music Director and Conductor of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra in Sandusky, Ohio.  

In honor of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, this Saturday’s opening night, will feature music from the incredibly complex and emotionally-ridden score of West Side Story. This program also features Bernstein’s class-mate, Samuel Barber’s Second Symphony and his stunningly beautiful Violin Concerto. Highlighting our American showcase is music from the film An American in Paris by George Gershwin.

Staying true to our mission statement of Changing Lives Through Music, we will be performing three benefit concerts for local not-for-profit organizations. These organizations include Summit County First Responders on June 13th, Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) on June 27th, and Building Hope on July 18th.

On the 4th of July, we will celebrate this nation’s independence by performing a Patriotic Salute in honor of all the men and women serving in uniform. A “Kids’s Zone” party will follow the FREE performance at Rainbow Park in Silverthorne and fireworks will follow the performance at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Tickets are required to sit inside the venue, however, the garage doors at the rear of the Riverwalk Center will be open and we invite all without tickets to sit on the lawn for free. For lawn seating, you are encouraged to bring your own blankets or chairs.

We will continue the family festivities that week by showing the Oscar®-winning classic The Wizard of Oz on a giant HD screen as the National Repertory Orchestra performs the score live for both a matinee and evening performance at the Riverwalk Center on July 7th. Costumes encouraged!

During the second week of July, a collaborative presentation by the National Repertory Orchestra and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival will feature a FREE family concert! Guest conductor, Radu Marian Paponiu, will take you on a musical excursion through The Listener, and include an Instrument Petting Zoo for people of all ages.  

In memory of Nancy Follett, we will wear pink in support of Shaw Breast Center & Cancer Clinic on July 11 at the Riverwalk Center. Assistant conductor, Mark Alpizar, will feature, “Vivaldi Four Seasons” and harp fellow, Molly Langr will perform the hauntingly beautiful Debussy Danses.

The annual Topilow Pops! Concert will be on July 13 at the Riverwalk Center. Music Director, Carl Topilow, will bring you a selection of popular music from the silver screen and Broadway and will feature Tony Award Winning singer, Debbie Gravitte. The following day, the NRO will perform a FREE concert at the Lake Dillon Amphitheater and feature music by John Williams, Mozart, and more.  

The NRO season ends with one of our most beloved composers – Sergei Rachmaninoff. His Symphony No. 2, written between 1906 – 1907 is one of the most often performed pieces. Joyous and celebratory, this symphony will leave you wanting more. We also feature our piano fellow, Miao Arai, in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. Two true masterpieces to round out this spectacular season!

For more information on our full lineup of events and tickets, visit our website www.NROmusic.com or call (970) 453- 5825.

NRO Welcomes Community Engagement Fellow

Nicolas Gonzalez Headshot croppedNicolas Gonzalez is a dual masters student at Indiana University – Bloomington, studying Arts Administration and Public Affairs. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University – Bloomington in Telecommunications, with a focus on Design and Production. During his time at IU, he participated in the marching, concert, and jazz bands, where he held the leadership position of Tuba Undergraduate Staff. Nicolas is also a freelance photographer and videographer. Specifically, he loves concert and performing arts photography. Prior to graduate school, Nick interned as an Assistant Producer for the local PBS station in Bloomington, IN and a Marketing Intern for Music for All in Indianapolis, IN. He currently works as a graduate assistant for the City of Bloomington’s cultural district (BEAD) and a videographer for the IU Jazz department.

Introducing the 2018 Artist Liaison Fellow

Amara Sperber croppedAmara Sperber is delighted to help facilitate connection between artists at National Repertory Orchestra this summer. In the fall, Amara will begin the teacher training program in Suzuki Method at Cleveland Institute of Music. She is interested in the integration of improvisation, body awareness and other art forms within music education. Amara was the graduate assistant to Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio at University of Nevada in Reno, where she received her Master’s degree in Violin Performance and Orchestra Career Studies. Previously she received her Bachelor degree in performance from University of Oregon as a student of Fritz Gearhart, where she also studied abroad in Vienna.

She-e Wu Performs with the NRO on June 30th

Gstudo45852 (1)She-e Wu has appeared as a solo artist at Bach Symposium/Bach Variation Festival in Lincoln Center; Jouournées de la Percussion, NancyPhony Festival, perKumania festival, and PercuPassion Festival in France; Taiwan Connection concert at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center; International Percussion Festival and InterAmerican Music and Arts Festival Orchestra in Puerto Rico; Festival Internacional de Percusion “Ritmo Vital 2001” and National Percussion Convention in Spain; Fukui Marimba Seminar in Japan; Seoul Percussion Festival in South Korea, Giornate della Percussione in Italy; Percussion Festival in Greece; The Majaoja Percussion Competition and Festival in Finland; Groove Alentejo Festival in Portugal; Taipei International Percussion Convention, and many other festivals. She has performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall and Symphony Center, Chicago Chamber Musicians, and Philadelphia Orchestra Chamber Music Series in Pearlman Hall at Kimmel Center, and Percussive Arts Society International Convention.  Ms. Wu has also performed as guest recitalist and clinician at universities, colleges, conservatories throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. In 2017, She-e premiered two works — “Imaginary Day”, Duo Percussion Concerto with Chris Deviney by Pat Metheny with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and Saratoga Spring and “The Partials of Color” by Tim Ferchen with Osuma Ensemble in Finland.

Ms. Wu has commissioned and premiered works by Paul Lansky, Lee Hyla, Dafnis Prieto, Eric Ewazen, Ronald Caltabiano, Robin Engelman, Gerald Chenoweth, and many others.  

Ms. Wu’s compositions include: “Blue Identity”, written for the Paris Conservatory CNR percussion ensemble, premiered in Paris; “K-PAX”, commissioned by the Taipei International Percussion Convention, and premiered in Taiwan and Japan; “UP!”, commissioned and premiered by Spring High School Percussion Ensemble at The Midwest Clinic in Chicago; “What the sun would say to the sky”, was premiered at Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and “Monologue” premiered and commissioned by Tom Sherwood for the 10th Modern Snare Drum Competition.  Ms. Wu has served as a jury member for percussion competitions in France, Greece, Italy, Finland, Japan, Russia, Portugal, and throughout U.S.

Ms. Wu’s recordings include Marimba Concerto by Eric Ewazen with the International Sejong Soloists, solo marimba CD Snapshot, Suite for Marimba and Flute by Alec Wilder with Flautist Bart Feller, A set of Songs and Dances by Doug Hill with Gail Williams (French Horn) , and a chamber music recording with American Brass Quintet of music by David Sampson. Her new recording with Osuma Ensemble (Tampere, Finland) will be released in 2018 on Alba records.

Ms. Wu is a clinician and a recitalist for the Majestic, Mapex, Innovative Percussion, Zildjian, and Remo companies. Ms. Wu plays the “Reflection” series concert marimba designed by Majestic exclusively,  and her signature mallets with Innovative Percussion are available worldwide.  Ms. Wu is Associate Professor of Music and the Head of Percussion program at Northwestern University.  Ms. Wu is also a frequent  guest artist teacher at the Royal College of Music in London, and a consultant at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Come see She-e Wu perform with the National Repertory Orchestra on Saturday, June 30th at the Riverwalk Center. Find Out More!

Orion Weiss to Perform with the NRO on June 27th

photo credit: Jacob Blickenstaff

photo credit: Jacob Blickenstaf

One of the most sought-after soloists in his generation of young American musicians, the pianist Orion Weiss has performed with the major American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic. His deeply felt and exceptionally crafted performances go far beyond his technical mastery and have won him worldwide acclaim.

2017-18 sees him opening the season for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and ending his season with the Colorado Symphony and Mozart’s majestic Concerto in C major, K. 467; in between Orion will play with eleven orchestras, go on a recital tour with James Ehnes, and perform recitals around the country. In 2016-17 Orion performed with the Knoxville, Wichita, and Santa Rosa Symphonies, among others, and in collaborative projects with Alessio Bax, the Pacifica Quartet, and with Cho-Liang Lin and the New Orford String Quartet in a performance of the Chausson Concerto for piano, violin, and string quartet. In 2015 Naxos released his recording of Christopher Rouse’s Seeing – a major commission Orion debuted with the Albany Symphony – and in 2012 he released a recital album of Dvorak, Prokofiev, and Bartok. That same year he also spearheaded a recording project of the complete Gershwin works for piano and orchestra with his longtime collaborators the Buffalo Philharmonic and JoAnn Falletta.

Named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year in September 2010, in the summer of 2011 Weiss made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood as a last-minute replacement for Leon Fleisher. In recent seasons, he has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and in duo summer concerts with the New York Philharmonic at both Lincoln Center and the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival. In 2005, he toured Israel with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Itzhak Perlman.

Also known for his affinity and enthusiasm for chamber music, Weiss performs regularly with his wife, the pianist Anna Polonsky, the violinists James Ehnes and Arnaud Sussman, and cellist Julie Albers. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Weiss has appeared across the U.S. at venues and festivals including Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival, Sheldon Concert Hall, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Chamber Music Northwest, the Bard Music Festival, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, and Spivey Hall.

Weiss’s impressive list of awards includes the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship. Weiss attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Schenly, Daniel Shapiro, Sergei Babayan, Kathryn Brown, and Edith Reed. In February of 1999, Weiss made his Cleveland Orchestra debut performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. In March 1999, with less than 24 hours’ notice, Weiss stepped in to replace André Watts for a performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In 2004, he graduated from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Emanuel Ax.

Come see Orion West perform with the National Repertory Orchestra on Wednesday, June 27th at the Riverwalk Center. Find Out More!