2015 Alumnus Gets Job in Charlotte

Hunter Gordon croppedOriginally from Port Angeles, Washington, Hunter Gordon is currently Acting Section Bassoon of the Charlotte Symphony for the 2017-2018 season. He holds a Master of Music from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and both a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Oberlin College and Conservatory. Previously Second Bassoon/Assistant Principal of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Gordon has also appeared with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Louisiana Philharmonic and as guest principal of the Jacksonville Symphony. Hunter’s summer festivals include the Verbier Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, National Repertory Orchestra (2015), Texas Music Festival and Round Top Festival Institute. His primary teachers are Benjamin Kamins, George Sakakeeny and Otto Eifert.

Hunter says, “NRO was a fantastic way to become familiar with major orchestral repertoire, something that has proven to be invaluable in the years since I attended. The experience of preparing and performing so many concerts was extremely beneficial and helped shape my approach to a career in music.”

Success for Miles Jaques

Miles JaquesSince attending NRO in 2011, Miles Jaques was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach from 2013-2016.  The first time he even auditioned for NWS was during his summer in Breckenridge!  After his time in Miami, he was asked to play with the Toronto Symphony for one season as acting associate principal/bass/Eb clarinet by Music Director, Peter Oundjia, who he played under for the first time at NRO.  There were two openings in the TSO in the four member clarinet section (bass and associate principal) so he took the audition, and won the bass clarinet/utility job in March of 2017.  Miles has performed multiple times with the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.  He has appeared regularly with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Chamber Soloists over the course of the last two years as well.  Since the summer of 2016, he has been a regular guest of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra as their bass clarinetist and, along with his colleagues from the Santa Fe Opera, he will be featured at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in 2018.

Miles shares, “I am forever grateful for my time in NRO.  When I look back, I unequivocally consider the time I spent in Breck as a turning point in my growth as a musician and certainly my professional career.  The schedule at NRO is much like the ones of professional organizations; limited rehearsals mixed with challenging programs. This was my first real glimpse at what my life could potentially be as a professional and it was at that point that I knew I had made the right choice in career path.  Additionally, the clarinet section that I was a part of at NRO was by far the best I had ever played in and my interactions with them as colleagues was extremely invaluable, something I still think back on.  Aside from the incredible musical opportunities provided by NRO, I immediately formed a very close bond with my “host parents” from that summer.  Since 2011, Murray and Marlene Altman have become very close friends of my husband and me and have virtually been adopted by our families. We speak with them often; they even attended our wedding as our special guests!”  

Alumnus wins Principal Bassoon in Jacksonville

Conrad Cornelison cropedConrad Cornelison joined the Jacksonville Symphony as Principal Bassoon in 2017, after spending two seasons with the Houston Grand Opera. Prior to his work in Houston, he held the Principal Bassoon positions with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony of Southeast Texas. Other professional appearances include work with the Houston Symphony, the Houston Ballet Orchestra, Da Camera of Houston, the San Antonio Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic the Victoria Bach Festival Orchestra, the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, and the Coastal Symphony of Georgia.

Mr. Cornelison was also recently appointed Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at the University of North Florida, where he began teaching during the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, in March 2017, Mr. Cornelison co-founded LC Double Reeds, a double-reed instrument supply company that designs and manufactures professional quality reed-making tools for oboists and bassoonists. LC Double Reeds’ products have quickly gained popularity across the globe and are available internationally through many of the top distributors in the industry.

Conrad holds degrees from Rice University and Juilliard, where he studied with Benjamin Kamins and Patricia Rogers, respectively. He is also a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he studied with Eric Stomberg. His former festivals include the National Repertory Orchestra (2014), Pacific Music Festival, and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. He currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife, oboist Xiaodi Liu, and their dog, Toby.

Conrad states, “My summer with the NRO was extremely valuable to me. Aside from meeting many lifelong friends and colleagues, the musical demands of the festival gave me a good structure to begin implementing many of the lessons I had learned from my teachers over the years, and ultimately led me to develop an overall more efficient way of learning music and preparing repertoire. Freshly out of school with no job, NRO gave me the structure I needed to prepare for auditions and the professional world.”

NRO Intern Gets Job with Cleveland Orchestra

Carey Skinner croppedKentucky native, Carey Skinner, was raised in a musical family and began studying violin at just two years old. Falling in love with its sonorous sounds, she switched to viola at age eleven. In 2011, she joined the studio of Ivo-Jan van der Werff at Rice University where she earned her Bachelor of Music with an award for Distinction in Research and Creative Works. This award was earned primarily through work with her contemporary ensemble Meraki which collaborates with young composers and seeks to bridge the gap between traditional and modern performance.

Carey graduated in May 2017 with her Masters in Viola Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Lynne Ramsey. As an avid chamber performer, she joined her colleagues of the Coventry String Quartet as the Quartet In Residence for Steamboat Springs Strings Festival in 2016.

Recently, Carey began working as a Campaign Associate for the Cleveland Orchestra. She will be focusing on project management and interacting with nearly every subsection of the Philanthropy & Advancement Department as the Orchestra enters its 100th Season. She is excited to start on this new career path and looks at it as a wonderful learning opportunity as well as a way to be an advocate for her beloved music community. Carey attributes some of her success to the NRO saying, “I genuinely believe that, without my internship through the NRO, I would have not been called for multiple job interviews, nor would I have been prepared for my current position. I got to work closely with every staff member, giving me a glimpse into the world of a small non-profit. I learned so much from witnessing all the moving pieces that go into running an orchestra and that experience was truly invaluable. Thank you to the NRO staff, interns and musicians for launching my career in such a meaningful way this summer!”

In her spare time, Carey enjoys cooking, teaching viola, and performing around the city with the unique and vibrant community created by Classical Revolution Cleveland.

Fall Dinner to Honor Phyllis and Gary Martinez

Page 59 Phyllis & Gary Martinez - photoOn October 24, the NRO will be honoring Phyllis and Gary Martinez at their annual fall dinner.  Join us for this amazing evening full of good food and wine generously donated by the Blue River Bistro.  Click here for tickets and more information.

Phyllis and Gary Martinez are enthusiastic supporters of the NRO. They have a strong commitment to volunteerism, non-profit development and leadership, and philanthropy. Phyllis’s professional career included fundraising positions for The Keystone Center and Keystone Science School, Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis, and Colorado Mountain College.  She served on the Boards of The Summit Foundation, Backstage Theatre, Bristlecone Health Services, Breckenridge Film Festival, and she currently is a member of the Climax Area Community Investment Committee.  Gary served as both the Breckenridge Town Manager and Summit County Manager.  During his tenure as Town Manager, Gary guided efforts to bring the National Repertory Orchestra to Breckenridge, which led to the initial construction of the Riverwalk Center in 1992.  His volunteer service has included the Breckenridge Film Festival Board President, The Summit Foundation Board, the Fifth Judicial District Review Commission, Colorado Children’s Chorale Board, and the NRO’s Community Engagement Task Force Chair.

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Blue River Bistro (305 N. Main Street, Breckenridge, CO 80424) will be hosting this evening of food and wine to support the National Repertory Orchestra.

Alumna to Debut at Grand Ole Opry

Mia OroscoTwenty-four-year-old Mia Orosco, is a recognized classical violinist in addition to a multiple state and national fiddle champion. Mia grew up in Lorena, Texas and began studying classical violin at age 6. She soon began studying violin with Dr. Eka Gogichashvili and fiddle with Joey McKenzie. She spent 2013 and 2016 with the NRO and has been doing amazing things since!

​In her high school years, Mia was accepted to the Texas All-State Symphony three times and won the Waco Youth Symphony Concerto Competition. In 2011, Mia was featured on the classical radio show “From the Top” which features the top young classical musicians in the nation. She also won the Texas State Junior Fiddle Championship, the Colorado State Junior Fiddle Championship, the Western Open Fiddle Championship, the National Junior Fiddle Championship, and at age 19, won the Grand National Fiddle Championship, becoming the youngest female to ever do so.

Mia has performed and soloed with many ensembles around the country including the National Repertory Orchestra, the American Institute of Musical Studies Orchestra, the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra, and the Round Top Festival Institute Orchestra as concertmaster. Mia is also a substitute violinist with America’s Orchestral Academy, the New World Symphony.

​Since playing with the NRO in 2016, Mia has been pursuing a master’s degree at Indiana University, begun work as a recording studio artist in Indianapolis, and is working towards an orchestral job. After winning the Grand Masters Fiddle Contest, Mia will be making her Grand Ole Opry debut in 2018.

Of her time with the NRO Mia says, “My NRO experience prepared me in the best way possible for my future music endeavors. The musicians inspired me and taught me so much about being a dynamic player, the community showed me how to truly support the arts, and the music showed me the importance of sharing these beautiful works of art with audiences. I loved every minute of my summers with the NRO and cannot thank the organization enough for my experience there!”

Three Year Alumna Teaching and Playing in Canada

Manker #4684 bestKatherine Gradojevich Manker started with the NRO as the Principal Second Violin in 1989. She returned in ’92 and ’93 to act as Concertmaster. Since then, she spent seven seasons as Associate Concertmaster with the North Carolina Symphony before moving to Montréal, Canada. Currently, she is teaching for the McGill Music Conservatory and is an active freelancer, performing and touring frequently with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. As a member of the Adorno Quartet, Ms Manker participated in the Beethoven Project performing the complete cycle of the Beethoven String Quartets numerous times. Ms. Manker spent several years in Southern California regularly performing with the Santa Barbara Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, Opera Pacific, and freelance work in the motion picture, television, and recording industries.

She is a graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Music and continued her violin studies at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles as a scholarship student of Robert Lipsett. Ms. Manker has taught for the Preparatory Department of The Cleveland Institute of Music, Colburn School of Performing Arts, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was the Artistic Coordinator for Festival Alexandria (Ontario, Canada) from 2007-2010. She plays on a violin made by Samuel Zygmuntowicz in 2013.

The NRO was lucky enough to have Ms Manker back in Breckenridge last summer celebrating Carl Topilow’s 40th season, she recalls, “Over the years I’ve frequently thought a lot about my positive experiences at NRO and working with Carl Topilow. I still remember how quickly Carl was able to take a difficult orchestral passage apart for us, explain the inner workings of the passage and then put it back together so that we could play it with total confidence, needless to say, these passages have been learned for life. (Rite of Spring!!)”

Alumna Strives in Toledo

Laura LongmanLaura Longman participated in the NRO in 2014, and in 2015 as assistant concertmaster. In between these summers, she auditioned for and began her current position as a core member of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section.

Laura is a native Michigander who received her bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Michigan. Her principal teachers include Sam Spurbeck, Paula Elliott, Aaron Berofsky, and David Halen. Prior to the Toledo Symphony, she performed with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Flint Symphony Orchestra, and the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. Laura resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

She says, “The most valuable experience I gained from the NRO was being able to preview the work of a full-time orchestral musician. I was able to step into my new position with ease, and I was already familiar with most of the repertoire!”

Michaela Paetsch Reunites with the NRO!

Michaela Paetsch 2Michaela Paetsch will be joining the NRO on July 7th playing Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E minor for Violin & Orchestra.

In the Orchestra’s days as the “Colorado Philharmonic,” sixteen-year-old Michaela Paetsch arrived in her cowboy boots as the youngest concertmistress in the organization’s history. Over her two years with the orchestra, she performed as a soloist five times and enjoyed the camaraderie found in collaborating with her young colleagues. Her first appearance with the orchestra was in 1977, Carl Topilow’s first year as Music Director and Principal Conductor.

          Ms. Paetsch had worked with Maestro Topilow around Denver, in the top positions, with the Denver Young Artists Orchestra and the Colorado All State Orchestra, alongside her siblings. She experienced success both as an orchestral player and as a soloist, including winning first prize in both the MTNA and ASTA solo violin competitions in Chicago. Performing with her family is a large part of Michaela’s life and she credits them with her continued passion and success in music. Ms. Paetsch performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto for the first time at the age of twelve with the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra.

            In Switzerland her achievements include having performed with pianist and politician Simonetta Sommaruga, who later became President of the Swiss Federal Council. Through Ms. Sommaruga, she also performed for the official visit of Ex-President Holland from Paris in Bern. Michaela has appeared more frequently in Colorado over the last few years with such notable performers as pianist and composer Peter Biro and pianist Abe Minzer. In the last few years Mr. Biro has written four Sonatas exclusively for Ms. Paetsch and himself.  Mr. Minzer runs the “Classically Alive” series in Colorado Springs and in this intimate and lovely venue, his own Minzer/Schreuder residence, he will perform alongside Ms. Paetsch and cellist Norah Clydesdale on September 22 of this year as well as an appearance together in Canon City on September 24.
            Michaela now lives in Ligerz, Switzerland with her family and two cats and is thrilled to return to the NRO to share her 40th anniversary with Carl.

Meet & Greet with Miguel Harth-Bedoya

Miguel Harth-Bedoya 1Meet NRO Guest Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya on July 6th from 4-7pm at Arts Alive Gallery! This Emmy-award winning conductor is in his seventeenth season as Music Director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and is Chief Conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra in Oslo.

This event is open to public and is a great opportunity to get to know the conductor before the orchestra’s performance of “Shostakovich’s Fifth” on July 7th at 7:30pm! Complimentary appetizers and drinks will be provided.

Learn more about the concert on July 7th

Learn more about Miguel!