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.”

2017 Video and Photography Intern

Dan McLainDan McLain is from Eagle RIver, Alaska, and currently studies film at Montana State University.  In his free time, he enjoys photographing the outdoors, watching Netflix, and listening to music.  This will be Dan’s first time working for the NRO, and he is looking forward to a great season.

4th of July Morning Concert Moves to Silverthorne

FireworksThe Lake Dillon Theatre Company and the National Repertory Orchestra Bring July 4th Concert to Rainbow Park in Silverthorne

Silverthorne, CO (January 9th, 2017) – After the success of last year’s Sunset at the Summit Concert Series, this summer The Lake Dillon Theatre Company and the National Repertory Orchestra will present their popular July 4th concert collaboration at Rainbow Park in Silverthorne.

This annual Independence Day celebration includes a free, patriotic concert from the National Repertory Orchestra with a special performance featuring the Lake Dillon Theatre Company Summer Musical Company. A special tribute to the armed forces includes a sing-a-long for all who attend.

“The Lake Dillon Theatre Company has produced the NRO 4th of July concert for over a decade now,” explains Lake Dillon Theatre Company Artistic Director Chris Alleman. “With this move to Rainbow Park in Silverthorne, our audience can expect the same great music and collaboration. Rainbow Park offers a more familial atmosphere and with our new partnership with the Town of Silverthorne, we have fun new ideas to make this event even more special.”

“We are thrilled to bring this popular and well established event to Silverthorne.  After the tremendous success of the Sunset at the Summit Concert Series, it became apparent that our community is supportive of these kinds of cultural events and we look forward to expanding these offerings in the future,” stated Joanne Cook, Recreation and Culture Director for the Town of Silverthorne. 

The Town is already making plans to grow from four Sunset at the Summit concerts in 2016, to six in 2017, running every Saturday, beginning on July 8 and running through August 12, which will coincide with a 50th Anniversary celebration for the Town of Silverthorne.  The concerts will feature popular acts such as Ron Ivory and the One on One and Wash Park.

“The National Repertory Orchestra is thrilled to continue our collaboration with the Lake Dillon Theater Company for our annual July 4th celebration,” said Douglas Adams, NRO CEO. “Our two organizations have a brilliant partnership and in the spirit of this partnership we have agreed to move the July 4th concert to Rainbow Park in Silverthorne.  We look forward to having a spectacular July 4th celebration this coming season.”

Be sure to visit Silverthorne.org or LakeDillonTheatreCompany.com for more information about the concerts, including opening acts, parking availability and more.

NRO Alumnus Appointed Music Director at Memphis Symphony

Robert MoodyThe Memphis Symphony Orchestra signs Robert Moody to six-year contract as Music Director.

“Robert Moody is making a bold statement through his commitment to the Memphis Symphony Orchestra,” said Board Chair Gayle Rose. “In his temporary role as principal conductor this season, Robert has demonstrated a deep commitment to our musicians and a unique artistic vision. He brings excitement and relevance to his programming which has electrified audiences.”

Moody’s appointment to replace maestro Mei-Ann Chen was unanimously approved by the Symphony Board of Directors. His contract with the MSO starts with the 2017-18 concert season.

“I want to be the strongest champion for this orchestra and to see the players get the recognition for the true rock stars that they are,” Moody said. “They’ve sacrificed so much, and we’re going to honor that by working like crazy to see this orchestra be one of the best success stories for 21st century American orchestras.”

Moody concludes his tenure as Music Director of both the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra and Winston-Salem Symphony at the end of the 2017-18 season. He continues as Artistic Director of the Arizona Musicfest.

Mr. Moody was the Assistant Conductor of the NRO in 1994.  He has been back twice as a Guest Conductor since. 

Read more about Mr. Moody here!

An Inspirational Alumna

Katie Wyatt 2Katie Wyatt is an accomplished musician, executive and innovator in driving social change through music.

 In July 2010, Katie co-founded and assumed the post of Executive Director of Kidznotes, North Carolina’s premiere “El Sistema” inspired organization. Including her work in El Sistema, Katie is a national leader in the orchestra field in creating programs for access and opportunity for all people to experience the transformative power of music.

 She enjoys teaching “Music and Social Entrepreneurship” as adjunct faculty at Duke University, and as a violist has performed with chamber groups and orchestras around the world.

 Of her time at NRO, Katie says, “I attended in 2001, and I remember it kicked my butt! It was the first truly challenging, regular ‘professional’ orchestra experience for me. It felt like a professional orchestra, and I was inspired by my fellow attendees who treated it like a professional orchestra. As an undergrad, I performed for the first time with graduate and doctoral students from across the country, and with musicians who were beginning to take orchestra auditions. I remember well the young musicians who were my colleagues who have now gone on to do major things as soloists, conductors, and of course symphony orchestra musicians. I took advantage of the mountain setting and shipped my road bike out there – I rode and practiced hard every day. It was a wonderful summer!”

 Starting July 2016, Katie became the first Executive Director for El Sistema USA in a new partnership with Duke University. There she will champion the cause of El Sistema nationally while continuing to lead strategy and organizational development locally through Kidznotes.

 In July 2017, Kidznotes will announce a NEW Executive Director who will work with Katie to transition the organization into a new year of growth and opportunity!

 Learn more about the search for that position and learn how to apply for the position on the Kidznotes website, at http://www.kidznotes.org/edsearch.

Grace Nakano Appointed Assistant Concertmaster

grace-nakano-croppedViolinist Grace Nakano, NRO 2015 and 2016, was appointed the assistant concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony shortly after returning home from Breckenridge in October 2016.

 A native of Japan, Grace received her Master of Music in classical performance from the Manhattan School of Music with Lucie Robert and Bachelor of Music from Boston University with Bayla Keyes. She was a recipient of the Fine Arts Award at the Interlochen Arts Academy with Hal Grossman. She was also the first prize winner of the Duxbury Music Festival Chamber Competition in 2012.

Prior to joining the Tucson Symphony as assistant concertmaster, Grace was the assistant concertmaster of the National Repertory Orchestra, where she soloed with the orchestra in 2015.  She says, “My experiences at NRO gave me confidence and insight into the professional world by learning and performing orchestral repertoire at a rapid pace and high level. I still dream about the beauty of Breckenridge and feel extremely grateful for the opportunities I received during my 2 summers at NRO. Thanks to Carl Topilow for believing in me. [without him] I would not be where I am today.” 

 Grace was an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 2013, acting principal 2nd for the YMF Debut Orchestra from 2013-2016, and first violin member of the American Youth Symphony 2013-2016 and the Young Artists Symphony Orchestra 2015-2016 in Los Angeles. Grace was also principal 2nd for the Dream Orchestra in Los Angeles. She has also participated in festivals, including the National Orchestral Institute, Round Top Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and the Spoleto Festival USA.