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.

NRO Alumna Wins a Job in Cleveland

jiah-chapdelaine-croppedJiah Chung Chapdelaine joined The Cleveland Orchestra in the autumn of 2016.  She has previously served as concertmaster of Opera Cleveland, performed new compositions with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and was a member of the Akron Symphony. 

A native of Seoul, Korea, Jiah Chung began playing the violin at age 5.  She subsequently moved to Iowa City, Iowa, where she pursued violin playing with Doris Preucil and Allen Ohmes.  She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where her principal teachers were David Cerone, David Updegraff, and David Russell.  As a soloist, she has appeared with the Sioux City Orchestra, Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, and the National Repertory Orchestra.

Jiah says, “NRO was the place where I fell in love with a lot of orchestra repertoire.  We would go through two programs every week and I loved that we played so many master pieces that we wouldn’t always have the opportunity to play elsewhere.  I remember feeling the overwhelming joy while playing the Alpine Symphony to finish the season in the summer of 1998.  Every time I play that piece, it brings back the wonderful memories of the NRO.”

As a teacher, she has served as a member of the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory Department since 2003.  In addition, she has taught at the University of Akron since 2014.

A resident of Cleveland Heights, Ms. Chapdelaine enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband, Stephen and their children, Ella and Oliver.

Catch up on Gabriel Zamora

Gabriel Campos Zamora photoGabriel Campos Zamora attended the NRO in the summer of 2010, and went on to be a fellow of ACJW (an ensemble at Carnegie Hall) for one year, and later moved to Norfolk to play Principal Clarinet with the Virginia Symphony. Shortly after, he moved to Kansas City to play bass clarinet but moved up in the section after winning their associate principal audition. He has also played at Marlboro for three summers and has appeared as guest principal with the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston, and Seattle symphonies.

About the NRO, Gabriel says, “The NRO is a sort of window into what the real job looks like. Sometimes, you get a few rehearsals to put a big piece together and quickly move on to new repertoire, just like you would in the ‘real world.’ Mr. Topilow was very demanding and stressed the fine points of orchestral playing. It was a great experience, and it definitely pushed us to prepare quickly, and in an intelligent manner.”

Gabriel Campos Zamora has since become the principal clarinet of the Minnesota Orchestra!  Mr. Zamora follows Burt Hara, who held the position for more than 25 years and who also happens to be a National Repertory Orchestra alumnus. He was also in fact one of Gabriel’s teachers.  Mr. Hara is currently with the LA Philharmonic as Associate Principal Clarinet.  Congratulation to both NRO alumni for their amazing and bright careers!

Read more about Gabriel Campos Zamora.  Read more about Burt Hara.

Lawrence Quinnett Becomes Assistant Professor

lawrence-quinnett-croppedLawrence Quinnett recently accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Music at Livingstone College.  He teaches music theory and piano, in addition to playing piano and organ for choir and school assemblies. Of his new job, Lawrence says, “I feel very fortunate to have this position, and I think it is a good fit for me right now.” 

After the summer of 2015, Lawrence started teaching at Wallace Community College in Alabama as an adjunct instructor and continued to play for church, teach online, and do some volunteer work.  He also played some solo and chamber concerts in Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and South Carolina and performed at an NRO Alumni concert in Colorado. 

Mr. Quinnett shares, “I was at NRO in 2015, and the experience was overall one of the musical highlights of my career.  Playing the third Rachmaninoff piano concerto with the NRO was simply amazing.  I especially enjoyed the warm welcome that the community of Breckenridge extended to us throughout the festival.  Breckenridge is a beautiful place, and it holds a special place in my heart.  I met some great friends and enjoyed many meaningful musical experiences.”

Click here for Lawrence’s Biography

Danielle Belen Shares Her NRO Experiences

danielle-belen“I attended NRO in 2006 and 2007 and those were extraordinary summers of music-making that I will never forget.  I was treated as a professional, giving me a new confidence as I embraced and grew into meeting those high expectations. I had the privilege of serving as your concertmaster for two summers as well as performing the Brahms and Sibelius violin concertos as a soloist.  In my professional life now as a teacher, I reference my experiences at NRO frequently and have students who are now interested in attending themselves!”

On a personal note, her then boyfriend and now husband Ryan, came with her that first summer in 2006 to Breckenridge and they fell in love with the town.  Ten years later, they remember that summer with such fondness and great stories.  

Ms. Belen made friends and contacts during those summers that to this day have remained important to her career.  She says, “It is a magical place to make music, study and build that important bridge between student and professional life and I am grateful to have been a part of it.”  Additionally, Danielle has remained in touch with Carl Topilow, and even recently worked with him in Sandusky, Ohio, playing Prokofiev Violin Concerto with his wonderful orchestra there. 

Danielle currently lives in Ann Arbor and teaches at the University of Michigan with a studio of sixteen wonderful violin students.  Born and raised a California girl, Ms. Belen says, “the transition to the Midwest (actually, Michigan is far enough east to run on East Coast time) was a bit daunting, but it has turned out to be an incredible adventure.  It turns out that the changing of seasons suits me after all (surprise- snow!) and the diversity of the influences around me has only made me a stronger pedagogue.   I also continue to teach monthly at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, so that is how I get my Vitamin D from the sun!”

Below is Ms. Belen’s Brief Biography:

As part of the violin faculty at The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance in Ann Arbor as well as The Colburn School in Los Angeles, Danielle Belen is already making a name for herself as a seasoned pedagogue with a strong studio of young artists.   Her students have won major prizes in national and international competitions including the Menuhin, Stulberg and Klein competitions, as well as being accepted into major conservatories and universities across the country. 

Winner of the 2008 Sphinx Competition, Ms. Belen has appeared as a soloist with major symphonies across the U.S., including the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco Symphonies, the Boston Pops, and the Florida and Cleveland Orchestras.

A graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music and the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, she studied with Robert Lipsett and acted as his primary teaching assistant for a number of years.  In 2008 she joined the Colburn faculty at the age of twenty-five.  

In 2010, Ms. Belen founded Center Stage Strings, a summer camp and performance festival for gifted young musicians. After gaining national attention, CSS has recently moved to the campus of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as part of MPulse, a summer program run by the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

Ms. Belen plays on a 1709 Alessandro Gagliano violin from the Mandell Collection of Southern California.

Alumnus Wins Position in Omaha

kevin-tompkins-croppedAfter attending NRO in 2014, Kevin Tompkins completed his graduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with William Preucil and Stephen Rose. During his time in Cleveland, he performed with the Akron Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, Firelands Symphony, and other regional orchestras. Mr. Tompkins was also invited to serve as guest concertmaster for the Ashland Symphony for their opening concert this season. During the summer of 2015, he studied and performed at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, and continued his studies with Mr. Preucil at the Brevard Music Center. This past summer, Mr. Tompkins was a member of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, and attended the Aspen Music Festival as a full-scholarship student of Alexander Kerr.

Currently, Mr. Tompkins won a new position as Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Omaha Symphony, which he auditioned for and won in mid-September. He started working on October 7, 2016.

Mr. Tompkins shares, “NRO was unique in its emphasis on preparing students for the day-to-day requirements of an orchestral career. I was able to hone in on techniques and strategies for preparing orchestra music that I apply constantly in my new position. All of that, combined with a stunning location (and climbing several 14ers!) made NRO a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience.”

Luperi Wins Job in Pittsburgh

victoria-luperi-3Victoria Luperi, NRO 1998, was appointed associate principal clarinet with the Pittsburgh Symphony in June 2016. She previously served as principal clarinet with the Fort Worth and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras, and has performed with the Grand Teton, Tanglewood, Verbier, and Mainly Mozart Festivals.

Ms. Luperi shares, “NRO was a fantastic experience. The festival orchestra played really big repertoire and Maestro Topilow guided us expertly through it. The pace of the festival was similar to that of a professional orchestra — we covered many programs within a short few weeks. I felt that was very helpful in preparing us for the next step in our careers. Breckenridge is a very beautiful and an inspiring place for young artists, and I will always remember my time there fondly.”

Victoria premiered “Fantasía sobre Yma Sumac,” a piece for solo clarinet and orchestra written for her by John B Hedges (Miguel Harth-Bedoya/Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra). She has appeared as a soloist with the Madison Symphony, Signature Symphony in Tulsa, Debut Orchestra (Los Angeles), Philharmonia of Kansas City, Córdoba Symphony, Córdoba Chamber Orchestra, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

A devoted chamber musician, Ms. Luperi has collaborated with members of the Emerson, Vermeer, and Guarneri Quartets, and performed at the Marlboro and Mimir Festivals, the Académie musicale de Villecroze in France, the Oregon Bach Festival, Chicago’s Latino Music Festival, and the Forth Worth Chamber Music Society.

Ms. Luperi has served as Lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, Adjunct Faculty at Texas Christian University, and has been on faculty at Brandon University (Canada), the New York Summer Music Festival, the Filarmónica Jóven de Colombia, and the Buffet Crampon Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.

Victoria Luperi is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Donald Montanaro. She began her music education in her native Argentina with Oscar Gieco, and later studied with Richard Hawkins and Yehuda Gilad. Distinctions include the First Prize in the Pasadena Instrumental Competition, the Interlochen Fine Arts Award, and the Banco Mayo Award of Buenos Aires. She has appeared in concert broadcasts on NPR’s Performance Today, WRR 101.1, WFMT, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Ms. Luperi is a Buffet Crampon USA Performing Artist, and a Vandoren Artist and Clinician.

From Intern to Executive Director

achia-floyd-croppedAchia Floyd, NRO 2016 Artistic & Education Intern, landed a job interview immediately after returning home from Breckenridge this summer.  Only a few weeks later she was hired as the new Executive Director of Tallahassee Youth Orchestras!  Overjoyed to join the team at Tallahassee Youth Orchestra, an organization Achia participated in as a youth, she looks forward to the prospect of supporting the growth of the organization. 

Achia is also in her second year of the Master of Arts in Arts Administration program at Florida State University.  “My experience with NRO coupled with my degree program has provided me the necessary ‘real world’ experience to prepare me for {this new} position,” Ms. Floyd states.

“My time at NRO definitely proved invaluable in the process of securing the position of Executive Director and was a major contributing factor in securing the position well before graduation. I cannot thank the NRO enough for allowing me to not only be a part of the team, but for providing many opportunities for my development within the field of Arts Administration. I enjoyed my NRO experience and treasure all the lessons learned this past summer.”