NRO Announces ’18 Assistant Librarian

IsomuraMusic_021croppEri Isomura is a librarian, percussionist and keyboardist based in Minneapolis. She has been working in the Minnesota Orchestra Music Library for the last six years under the direction of Paul Gunther and Maureen Conroy. In addition, she is the librarian for the Wayzata Symphony Orchestra, administrative for the Hill House Chamber Players, and a rehearsal assistant for Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. She received her Master’s in Music in percussion from The Boston Conservatory, and continues to pursue marimba and new music performance as a freelance artist.

After serving as the NRO’s Library Fellow during the 2017 festival, she is thrilled to join the NRO team for another fantastic summer season, this time as Assistant Librarian!

NRO Welcomes New Development Director

Asa_Hat_Picture_2017Åsa Armstrong joined the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) on December 11, 2017 as the Director of Development.  Born and raised in Sweden, Åsa has called Breckenridge home for the past 26 years, where she resides with her husband Olin, and their two children Heidi and Max. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming with a B.A. in Communications, Åsa has dedicated her career to development work for nonprofit organizations such as The Summit Foundation, Bristlecone Foundation and most recently Keystone Science School.  “My personal mission in life is to provide youth and adults with opportunities to pursue their passions and goals in life” says Åsa, and adds “we can all use a helping hand to reach our dreams, weather it is to embark on a music career or simply spend a summer away from home to experience the joy of being surrounded by high-caliber musicians as mentors.” Åsa is currently a member of the Summit County Rotary Club, where she served as the Youth Exchange Officer for the past five years.  “Throughout my career and volunteer work I have been fortunate to fulfill my personal mission and I’m looking forward to working with the NRO in Changing Lives Through Music!

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.

Letter to You from NRO Alumnus

Dear NRO Supporter,

Benny Button croppedMy name is Thomas Carpenter, and I was honored to be the principal cellist with the National Repertory Orchestra this summer. My time at this renowned festival was an extremely positive experience in my progression as an orchestral musician. It was a rewarding challenge to play two concerts per week with two full days of preparation along with a dress rehearsal – all while playing a high level performance with a rich variety of repertoire.

There was also something so fulfilling about performing with friends whom I have known from other festivals as well as with so many new and talented musicians. The collaboration with these friends both new and old will surely last a lifetime and I will treasure those relationships. In addition to my fellow performers, I truly enjoyed getting to know the various donors, host parents, and concert goers this summer. It was a privilege to perform some of the most gorgeous pieces ever written in such a beautiful place like Breckenridge for this appreciative audience.

I recently won a job with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra cello section, and the fast pace of the programming at NRO has truly given me many great opportunities to grow as a musician especially as I move into this new chapter of my career. Your contributions either by your donations, or attending the performances at the NRO fuel our dreams as well as our determination to be the best we can be as musicians and performers. We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for us and for the National Repertory Orchestra.

Thomas Carpenter

Thanks to an anonymous donor all donations made by September 30, 2017 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $15,000!

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!

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.


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.