Celebrating music, women, community and successful careers | SummitDaily.com

Celebrating music, women, community and successful careers

In its 59th season, the National Repertory Orchestra is showing no signs of slowing down

By Lauren Glendenning Brought to you by National Repertory Orchestra

Aspiring orchestral musicians have viewed the National Repertory Orchestra as a potential launching pad to their careers for nearly 60 years. There are about 1,000 applicants each season for just 89 or so open spots — “and when you look at the great orchestras in the world, NRO has a massive amount of representation of former NRO fellows,” said David DePeters, NRO’s chief executive officer. 

“I would have to say that NRO has to be in the top three of best orchestral music festivals in the world,” said Matthew Howard, Principal Percussion at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a 2013 NRO Percussionist. “There is no other place that offers real life experiences in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.”

This year’s concert schedule has a mix of classical performances and innovative concerts such as Toplow Pops!, an annual favorite featuring pop music, and “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” Film In Concert, which will feature the NRO performing the film’s Academy Award-winning score live as the audience watches the film on a hugh high-definition screen. This season also features an entire series dedicated to women in the arts.

Conductor Tania Miller

High acclaim without forgetting its roots

One of the organization’s most coveted assets is Music Director Carl Topilow, who’s in his 42nd year in that role. 

“He has seen it through so many developments and changes, he has been that consistent, guiding light for a long time,” DePeters said. 

While NRO and its annual 8-week season have garnered a reputation as a world-class, highly coveted music program for young musicians, it has never forgotten its roots as a community organization first and foremost. With exciting new programming this summer that builds upon previous seasons of community-focused events, the NRO is proving why it continues to enjoy success 59 years after it was founded.

A season-long celebration of women in the arts

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women in the United States the right to vote. The NRO wanted to highlight this important milestone with a season-long celebration of women in the arts, DePeters said. 

“There are a lot of movements now for women conductors and composers, to give them more of a showcase and voice in the orchestra world,” he said. “We thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase the great and talented women we have —composers, conductors, guest artists, visual artists, administrative people and all sorts of really talented women we have at NRO.”

Fifteen of NRO’s 16 Riverwalk concerts this season features a woman composer, guest artist or conductor, or some combination of the three, proving NRO’s commitment to this celebration (see factbox for details). 

“The object is not just to showcase great, talented women in the arts, but also to hopefully act as an inspiration for a younger generation to consider arts as a vocation,” DePeters said. 

For the community

As the NRO has grown to become a world-class summer music festival in Summit County, the organization has added programs over the years that aim to give back to the community that supports it so much. 

Children’s concerts have been part of the schedule every year since 1971. And DePeters said many people don’t realize that all NRO rehearsals at the Riverwalk are free and open to the public. 

“We broadcast the rehearsals over the lawn through outdoor speakers. People can walk in, sit down and enjoy the rehearsal for one minute, 10 minutes or an hour,” DePeters said. “You can bring your lunch-in and eat while listening, or picnic outside if you want.”

In 2017 when a nasty wildfire broke out in Breckenridge, NRO held a special concert and donated 5 percent of the proceeds to first responders. That was the precipice for a news annual tradition to give back to local charities. 

This summer, NRO is holding more than 35 free outdoor performances in small ensembles of two to seven musicians. These performances happen all over Breckenridge throughout the 8-week festival that kicked off in early June. In fact, NRO hosts more than 110 free events over its annual season. 

“The community gives us a tremendous amount. They support the organization, come to concerts, donate and volunteer, so we like to give back with our free concerts,” DePeters said. “Last year, NRO helped raise $20,000 for local nonprofit organizations.”

This year, the organization has selected Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Summit County’s First Responders, Building Hope and the Mountain Top Children’s Museum as recipients of its philanthropic efforts. The leadership from these organizations also have the opportunity to go on stage to talk to NRO audience about what they do. 

“Where would the community be without some of these organizations?” DePeters said. 


Women In The Arts Series

This summer, the National Repertory Orchestra has committed a large portion of its programming to the celebration of women in the arts.  This includes celebrating women composers, conductors, musicians, visual artists, and women in NRO administrative roles. 

The NRO will host special Arts Talks where these women will share details about their lives in the arts and what inspires them.

Upcoming NRO concerts

Topilow Pops!

June 29, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., $10 to $45, at Riverwalk Center

One of the most popular concerts of the NRO season, including a very special performance in honor of Kathleen Corneillier. Enjoy familiar, well-loved tunes from the movies “Grease” and “Jaws” alongside music by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Paul Anka, Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Queen, and more.

America’s Birthday Spectacular

July 4

Silverthorne: 10 to 12 p.m., FREE, at Rainbow Park

Breckenridge: 8 to 10 p.m., $10 to $30, at Riverwalk Center

Honor the stars and stripes with an unforgettable performance for America’s Birthday Spectacular, a family-friendly tribute to our great nation.

“E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” Film In Concert

July 6, $10 to $45, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge

Enjoy John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score performed live by the NRO under the direction of Carl Topilow, in sync to the film projected on a huge HD screen.

For more information or to view the full NRO summer concert schedule, visit 

http://www.NROmusic.org or call 970-453-5825.

Women in the Arts Series

Art Talk Luncheon

Monday, July 8

12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

$25 per person

Women are making a serious impact on the art industry.  We think you will love what’s on our panelists’ minds. Attendees are also invited to the NRO rehearsal with guest conductor, Tania Miller, from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Riverwalk Center.

Coppertop III at Beaver Run Resort

Panelists: Tania Miller, Erin Hannigan and the Das Blumelein Project

War and Peace

Pink Concert for Shaw Breast Center and Cancer Clinic

Tania Miller, conductor

Wednesday, July 10, 7:30 pm at the Riverwalk Center

Kids 18 and under $10, Adults $25 and up

Box Office: 970- 547-3100

Bohemian Rhapsody

Friday, July 12, 7:30 p.m. at Riverwalk Center

Alex Amsel, conductor

Benefit Concert for Mountain Top Children’s Museum

Program includes Jennifer Higdon’s, blue cathedral (note “blue cathedral” is stylized and tied with WITA)

Kids 18 and under $10, Adults $25 and up

Box Office: 970-547-3100

At the Gallery

Saturday, July 13, 5:30 to 7 p.m., at Breckenridge Gallery

Chat with local artists, Amy Evans and Hanni Bernhart

This exciting discussion will entail how the artists see the world and how their art represents them.


RSVP at nromusic.org

Tall Tales

Benefit Concert for Building Hope

Saturday, July 20, 7:30 p.m. at Riverwalk Center

Carl Topilow, conductor

Kids 18 and under $10, Adults $25 and up

Box Office: 970-547-3100

Mahler Symphony No. 5

Wednesday, July 24, 7:30 p.m. at Riverwalk Center

Karina Canellakis, conductor

Kids 18 and under $10, Adults $25 and up

Box Office: 970-547-3100

Thanks to Barbara Strauss and Paul Finkel for sponsoring NRO’s Women in the Arts Series.

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