National Repertory Orchestra presents Barber Violin Concerto in Breckenridge |

National Repertory Orchestra presents Barber Violin Concerto in Breckenridge

Bailey Salinero
Special to the Daily
Maestro Andrew Litton will take the podium on Saturday, June 18 for a performance by the National Repertory Orchestra.
Steve J. Sherman / Courtesy National Repertory Orchestra |


What: NRO presents “Barber Violin Concerto”

Program: Samuel Barber: “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, op. 14”; Serge Prokofiev: “Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, op. 100”

When: Saturday, June 18, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: $25-$40, $7/youth 18 & under

More Information: 970-547-3100 or online at

On Saturday, June 18 at 7:30 pm, the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) will perform two diverse works — one from turn-of-the-century America and the other from Russia.

Maestro Andrew Litton will take the podium, leading the orchestra in these challenging works. He boasts an impressive bio, including his current positions as music director of the Colorado Symphony and New York City Ballet. During his 12-year tenure with Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic, he helped the orchestra reach international acclaim, performing in many of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. He also guest conducts orchestras and opera companies across the globe and has a discography of more than 120 recordings.

The evening will begin with Barber’s “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra” performed by NRO co-concertmaster Hye Jin Koh. Barber gained popularity for his most frequently performed work, “Adagio for Strings.” His penchant for sweet melodies shines in the “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.”

The first movement opens with an effortless yet elegant theme. The violinist occasionally breaks the smooth, serene setting with a virtuosic outburst. Throughout, you will hear a jazzy undertone — a great influence on American music at the time.

The second movement, much like the “Adagio for Strings” is unapologetically lush. A beautiful yet melancholy theme is introduced in the oboe and echoed in the strings. The violin alternates between rhapsodic statements and stormy outpourings of raw emotion.

The third movement is a furious feat of endurance for the soloist.

Prokofiev wrote his Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major in Moscow, Russia at the height of WWII. Having achieved international acclaim as a composer, he was treasured by his native land, what had recently become the Soviet Union. After a 16-year hiatus, many celebrated the composer’s return to symphonic form. In his characteristic “Prokofievian” style, the 5th Symphony is bold, dynamic and eccentric. After its U.S. premier with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conductor Serge Koussevitzky remarked that “(The Fifth Symphony is) the greatest musical event in many, many years. The greatest since Brahms and Tchaikovsky. It is magnificent. It is yesterday, it is today, it is tomorrow.”

The first movement begins understated, quickly blooming into an expansive, heroic opening theme. By harnessing the force of the entire orchestra in moments of spectacular grandeur, Prokofiev conveys the resilience and strength of the human spirit. Concluding with an explosive Coda, the first movement is a celebration of humanity. Shortly after the premier, he wrote, “I conceived of it as glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit … praising the free and happy man — his strength, his generosity and the purity of his soul.”

He follows the opening with a spirited yet menacing Scherzo. Playfully devious melodies dance throughout the orchestra. Attempt to follow along as themes are passed from one instrument to the next, altered and hidden beneath the complex texture. This movement is praised as one of Prokofiev’s most wild and hypnotizing scherzos.

The stirring third movement is a far cry from the jovial scherzo. Tragic, lush melodies intersperse with moments of sheer force. With its ominous undercurrents and haunting themes, the third movement likely represents a grotesque funeral march or wartime elegy.

The finale begins by reminiscing upon the opening theme of the symphony. After a brief moment of nostalgia, all is thrown aside and a playful, raucous dance begins. There will be playful banter between the instruments and themes soaring high above a relentless rhythmic motor. These themes are interrupted with brash outbursts only to slow and optimistically rise again.

Tickets for this concert range from $25-40 and are only $7 for audience members ages 18 and under. Tickets may be purchased at the Riverwalk Center Box Office, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge, by phone at (970) 547-3100 or online at

Bailey Salinero is a marketing intern with the NRO. Sponsors for this event are Ski Village Resorts, Karen & Don White, LIV Sotheby’s International Realty and C.B. & Potts Restaurant & Taphouse.

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