National Repertory Orchestra presents Mahler’s Sixth Symphony in Breckenridge |

National Repertory Orchestra presents Mahler’s Sixth Symphony in Breckenridge

The NRO welcoems back conductor Michael Stern with the Kansas City Symphony for Gustav Mahler’s Sixth Symphony on Wednesday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Riverwalk Center.
Todd Rosenberg Photography / Kansas City Symphony | Kansas City Symphony


What: The NRO Presents Mahler Symphony No. 6

Program: Gustav Mahler: “Symphony No 6 in A minor (Tragic)”

When: Wednesday, July 20, 7:30 p.m.

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

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

More Information: (970) 453-5825 or online at

The National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) will present Gustav Mahler’s larger than life Sixth Symphony on Wednesday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Riverwalk Center. He has earned a cult following for his distinct style of epic proportions. The composer’s symphonies are grand in scale, creating more of an experience than simply a concert.

After he shared the symphony with his wife Alma, she wrote, “Not one of his works came as directly from his inmost heart as this. We both wept that day. The music and what it foretold touched us deeply.”

Ironically, the “tragic” symphony was written during an exceptionally happy time in Mahler’s life. He had reached the height of his fame as a conductor, his symphonies were being performed regularly around Europe and his wife and two daughters brought him great joy.

As superstitious as Mahler was, it is fair to assume that this symphony served as a premonition of what was to come. Only years later, he suffered great tragedy including the death of his young daughter and a diagnosis with a fatal heart ailment. The Sixth Symphony was an eerie prophecy of Mahler’s tragic fate.

The first movement opens with a thumping, menacing march, which eventually gives way to a beautiful theme. This passionate melody, Alma recalls, is how he “had tried to express me in a theme.” It offers relief from the relentless, heart-pounding first subject.

A tender, lullaby follows in the Andante. Uneasiness simmers below the surface but at least for a moment, all seems to be well.

The Scherzo evolves with nightmarish intensity. Alma wrote, “He represented the unrhythmic games of the two children, tottering in zigzags over the sand. Ominously the childish voices become more and more tragic, and at the end die out in a whimper.” In a bitter twist of fate, any lighthearted moments dissolve into tragedy, leading to a colossal and utterly abject finale.

Mahler stated, “A symphony must be like the world.” He achieved this with his Sixth Symphony. All four movements are passionate and without restraint, creating an unparalleled journey for the musicians and listeners alike.

National Repertory Orchestra CEO Doug Adams said, “This is one of the most powerful symphonies you will ever hear. I guarantee you will go away deeply moved.”

The NRO welcomes conductor Michael Stern back to Breckenridge this season. Stern has embarked upon his second decade with the Kansas City Symphony, hailed for its artistic ascent, original programming, organizational development and stability, and the extraordinary growth of its varied audiences since his tenure began. Additionally, he has appeared with numerous orchestras in the United States and around the world as guest conductor and serves on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

The National Repertory Orchestra is comprised of 88 musicians from around the world who are preparing to embark on professional music careers. They are chosen from approximately 1,000 applicants and present a series of classical concerts and community events over the course of the summer in Breckenridge and throughout Summit County.

Tickets for this concert range from $25-40 and are $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. The NRO would like to thank its generous sponsors for this concert: Blue River Bistro and Benson Family Foundation.

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