National Repertory Orchestra presents opening concert, ‘The Red Violin’ |

National Repertory Orchestra presents opening concert, ‘The Red Violin’

Co-concertmaster Timothy Steeves, left, will perform the solo in John Corigliano’s 1999 Academy Award-winning score for “The Red Violin" at the National Repertory Orchestra's opening concert on Saturday, June 13.
Travis Wilson / National Repertory Orchestra |

If you go

What: “The Red Violin,” National Repertory Orchestra opening night concert

Program: “Luminosity,” by Anthony diLorenzo; “Don Juan,” by Richard Strauss; “Chaconne” from “The Red Violin,” by John Corigliano; Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, by Jean Sibelius

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 13

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

Cost: Tickets are $25 to $40 or $7for youth 18 and younger

More information: Call (970) 453-5825, or visit

The National Repertory Orchestra will host the opening night concert of its 56th summer season at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge Saturday, June 13. This year’s season will include 16 concerts at the Riverwalk Center, in addition to community events and a series of free ensemble concerts in Breckenridge and throughout Summit County.

The opening night program, “The Red Violin,” spans more than a century of musical excellence, including beloved staples of the late Romantic repertoire, as well as award-winning film music of today. Music director Carl Topilow, whose distinguished career as a conductor and pops orchestra front man includes 37 years with the NRO, will conduct the performances.

The first work of the night, “Luminosity,” is a composition by three-year NRO alumnus Anthony DiLorenzo. Since his time with the NRO, he has gone on to work with many of the nation’s most prominent orchestras and has also achieved considerable success in Hollywood film scoring.

With emphasis on dramatic effects for brass and percussion, “Luminosity” is exemplary of the striking musical imagery that makes DiLorenzo so effective in Hollywood. He describes the piece as an evocation of cosmic majesty.

“The music is meant to be vibrant and energetic as it mimics a distant pulsar emitting bursts of light and energy,” he said. “The star can illuminate the most wondrous display of beauty and color, showing off its magnificent power and nobility.”

The evening continues with a performance of “Don Juan,” one of the signature tone poems of the great German composer Richard Strauss. Strauss is known as an innovator of the musical language, and his innovation often presented challenges for musicians: At its 1889 premier, this tone poem presented unheard-of technical difficulties.

Through musical storytelling, “Don Juan” depicts the passions, heartbreaks and eventual downfall of the legendary Spanish libertine. The brash charisma of Don Juan’s heroic horn theme has made it one of the iconic sounds of music’s late Romantic period; listeners can gauge the hero’s mood by the inflection of this theme and by the way it interacts with the melodic themes of his lovers.

Next on the program is music from John Corigliano’s 1999 Academy Award-winning score for “The Red Violin.” The solo part for titular violin, played by co-concertmaster Timothy Steeves, is the first of the season’s many showcases for the virtuosic skills of the NRO’s talented soloists. Steeves is currently pursuing a doctorate in music arts at Rice University. His violin performance leads the orchestra through a kaleidoscope of emotions as Corigliano’s expressive music unfolds.

Jean Sibelius’s First Symphony offers a fitting end to the NRO’s first performance of the summer season. Imagined in snowy Scandinavia, the symphony’s sweeping themes will sound equally at home amid Breckenridge’s own majestic surroundings. Along with his tone poem “Finlandia” and Second Symphony, Sibelius’ First Symphony (premiered in 1899) is associated with the Finnish national awakening and corresponding struggle for independence; Sibelius himself is considered a national hero, and Finland is currently celebrating the 150th anniversary of his birth.

The first movement’s boldly original opening — a hauntingly beautiful melody for solo clarinet — prefigures the career of a man who would go on to revolutionize the symphonic form. The symphony then takes us through a gorgeous slow movement, an exuberant scherzo and, finally, the passionate return of the opening melody in the finale. Its music is an ode to the perseverance of the human spirit, a meditation on natural beauty and an exciting vision of what is to come.

Fatty’s Pizzeria and Bob and Nancy Follett are the sponsors for the NRO’s opening night concert. For more information, visit

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