NRO features Topilow pops tonight
If you haven’t had a chance to hear the National Repertory Orchestra this summer, now is the time. After seven weeks of performances and a demanding rehearsal schedule, the young musicians are on top of their game.Tonight’s concert is an annual favorite: Topilow Pops highlights conductor Carl Topilow’s accessible picks. In addition to fun programming, the show features musicians Brandie Phillips and Peter Simon.Simon has built a reputation as one of the finest musicians in the nation, through his distinctive and versatile playing. While many artists achieve either critical acclaim or audience recognition, Simon has managed to do both. A native of Denver, he has played at embassies, cruise ships and at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Centre, as well as internationally. He believes classical music is meant for everyone, regardless of age or background, and in an attempt to expose everyone to the genre, he performs through school districts and civic and social organizations.
Phillips is taking part in the NRO for her second summer.”Last year was a phenomenal summer of making music with fabulous musicians in the beautiful town of Breckenridge,” she said. “The people of Summit County are so supportive of the orchestra, which makes the experience that much more exceptional.”This summer has been no different.”We have all grown quite close as an orchestra through the time we have spent together and the music we have made,” she said.She took some time to answer a Q&A for the Summit Daily:What keeps you disciplined? My parents bought me my first violin when I was 4 years old, so I do not remember a time when practicing was not part of my daily schedule; to me, it’s a way of life. As I have gotten older, moved out on my own, and had to keep myself disciplined, I find that what really keeps me motivated is my amazing teacher, my musical colleagues, and ultimately, my determination to succeed in my goals.Other interests: I very much enjoy reading and learning. In addition, I have wonderfully supportive family and friends whom I love spending time with. One of my biggest passions is traveling. I have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to many beautiful places in the U.S., as well as Europe. Life to me is an adventure; it’s all about the memories you make and the people you share it with.Why is orchestral music important to you, and why do you want to share it with your community? My father is an orchestra director, so I have always been surrounded by orchestral music. Playing in symphony orchestras has always felt so natural to me and unquestionably what I want to do with my life. Aldous Huxley once said, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” While I wholeheartedly believe this for every type of music, classical music, in particular, holds a very special quality that is untouchable by any other; it is an art form to which everyone can relate. Its power cannot compare to theater, television, movies or even books or paintings. It stands alone and will continue to do so for generations to come. Hopefully, there will continue to be those people who feel that classical music takes them to that special place where they can get away from the fast pace daily life that has become the standard today. It is my job as a classical musician to try to make a connection between the music and the audience by any means possible and to make them realize that classical music is an important part of our life and culture.Goals: While studying and performing great music from the vast solo violin repertoire is very exciting, to me, there is no bigger thrill than the excitement I get from playing orchestral music. For as long as I can remember, it has always been my dream to be an orchestral violinist in a major symphony orchestra. With music and every other aspect of my life, I have always tried to live my life so that I am prepared for whatever opportunity presents itself. I want to be ready when the door swings open, wherever that door may lead me.Most rewarding musical experience: Growing up, I used to look forward to the day that I would finally be able to play in my father’s high school orchestra. My most memorable musical experience in 20 years of playing has been performing at Carnegie Hall with my high school orchestra with my dad on the podium. This is definitely not something that many people they can say they have gotten to do with their father!What are some of the challenges and rewards in music: The music profession is definitely not an easy one. With few jobs opening in orchestras every year, coupled with the many musicians seeking these openings, it’s difficult to win auditions and can oftentimes take many years. With that said, music is also one of the most rewarding professions. The performances where you feel the audience connecting with what you’re saying make all of the challenges worthwhile.A childhood memory: When I was little, I used to play “orchestra.” When I did not think anyone was watching, I would borrow one of my dad’s CDs. I would get my little wooden chair and my big Manhasset stand, and I would set my open case down right beside my chair. It was always fun to walk out to the imaginary applause, turn to my “audience,” bow and turn to tune my orchestra.
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