NRO ‘Stunning Strings’ concert in Breckenridge features violin, cello |

NRO ‘Stunning Strings’ concert in Breckenridge features violin, cello

Michelle Lewandowski
Special to the Daily
Assistant concertmaster Jessica Ryou plays first violin with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and has served as concertmaster for the National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute and Brevard Music Festival. She is a featured violinist in Moritz Moszkowski’s Suite for Two Violins and Piano, which will be performed by the National Repertory Orchestra on Wednesday, July 9, in Breckenridge.
Special to the Daily |

If you go

What: National Repertory Orchestra presents “Stunning Strings”

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Main St., Breckenridge

Cost: $25 to $40, depending on seating, $7 for youth 18 and younger

More information: Visit, or call (970) 453-5825

Prepare to be astonished by the “stunning” talent of the National Repertory Orchestra. Led by maestro Carl Topilow, the NRO will present a concert featuring its talented string members. They will perform music by such well known composers as Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Mendelssohn and more. The performance will take place at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on Wednesday, July 9, at 7:30 p.m.

Opening the program is Edward Elgar’s Serenade in E minor, Opus 20. Composed in 1892, his “Serenade for Strings” remains among his most frequently performed works and serves as a salute to the illustrious Romantic period. Fellow Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote his “Six Children’s Pieces” in 1842. They were written as gifts for the various young children of the families with whom Mendelssohn and his wife stayed during their visit to London that year.

“Talk about a gift that keeps on giving,” said Douglas Adams, CEO of the NRO.

The musicians

Closing out the first half is Moritz Moszkowski’s Suite for Two Violins and Piano, featuring NRO violinists and assistant concertmasters Alexander Lee and Jessica Ryou.

Lee is a recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music and has performed concertos with the Eastman School Symphony and the Pittsburgh Civic and Pittsburgh Youth Symphony orchestras. He is a sub for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and a finalist for the New World Symphony.

Ryou is also serving as the NRO’s assistant concertmaster for the 2014 season. She plays first violin with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and has served as concertmaster for the NRO, National Orchestral Institute and Brevard Music Festival. Last year, she played the Dvorak Violin Concerto with the NRO and has returned for her second summer in Breckenridge. Originally scored for two violins and piano, the suite was rearranged by Topilow for orchestra.

Opening the second half of the program is Tchaikovsky’s “Pezzo Capriccioso,” Opus 62, featuring cello solo competition winner Benjamin Fryxell. The title, “Pezzo Capriccioso,” may sound upbeat but “is in no way capricious,” Adams said. “It’s rather somber, in fact, written in the key of B minor.” But the rich, dark sounds of the cello will keep listeners on the edges of their seats.

Fryxell is pursuing his Bachelor of Music degree at the Julliard School in New York. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, he has performed with the Blue Ash-Montgomery Symphony, Seven Hills Sinfonietta and Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, in 2013, he performed with the combined forces of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra as the grand-prize winner in their 2012 concerto competition.

Musical dedication

To end the evening, the NRO will perform Ottorino Respighi’s, “Botticelli Triptych.” Respighi is best known for his powerful “Roman Trilogy,” filled with heavy orchestration, but his “Boticelli Triptych” is much more intimate and alluring. The piece is based on three famous paintings by Sandro Botticelli: “Primavera” (Spring), “Adoration of the Magi” and “The Birth of Venus Adoration,” which will take listeners back to the Italian Renaissance.

This performance is dedicated to the memory of Doug Whitaker, who was the technical director for the National Repertory Orchestra from 2004 through 2010.

“He was a consummate professional who took his job seriously,” said Kerry Farrell, a friend of Whitaker’s. “No one had to be concerned about the tech details if he was on the gig. You could totally trust him. He was a surly sonofabitch sometimes, but he was also a great friend and a lovely and generous person.”

Tickets for this concert start at $25 and are $7 for those 18 and younger. Tickets may be purchased at the Riverwalk Center Box Office, 150 W. Adams, Breckenridge; by calling (970) 547-3100; or by going to The Breckenridge Welcome Center, open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., also will be selling tickets to NRO concerts. Visit the center at 203 S. Main St., or call (877) 864-0868.

For more information about the National Repertory Orchestra, visit

Michelle Lewandowski is the NRO’s marketing and public relations intern.

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