The NRO performs two full orchestra concerts each week in Breckenridge’s beautiful Riverwalk Center between late June and mid-August. In addition, members of the NRO take part in smaller chamber concerts during the festival, and the full orchestra plays at several other locations in the state. NRO Alumni currently play in virtually every major and regional orchestra in the U. S. and in orchestras world-wide.
During his 30 years with the National Repertory Orchestra, Maestro Carl Topilow has led the orchestra to the forefront of summer music festival programs. Every winter, Maestro Topilow and distinguished NRO alumni audition more than 800 young musicians from leading conservatories and music schools in the US and Canada. The finest 89 musicians are chosen for an eight-week, intensive, orchestral fellowship and summer residency in Breckenridge, Colorado. The pre-eminent career-preparatory experience for these musicians is the rigorous rehearsal and performance schedule, during which an entire orchestral season—29 concert—is compressed into eight weeks of demanding repertoire. Not only must these musicians play with a whole complement of new colleagues, but they must also perform a wide range of material with only a few rehearsals for each performance. At the end of the summer, they have developed strong skills under pressure and have brought their musicianship to new heights.
During their summer fellowship, National Repertory Orchestra musicians also take part in the NRO's Education and Community Engagement Program, which prepares the musicians for an active role in the communities they will be serving. For symphony orchestras to survive and thrive, musicians need to be advocates for classical music in all aspects of life. The NRO provides such skills and experience through a summer education track. Career development classes such as mock auditions, contract negotiations, finance for musicians, and training in music therapy and early childhood interaction, address the often neglected extra-musical aspects of being a professional orchestra musician.
NRO musicians also take part in community engagement events throughout the summer including performances at area preschools and hospice centers. They receive training in interpersonal skills for community engagement events, networking, and speaking with the media. The NRO believes the sustainability of the modern orchestra is dependent on the active participation of its musicians beyond their extraordinary musical abilities. This past season, the National Repertory Orchestra partnered with St. Anthony Summit Medical Center to raise awareness surrounding the healing impacts of music therapy. With training by renowned music therapist Dr. Deforia Lane, NRO musicians conducted weekly music therapy sessions at the Frisco hospital.