Conductor Michael Stern is Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony, Founding Artistic Director, and Principal Conductor of the Iris Orchestra and recently named Music Director of the Stamford Symphony in Connecticut and the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Michael Stern and Kansas City have been hailed for their remarkable artistic ascent, original programming, organizational development and stability and the extraordinary growth of its varied audiences since his tenure began.
Carl Topilow was the Music Director and Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra for 42 years. He has assisted in the training of talented young musicians and conductors for positions in symphonic orchestras in the United States and abroad.
Topilow is renowned worldwide for his versatility, whether he is holding a conductor’s baton or his trademark red clarinet. He is a multi-talented virtuoso who is equally at home in classical and popular music both as conductor and instrumentalist. Carl’s pops performances blend the music of Broadway and Hollywood, as well as popular music, light classics and jazz, often finding an occasion to include a number on his array of brightly colored clarinets. His unique approach to pops programming includes extensive audience involvement and true showmanship. Read More>>>
Full-Time, Year-Round Staff
David DePeters, CEO
Always looking for balance in his life, Dave DePeters spent his musical career performing with some of the nation’s finest orchestras while at the same time, searching for outlets that complimented a successful life in music.
Mr. DePeters has served as CEO of the National Repertory Orchestra since April of 2017. Prior to the NRO, Dave’s experiences included many positions with the Iris Orchestra in Germantown, TN including personnel manager, general manager and executive director. Read More>>>
Alexis Luque, Director of Operations and Education
Alexis Luque started with the National Repertory Orchestra as Director of Operations and Education in January of 2021. Originally from Honduras, he started his bassoon studies at the Escuela Nacional de Música under the guidance of Oscar Orlando Meza, Principal Bassoon of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Honduras.
In September of 2007, Alexis moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. He became a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and studied Bassoon Performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Read More>>>
Åsa Armstrong, Director of Development
Åsa Armstrong joined the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) on December 11, 2017, as the Director of Development. Born and raised in Sweden, Åsa has called Breckenridge home for the past 26 years, where she resides with her husband Olin, and their two children Heidi and Max.
Since graduating from the University of Wyoming with a B.A. in Communications, Åsa has dedicated her career as a development professional for nonprofit organizations such as The Summit Foundation, Bristlecone Foundation, and Keystone Science School. Read More>>>
Carrie Benefiel, Director of Marketing
Carrie Benefiel joined the National Repertory Orchestra as the Director of Marketing in April of 2019. Originally from Anderson, IN, Carrie attended Ball State University and has called Summit County, CO, home for nearly 20 years. Carrie shares, “I have been in love with music and the arts my whole life.”
Her work history includes an extensive background in marketing, public relations, and events with Vail Resorts, the Town of Dillon, and many other private contractors in Indiana and Colorado. Read More>>>
Debbie Higgs, Director of Finance
Debbie Higgs, Director of Finance, joined the National Repertory Orchestra in July of 2018 as Finance and Office Manager. Debbie was born and raised in England but has called Breckenridge, CO, and the United States home for the past 12 years.
Debbie gained her accounting qualifications while working for a busy bank in England, then relocated to Breckenridge while employed by a United Kingdom-owned vacation company in the Ski Industry.
Darrin Blume is looking forward to another year as the Production Manager with the National Repertory Orchestra. After graduating college with a saxophone performance degree, he auditioned and took a job with the First US Army Band performing on multiple woodwind instruments.
He served in Korea and returned from overseas to take a position with the US Army Field Band.
David Bullman is a retired veteran of the U.S. Army Music Program. There he served as both a clarinetist and an administrator in a variety of locations in the United States and Europe. Most recently, he held the position of Tour Director with the U.S. Army Field Band where he oversaw the staff responsible for all aspects of tour planning, educational outreach as well as print, digital, and video products required to support the Field Band’s tour performances.
Appointed in 2013 as National Repertory Orchestra Principal Librarian, percussionist, and librarian Paul Gunther began studying music at age 7. His teachers include Boston Symphony Percussionist Lawrence White and Minnesota Orchestra Timpanist Jack Moore. Paul played Percussion professionally in the US Army Band before receiving his honorable discharge as a conscientious objector.
As a professional non-playing orchestra member, Paul has worked in orchestra libraries since joining the Minnesota Orchestra in 1975, where he worked as Assistant Librarian until 1978. Read More>>>