Eric Thomas GratzEric Thomas Gratz, NRO alumnus, tells us about his NRO experience and his life since Breckenridge in 2012…

“I cannot emphasize enough how important the NRO was in helping me transition into the professional orchestra world. The intense daily schedule was, of course, physically demanding, but it was the mental strength I developed that proved key in making the past two years successful.

When I left Breckenridge in August of 2012, I was just about to begin working on my master’s degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. I won a place on the Houston Symphony sub list the following month, and began playing frequently with the HSO, while also serving as a rotating concertmaster of the Symphony and Chamber Orchestra at Shepherd.

In the fall of 2013, I decided to take the concertmaster audition for the San Antonio Symphony.  After winning the audition, I played two trial weeks with the Symphony and immediately felt at home. Instead of leaving school, I decided to do double duty of school and work in two different cities, beginning officially with the SAS in January.

It has been quite the journey, but I am pleased to announce that I recently graduated from Rice. And wouldn’t you know, the guest conductor this week in San Antonio is none other than Carl Topilow! We’ve had a great time catching up, and I’m sure our paths will cross many times in the future.”

Eric, thank you for being a part of our NRO alumni family and for sharing your story.  Best of luck and please keep in touch!