Sadie Hamrin is back in Breckenridge and ready for her long-awaited solo performance

When Sadie Hamrin first arrived in Breckenridge last summer, she didn’t fully believe she was worthy of her position in the National Repertory Orchestra.

“I came in with a lot of imposter syndrome,” says the 24-year-old violinist. “I had never done anything to this extent, been part of anything that replicated a professional orchestra. I had a lot of questions about myself.”

Thrown into the rapidly churning machine of multiple weekly performances, Hamrin, as co-concertmaster, was walking the walk. She was about to embark on the biggest moment of her stage career – a solo performance of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

Sadie Hamrin

Sadie Hamrin. By Elaine Collins

It was mid-July and she was making a sushi lunch run to the grocery store on her bike. A dangling tote bag abruptly changed the course of her summer. It snagged a pedal and she went over the handlebars. The crash resulted in a broken collarbone and surgery. Luckily, the violin on her back was unscathed, but she was sidelined for several weeks. She returned for the last two concerts of the summer, but missed her big moment as a soloist.

On July 10, she gets a second chance.

“Honestly, I feel it’s a blessing in disguise,” she says. “It’s been nice to have the piece settle in and get absorbed in it. Now I know I can play it at my best.”

Hamrin performs Leshnoff’s Concerto as part of the July 10 Light, Fire, and Water concert. A powerful homage to the NRO’s 2024 Elements of Nature theme, the performance also features Carl Nielsen’s Helios Overture Op. 17, Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Fire Symphony” and Claude Debussy’s La Mer.

Hamrin describes the Leshnoff piece as a work of extremes on the sound scale.

“It definitely has some technically challenging pitches,” she says. “There’s such beautiful, tender moments, also moments of complete chaos. It’s reflective of the Holocaust and with that, has such meaning. I love the range and sound of it.”

Growing up in Bemidji, Minnesota, Hamrin began playing violin at age 3. Unlike most NRO fellows who follow a lifelong path of constant professional instruction, her young musical career underwent a lengthy hiatus.

“At 10, the only teacher in my town moved away. I didn’t take regular lessons again until undergrad,” she says.

Earning her Bachelor of Music in 2022 from Baylor University, where she performed with the Waco Symphony, was named Outstanding Graduating Instrumental Performer and also excelled as a Division 1 runner, Hamrin completed her Master of Music from McGill University this spring. 

Buoyed by the support of her fellow NRO musicians, the confidence gained from last year’s tumultuous debut in Breckenridge and earning a spot in the prestigious New World Symphony this fall, Hamrin’s imposter syndrome is gone.

“Partially I feel I’m in a mentor role this summer, but also that I’m still being mentored,” she says. “I want to become more confident as a leader, but with that comes learning from everyone around me. Everyone is so good here and has unique talents you can learn from.”

Ultimately, Hamrin’s aspiration as a musician is to use her violin as her true voice.

“Honestly, the goal is feeling confident enough in myself that I’m using the instrument as a way to say things, as a natural extension of my body. I want to share the music and want it to sound like me. I want the instrument to say what I want to say.”

Hamrin makes her NRO solo debut during the  Light, Fire, and Water concert at 6 p.m. on July 10 at The Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.

Photos: by Elaine Collins.