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Meet the Orchestra

The Future of Classical Music

2024 Orchestra

Each year 80 young musicians are chosen to perform with the National Repertory Orchestra, where they are trained for professional careers in music over the course of our eight-week Summer Music Festival. All musicians accepted into our intensive summer program receive full tuition, room, and board during their stay, amounting to a $10,000 merit-based scholarship per student.

During their stay in Breckenridge, the musicians undergo rigorous training and delve into a vast array of repertoire—more than any festival of its kind. Participants will undergo immersive orchestral and chamber performance opportunities under the tutelage of Music Director Michael Stern and our impressive host of guest conductors, as well as receiving instruction in masterclasses and sectionals. They also take part in our Community Engagement program, where they perform in engaging and free performances throughout Summit County, to create a vibrant cultural experience for our community while learning important fundamentals about becoming socially conscious musicians.

The program’s distinguished alumni populate the stages of major orchestras globally, a testament to the transformative impact their time at the NRO has on our musicians.

violin

Solveig Geenen

Solveig Geenen

Hometown:
Columbia, Missouri

Education:
University of Michigan SMTD, Master of Music, 2025
Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, Bachelor of Music, 2023

Bio:
Solveig Geenen is currently pursuing her master's degree at the University of Michigan studying with David Halen. She previously studied with Gerardo Ribeiro at Northwestern University. Solveig holds a section violin position with Ann Arbor Symphony. An advocate for accessible music education, Solveig served as President of the Evanston Young Artists program in her time at Northwestern, which provides free lessons to underserved students in the Chicago area. Previously, she attended the Aspen Music Festival and School as a violin fellow.

What inspired you to become a musician?
As long as I can remember, the violin has been an integral part of my life. My mom started teaching me to play the violin when I was three years old, and my sister started learning soon after. When I was young, I wanted to be just like my mom when I grew up, so naturally I wanted to play the violin like her, too! As I've gotten older, I've discovered my own connection to the violin, but my inspiration for becoming a musician will always be tied to my mom.

Name three of your favorite composers:
I love the late Beethoven string quartets and anything by Brahms. In high school, I would listen to classical music on my bus ride everyday, and I became captivated by Beethoven's quartet cycle and Brahms' symphonies. I'm also a huge fan of Prokofiev--I'm working on his Sonata for Two Violins with my sister right now, which is another one of my favorite pieces.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I love to read and write; I got an English minor in addition to my music degree at Northwestern!

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Go for a hike or a run, knit, or cook a new recipe!

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose the NRO because of the incredible opportunity to make music with so many other talented musicians and to serve in a leadership role in the ensemble. I'm really excited to be a part of such a high caliber orchestral program and to learn from my peers and the conductors. I'm also looking forward to living in Breckenridge this summer and continuing to foster my love of the outdoors through hiking and exploring the area.

Sadie Hamrin

Sadie Hamrin

Hometown:
Bemidji, Minnesota

Education:
McGill University, Master of Music, 2024
Baylor University, Bachelor of Music, 2022

Bio:
Sadie Hamrin is currently a substitute musician in the New World Symphony, recently earning her master’s degree at McGill University, where she studied with Axel Strauss and Violaine Melançon. She previously studied with Patricia Shih and Bruce Berg at Baylor University, where she was named the Outstanding Graduating Instrumental Performer, was a violinist in the Waco Symphony, and ran Division I athletics. In her free time, she loves to exercise, draw and paint, be outside, and enjoy time with friends and family.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My older sister started playing the violin when I was 3, and it was probably a mix of curiosity and competitiveness that made me say “that looks fun, mom can I have one too??” Although I ended up quitting for many years, I ended up coming back to it because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Shostakovich and Mahler - I just feel so connected to the complexity of emotions that they’re able to capture.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I take a lot of joy in naming every instrument I’ve had (my current violin’s name is Vivian Rose).

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Running! But honestly just being outdoors.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I love the NRO because it’s a summer of playing wonderful music in one of the most beautiful places. There’s such a good energy from both the musicians and the conductors we work with, and it also gives us a taste of the professional world while allowing us to take chances and build up our repertoire.

Dayeon Jang

Dayeon Jang

Hometown:
Jeonju, South Korea

Education:
Sookmyung Women's University, Bachelor of Music, 2023
Manhattan School of Music, Master of Music, 2025

Bio:
Born in Jeonju, South Korea, Dayeon Jang started playing violin at age six. Dayeon went to Jeonju Fine Art High School and graduated from Sookmyung Women's University under the guidance of Eun Kyu Yoon. Besides solo performing, Dayeon is also active as a chamber musician, an orchestra musician, and an educator. Currently, Dayeon is studying for her master's degree at Manhattan School of Music under the guidance of Luice Robert.

What inspired you to become a musician?
When I saw a violinist for the first time on TV at 6, I wanted to learn how to play the violin and it led me here. Also, it makes me happy when I play, and I want to make others happy with my music.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Dvorak, Cello concerto. It touches me a lot the melody and the deep sound.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I have been looking to find my own violin for 2 years and when I met this violin that I am currently using I felt this is mine.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I like to go on a walk, go to the art exhibition.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I really wanted to visit Colorado since there are a lot of mountains. I wanted to learn more orchestra performing experience, expand my repertoire with different conductors. Also, I wanted to make new network with people from other schools and country. Since it is full scholarship, I was so happy that I can afford it. Thank you.

Sam Jarvis

Sam Jarvis

Hometown:
Boulder, Colorado, United States

Education:
University of Colorado Boulder, BM Violin Performance and BA Chemistry, May 2024

Bio:
Growing up, Sam’s musical activities spanned violin, musical theater, and playing clarinet in his high school marching band. He previously attended the NRO in 2022 and Interlochen Arts Camp in 2019, where he was a principal violinist in World Youth Symphony Orchestra. At CU Boulder, he studied violin with Claude Sim and Alex Gonzalez. In his spare time, Sam enjoys recreating in Colorado’s bountiful outdoors, reading books, and writing poetry.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My love for playing music was fostered by my first violin teacher, Karen Romeo.

Name three of your favorite composers:
To me, Mahler, Liszt and Strauss evoke a sense of grandeur and endless possibility. I'm also deeply moved by the melodic lyricism of Russian composers like Tchaikovsky, Khachaturian and Prokofiev.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I've summited forty of Colorado's 14ers, and I'm working on bagging them all!

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to write poetry in my spare time.

Why did you choose the NRO?
The setting and people of the NRO are unrivaled by any other music festival. Having grown up in Colorado, I am deeply connected to the mountains, and I never tire of the natural beauty that surrounds us every day. The NRO is a fantastic community united by musicianship, friendship and appreciation of our incredible surroundings.

Brian Shih

Brian Shih

Hometown:
Bakersfield, California

Education:
California State University - Long Beach, B.M. Violin Performance, 2025.

Bio:
Brian Shih is currently a 3rd year undergraduate at California State University - Long Beach (CSULB) studying Violin Performance under Moni Simeonov. He has subbed for the American Youth Symphony, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, and is currently a member of the Bob Cole Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and University String Quartet at CSULB. He had spent his summers at Bakersfield International Music Festival and National Orchestral Institute + Festival.

What inspired you to become a musician?
Attending Nobuyuki Tsujii's performance of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra gave me the first inspiration for me to pursue being a professional musician back when I was in elementary school. Since then, the instruction, support, and encouragement of my first violin teacher, Ms. Elvira Arambula, motivated me to fully embrace the path to becoming a professional musician in pursuing a Music Performance degree after high school.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Camille Saint-Saëns, Johannes Brahms, Ernest Bloch

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I have a dog that never barks unless he hears me practicing. He greets people by walking up to them with his hind legs.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I like tinkering with technology, ranging from assembling keyboards, desktops, and gamepads to refurbishing or modifying audio equipment and appreciating the differences of sound profiles from various audio gear.

Why did you choose the NRO?
Ever since hearing about NRO from my friends and alumni, I've always wanted to experience their stories of growth and meeting high class musicians from around the world for myself. I am also very grateful that NRO is a festival that I can afford to attend. I look forward to maturing as a musician through the expansive repertoire, working with world-class conductors, meeting new friends, and exploring Breckenridge for the first time.

Eleanor Sturm

Eleanor Sturm

Hometown:
Carson City, Nevada

Education:
University of Maryland, College Park, Master of Music, 2025
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, 2023

Bio:
Violinist Eleanor Sturm, a graduate student at the University of Maryland, holds a Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has performed as concertmaster with the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Tahoe Symphony, Nevada All-State Orchestra, and the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. As a fellow, Eleanor attended the National Orchestral Institute+Festival, Kent Blossom Music Festival, and the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I joined the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestra program when I was nine years old, and going to rehearsal was always the highlight of my week. My passion for orchestral playing has continued to grow over the years!

Name three of your favorite composers:
Sergei Prokofiev, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák, Johannes Brahms. Even before I played violin, I especially loved Tchaikovsky's ballet music because I studied ballet when I was young.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I was born in England to American parents, and we moved to the U.S. when I was one year old. I've never had the opportunity to return but hope to someday.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to play board games and watch movies with family and friends.

Why did you choose the NRO?
The unique opportunity to perform an entire season's worth of repertoire in a summer is very exciting, and I'm looking forward to meeting other passionate and inspiring musicians.

William Thain

William Thain

Hometown:
Toronto, Ontario (Canada)

Education:
University of Michigan, SMTD - MMus Violin performance, Graduate Certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship and Leadership, 2022
McGill University, BMus Violin performance, minor in Business Management, 2019

Bio:
Canadian violinist William Thain is an emerging concertmaster and teacher, having just finished his first season as concertmaster of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and guest concertmaster of the Adrian Symphony. William completed his master’s degree studying with Danielle Belen at the University of Michigan, where he now teaches as a member of the pre-college faculty. William co-founded Ensemble Urbain, a chamber orchestra based in Montréal (Canada) that performs works by underrepresented composers.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I saw the Suzuki violin concert at my school when I was 5 and begged my mom to let me start violin lessons. The teacher almost didn't take me because according to her, I was too old!

Name three of your favorite composers:
Brahms, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Sibelius, Clarice Assad, Carlos Simon, Paul Wiancko

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I'm friends with a three-legged deer.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to cook, host a dinner party with the main dish as the theme, and just spend quality time with quality people.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I had such a fantastic experience at NRO last year that I couldn't help but say yes to another summer here in Breckenridge. NRO challenged me to grow as an orchestral player, a leader, and as a soloist, and I'm excited to see what more there is to learn!

Jiddu Vega

Jiddu Vega

Hometown:
Miami, FL

Education:
Carnegie Mellon University: Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance, Minor in Orchestral Conducting - 2023
Carnegie Mellon University: Master of Music in Violin Performance - 2025

Bio:
Jiddu Vega is a 22 year old violinist and conductor from Miami, FL. He is currently finishing his first year of the Master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University. He has won and has been selected as a finalist for numerous awards, including the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition at Carnegie Hall, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Fellowship, X-Factor and Quartet Award with SPHINX at the Curtis Institute of Music, and more. Jiddu holds his Bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon University under Andrés Cárdenes.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My mother who is a pianist and who has always supported me since day one, but also playing with so many amazing musicians like Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Leonard Slatkin. These are all my heroes and continue to inspire me every day.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Gustav Mahler, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, J.S Bach. My favorite symphony is Mahler's 9th symphony. It encompasses everything about life, and from the moment I heard it, it really had an effect on me, especially the last movement which is something that cannot be described with words.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I conduct! I also love the outdoors and I love sitting at the piano and composing.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love going on hikes, fishing, rowing or running, and of course spending time with my family and my french bulldog named Mahler.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose NRO because I want to further my career as an orchestral musician. I have always wanted to pursue this path, as my main love in music resides with orchestral literature, both as a violinist and a conductor. It is an amazing opportunity to learn all of these amazing pieces of music, with top tier conductors and musicians. I am very grateful for this opportunity every day.

viola

Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan

Hometown:
Patchogue, New York

Education:
Manhattan School of Music (Bachelor of Music, 19')
University of Memphis (Master of Music, 23')

Bio:
Originally from Long Island, New York, Michael Brennan regularly performs with orchestras, chamber ensembles, and in solo recitals all throughout the United States. Recent appearances include section violinist/violist with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall’s “Link Up” Orchestra, and the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. Michael began the violin at fourteen years old and completed his education at Manhattan School of Music and the University of Memphis.

What inspired you to become a musician?
There is nothing I love more than making music with other people. Music has connected me with the most incredible teachers, colleagues, and friends. I am grateful for the ability to communicate and celebrate life through music.

Name three of your favorite composers:
J.S. Bach, Mozart, Mahler, Strauss, and Rachmaninov

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I also play violin!

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Spending time with friends and pets.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I know NRO to be a wonderful opportunity to gain knowledge and experience as an orchestral musician. This program will allow me to work under exceptional conductors and connect with talented musicians who are also pursuing a career in music. I am excited and grateful for this experience.

Aiden Yi-Hung Jeng

Aiden Yi-Hung Jeng

Hometown:
Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Education:
Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, Master of Music, 2025
National Taiwan Normal University, Bachelor of Music, 2022

Bio:
Aiden Yi-Hung Jeng is a violist from Taiwan who started playing viola at the age of ten. Currently, he is a graduate student at Northwestern University studying under Professor Helen Callus. He earned his Bachelor of Music from National Taiwan Normal University, studying under Kuan-Chen Huang.
Having performed as principal viola of Northwestern University Baroque Music Ensemble and Sunshine Taipei Symphony Orchestra, he's passionate about solo viola performances. Yet, he also loves playing in chamber ensembles and orchestras.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My grandfather's love for music deeply influenced me. Playing music together during my childhood ignited my passion for it, leading me to pursue a career in music.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Bach's music has a remarkable power to bring calmness and serenity, offering me relaxation whenever I listen to it.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I love eating stinky tofu, even though I know it's not everyone's cup of tea.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I enjoy wandering around and exploring new cuisines.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose the NRO for its outstanding reputation as a symphony orchestra. Furthermore, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to explore Colorado during the summer, make new friends, and gain valuable experience playing in an orchestra.

Alexis Mitrushi

Alexis Mitrushi

Hometown:
Houston, TX USA

Education:
Oberlin Conservatory BM ‘22
Mannes School of Music MM ‘24

Bio:
Alexis Mitrushi graduated from Oberlin Conservatory in 3.5 years with her Bachelor’s Degree in Viola Performance, as well as a minor in GSFS, studying with Kirsten Docter. She is currently in her 2nd year of her Master’s program at Mannes School of Music, studying with Daniel Panner. She has served as a substitute violist of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra and Westside Chamber Players, and she has also taught in numerous places in NYC + Ohio. In her free time, Alexis loves watching studio ghibli films, being outside, and reading.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I watched the New Years Vienna Philharmonic concert with my mom growing up on TV and absolutely knew I wanted to do that.

Name three of your favorite composers:
I love Shostakovich and Rebecca Clarke. A lot of their pieces just resonate with me emotionally.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I am Albanian-American.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Watching studio ghibli films, being outside in nature, and hanging out with loved ones

Why did you choose the NRO?
I am very passionate about music making and know I want to do orchestra in the future, so I love this opportunity to be in a tight knit orchestral community making music in a beautiful environment. I am very much looking forward to working on all of the pieces and hopefully making some lifelong friendships.

Sarah Nichols

Sarah Nichols

Hometown:
Albany, New York

Education:
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Master of Music in Viola Performance, 2025
Baldwin Wallace University, Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance, 2023

Bio:
Sarah Nichols is currently in the first year of her Masters at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she received a full tuition scholarship to study with Dr. Catharine Lees. She received her Bachelor's degree from Baldwin Wallace University, under the tutelage of Cleveland Orchestra violist Lembi Veskimets. In addition to playing music, Sarah loves cooking, spending time with friends, being outside, and soaking up everything life has to offer.

What inspired you to become a musician?
Music has been a constant companion throughout my life. Listening to music was a way for me to spend my free time and talking about music was a way I related to other people. I don’t know if I ever decided to become a musician, I think I always was one.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Picking an all-time favorite is hard, but lately I have been moved by Benjamin Britten's “Lachrymae: Reflections on a Song of Dowland.” It is a piece I have known for a long time, but did not fully appreciate until I had the chance to perform it earlier this year. Now when I hear Lachrymae, I am struck by the arc of the final variation and its seamless transition into the reverent Dowland tune.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
An interesting thing about me is that I love to make things. When I’m not using my hands to practice or perform, I’m usually using them to cook or crochet or sew. Just like in music, I’m always chasing new inspiration.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love spending time outside, especially finding a sunny spot of grass to relax in.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose the NRO because I love being in an orchestra and I love Colorado. Performing with the NRO in such a beautiful place seemed like the perfect way to spend my summer!

Daisy Swanson

Daisy Swanson

Hometown:
Pacific Grove, California

Education:
California State University of Long Beach, Bachelor of Music, 2024

Bio:
Daisy Swanson recently completed their studies at the California State University of Long Beach's Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, studying with Jason Bonham. They served as the principal violist of the American Youth Symphony, the Bob Cole Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the California Young Artists Symphony. Daisy has also performed with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, National Orchestral Institute + Festival, Festival Napa Vally Orchestra, and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. 

What inspired you to become a musician?
The first time I played in my youth symphony, I instantly fell in love with the orchestra sound.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Two of my all-time favorites include Ludwig van Beethoven and Gustav Mahler because of how their music dives into human nature.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I enjoy practicing my handwriting and calligraphy with fountain pens and other writing instruments.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love cooking meals and baking treats for my friends and family!

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose the NRO because it gives me the opportunity to learn a lot of repertoire at the highest level, meet lots of people passionate about music from around the world, work with world-renowned conductors, and to immerse myself in the beauty of Breckenridge!

cello

Haley Rasmussen

Haley Rasmussen

Hometown:
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

Education:
Carnegie Mellon University; Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cello Performance, Minor in Music Education, Minor in Psychology, 2023
Carnegie Mellon University; Advanced Music Studies Certificate in Instrumental Performance, expected 2024

Bio:
Haley Rasmussen is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. There, she held the Principal chair in the CMU Philharmonic for three years, played in the Honors Quartet for two years, and won the Philharmonic Award for Performance. This past summer was spent playing with the Adirondack Performing Arts Fellowship, and during a recent summer, she attended the Josef Gingold Chamber Music Festival of Miami. During her time at Carnegie Mellon, Haley studied with Anne Martindale-Williams, Principal Cellist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

What inspired you to become a musician?
The very first real piece of repertoire I ever played in an orchestra was Franz Liszt's Les preludes at the Csehy Summer School of Music. Even though I played maybe 20% of the notes, I so clearly remember feeling a passion and desire for collaborating in music I had never felt before.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2; Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2; Mahler 9; There are moments in all of these pieces that I could listen to on a never-ending loop.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I can quote the entirety of Monster's Inc.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to play board games with my friends. We usually leave mad at each other, however.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I have many reasons for choosing to play with the NRO this summer. But one special reason is that Eine Alpinesinfonie is my dream piece. I have heard it live, listened to it dozens of times, and have it on vinyl. Over the past few years, I have also developed a strong passion for leading in orchestra, and am truly excited and honored to get the opportunity to do so with the NRO. And of course, the history of excellence and opportunity to collaborate with other fine musicians and world-renown conductors is something that no musician would want to pass up!

Matthew Rhee

Matthew Rhee

Hometown:
Syosset, NY

Education:
Cleveland Institute of Music, Master of Music, 2025
Gordon College, Bachelor of Music, 2022

Bio:
Matthew Rhee, a native of New York, began musical studies at the age of 6 at Queens College through a Suzuki program. He has studied under Julia Bruskin, Brittney Dagro, Marion Feldman, and Rafael Popper-Keizer. In his senior year at Gordon College, Matthew won the Gordon College Concerto Competition 2021-2022 and performed the following year with the Gordon Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Matthew is studying under Dr. Melissa Kraut pursing a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy.

What inspired you to become a musician?
The past teachers I've had and am currently studying with have inspired me to pursue excellence in the performance field.

Name three of your favorite composers:
My all-time favorite composer is Ludwig van Beethoven.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I used to play football in high school despite my short stature.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I like to cook and binge watch hulu shows.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose NRO because I had a really positive experience the previous summer. I love working with fellow musicians seeking a career in orchestral playing and I love performing in all the concerts with different variety of programs. This summer, I am looking forward to meeting new people and working with familiar and new conductors. I also love Breckenridge as a summer spot! Not too cold but also not too warm.

Julia Weldon

Julia Weldon

Hometown:
Norman, OK, USA

Education:
McGill Schulich School of Music, Master of Music, 2023
Oberlin Conservatory, Bachelor of Music, 2019

Bio:
Julia Weldon currently resides in Montreal, Canada where she recently graduated with her masters under Brian Manker at McGill University. While there, she won a student engagement award to co-host a symposium on interdisciplinary creative collaboration, which featured students from across music performance, education, and composition. Last year, Julia spent six months living in Japan as a cellist in the Toho Academy Orchestra.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I was inspired by little red CD player- I loved to listen to my collection of Yo-Yo Ma and Julie Andrews CDs when I was a kid.

Name three of your favorite composers:
One of my favorite composers is Poulenc because of the sprightly leaps! It feels like a string of unexpected but satisfying phrases.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
My middle school orchestra director (who played cello too!) mentioned how cool it would be to have a go go gadget cello. So as a retirement gift, my dad helped me build a (not playable) foldable cello for him!

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
One of my favorite things to do is ride my bicycle and daydream about more bike centric cities.

Why did you choose the NRO?
After an amazing orchestra experience, I realized how much I wanted to keep delving into this specific art. I have so many questions and so much I want to learn to play!

double bass

Colin Roberts

Colin Roberts

Hometown:
Houston, Texas

Education:
University of Houston, Bachelor of Music in Double Bass Performance, 2026

Bio:
Colin Roberts is a double bassist born in Busan, South Korea, and raised in Houston, Texas. He’s currently under the tutelage of Eric Larson of the Houston Symphony at the University of Houston. This past summer, Colin attended the Texas Music Festival and was a finalist for their annual Concerto Competition. He has also been an honorable mention for the University of Houston Concerto Competition and a finalist for the Baylor Concerto Competition.

What inspired you to become a musician?
Being able to put a smile on the listeners face. Opening the audience to new feelings and memories is what it is all about.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Giovanni Bottesini, Antonín Dvořák - Listening to their music will put you in another atmosphere, while also telling a story.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I'm proud to have been adopted from South Korea as an infant and hope to go back someday to meet my birth family.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to play and keep up with basketball as well as call myself a bit of a "foodie".

Why did you choose the NRO?
The reputation of NRO is highly recognized. To advance my career, I believe the National Repertory Orchestra is the right place for me to grow and blossom as a musician. I hope to meet many wonderful people and grow as a person and a musician.

Andrew Vinther

Andrew Vinther

Hometown:
Lynnwood, Washington, USA

Education:
The Juilliard School - Bachelor of Music 2025

Bio:
Andrew Vinther, 21, began his studies of double bass at age 8. A student of Joseph Conyers, Vinther attends the Juilliard School and is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music. Vinther is a multifaceted instrumentalist who has performed with Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra All Stars under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Juilliard Orchestra, Juilliard Jazz ensembles, and Juilliard 415. Cross-genre expansion and interdisciplinary works are at the forefront of his interest, aided by the endless versatility of the double bass.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I was inspired to become a musician primarily from growing up in a musical family. Seeing from a young age that a fulfilling career in music is a real possibility, and to watch my parents do so, very much made me want to purse music professionally.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Some of my favorite composers are Astor Piazzola, Amy Beach, Duke Ellington, Johannes Brahms, and Florence Price.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
The double bass is the most versatile and multidisciplinary instrument in the orchestra! We have a unique job across many varieties of music to provide harmonic and rhythmic support, and I find this universal supportive role fascinating.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love yoga, hiking, spending time outdoors, and preparing good meals.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose the NRO to have the opportunity to spend my whole summer deeply immersed in an orchestral environment. Having the chance to perform incredible music with other highly dedicated young instrumentalists, at no cost, in a beautiful location is something for which I am very grateful and looking forward to.

flute

Rebecca Huynh

Rebecca Huynh

Hometown:
San Diego

Education:
University of California-Santa Barbara, Bachelor of Music, 2022
University of Texas at Austin, Masters of Music, 2024

Bio:
Rebecca Huynh is pursuing an MM in Flute Performance at the University of Texas at Austin with Ebonee Thomas and Marianne Gedigian previously. She recently was a semifinalist for the University of Texas at Austin Concerto Competition and a finalist for the Byron Hester Competition. She previously studied with Jill Felber at the University of California at Santa Barbara and briefly studied with Diana Morgan under DM Studio.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I grew up listening to classical music from my mom who teaches piano. Though I wasn't very fond of practicing piano but I was able to grow appreciation and passion for music, which has carried into my flute studies. I think that, ultimately, watching my mom continue to pursue her musical career has inspired me to believe that I can study and follow the life of a musician for myself.

Name three of your favorite composers:
My favorite composers are Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, and Gustav Mahler because they have such familiar and iconic motifs and harmonies that I really like. My favorite piece is Maurice Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe because the music holds precious memories for me and it's an overall enjoyable work.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I ran a marathon!

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Running, gaming, watching shows, cooking/baking only when I'm craving certain dishes.

Why did you choose the NRO?
Hearing about the expansive nature and scenery in Colorado was something that pulled me towards applying for the NRO. I grew up on road trips to national parks and living next to the beach, and this time I wanted to live in the mountains for a change! The financial scholarships and highly competitive nature greatly aided my decision to choose the NRO. It's a great opportunity to play alongside talented musicians and become immersed in the preprofessional setting, as well as continually expanding my orchestral repertoire.

oboe

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

Hometown:
Boynton Beach, FL. United States

Education:
University of North Carolina School of the Arts - Performance Artist Certificate - 2023-2024 Teacher: Robin Driscoll
Cleveland Institute of Music - Masters of Oboe Performance - 2018-2020 - Teachers: Jeffrey Rathbun and Frank Rosenwein
Florida State University - Bachelors of Music - 2014-2018 - Teacher: Dr. Eric Ohlsson

Bio:
Adrian Gonzalez, a native of Boynton Beach FL. He actively performs with the Winston Salem Symphony, West Piedmont Opera, Youngstown Symphony, the Cleveland Opera, the Cleveland Pops, the Wheeling Symphony, the Battle Creek Symphony, and the Billings Symphony. Adrian is Principal oboe with the Mansfield Symphony and has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra, City Music Cleveland, The New World Symphony, and The Palm Beach Symphony. Beyond orchestral performance, Adrian has performed extensively in Chamber Music in the Greater Cleveland area.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My Dad: He was a classical guitarist professionally and musicologist.

Name three of your favorite composers:
J.S. Bach; Goldberg Variations - Schoenberg; Verklarte Nacht - W.A. Mozart; Hard to choose!

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
Oboe is great because it involves one transforming an organic natural material into an eternal mercurial sound.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Hiking and playing soccer.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose NRO for numerous reasons. During my time and after CIM, I worked extensively with maestro Topilow. Many of my schoolmates and colleagues went to NRO. I feel like there is not a better place (as acknowledged by namesake) where one can fully immerse themselves in a wide selection of orchestral repertoire. I also feel like combining music and nature of this beauty is an ideal experience.

Anish Raj Pandit

Anish Raj Pandit

Hometown:
Evansville, Indiana, USA

Education:
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music , DMA (2023– Present)
New England Conservatory of Music, MM (2018– 2020)
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, BM, (2014-2018)

Bio:
Pandit is an oboist of Indian origin. A former oboist for the Symphony Orchestra of India, Pandit has performed at numerous classical music festivals, including the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, and Chautauqua.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I always loved singing as a child to old Bollywood soundtracks. That passion for music itself led me to the oboe. The rest unfolded naturally from there, with the guidance of excellent teachers.

Name three of your favorite composers:
I love playing anything by Ravel and Brahms. Perhaps my favorite performance was Brahms Violin Concerto and Hindemith’s Matthias The Painter.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I played for the Symphony Orchestra of India in Mumbai, India for a year.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to visit museums and try new foods.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose NRO because I wish to play more repertoire at this phase of my life, and I believe NRO is a shining example of how all music festivals should be run: tuition-free with stipend. I find it absurd that musicians of a high caliber are expected to pay to perform for a summer. I think we should do better in this regard in the classical music world. Tuition-free + stipend should be the norm and not the exception. It’s a matter of self-respect.

Nadia Para

Nadia Para

Hometown:
Prairieville, Louisiana

Education:
University of Michigan, Bachelor of Music, 2023
University of Texas at Austin, Master of Music, 2025

Bio:
Nadia Para is an oboist based in Austin, Texas. She is a member of the Novus Reed Quintet who were semi-finalists in the Coltman Chamber Music Competition and recipients of the Gottleib Variations Award. She is currently getting her masters degree where she is studying with Andrew Parker at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her bachelors degree from the University of Michigan where she studied with Nancy Ambrose King.

What inspired you to become a musician?
In high school, I had the opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall. It was such a magical experience, and I felt so lucky to be able to perform in such a prestigious venue with my closest friends.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Recently I've been infatuated with the simple yet graceful music of the Baroque era. Some of my favorite pieces include: Handel's The Triumph of Time and Truth (HWV 71) and JS Bach's Ich habe genug (BWV 82).

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
Oboist spend a great deal of our lives making reeds! Our reeds are made up of a species of cane called the Arundo Donax, which is similar to bamboo.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to go on walks with my dog Teddy.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose NRO because it's a wonderful opportunity to play a large amount of orchestral repertoire.

Sam Rockwood

Sam Rockwood

Hometown:
Seattle, WA

Education:
New England Conservatory, Master of Music, 2023
University of Washington, Bachelor of Music, 2021

Bio:
Sam Rockwood is a freelance oboist based in the Pacific Northwest. He has performed with the Boston Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, as well as several other regional ensembles. He received his Master of Music from the New England Conservatory, studying with Mark McEwen and receiving additional instruction from John Ferrillo. For his undergraduate degree he attended the University of Washington and studied with Mary Lynch VanderKolk.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I always loved playing in band in high school, but when I went to my first live Seattle Symphony concert and heard Brahms' violin concerto I knew there was nothing else I'd rather do in life than play music!

Name three of your favorite composers:
My personal favorite composer is Mahler. I love the epic scale of his works and the inspiration he drew from the natural world. One of my all time favorite pieces is "Das Lied von der Erde".

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
Oboists have to make our own reeds, and making the reeds we play on is just as challenging as playing the instrument itself.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Play Tennis!

Why did you choose the NRO?
I love playing in orchestra and I just want as much experience playing as much repertoire as possible! I am also looking forward to exploring the hiking trails around Breckenridge and meeting other musicians around my age.

clarinet

Rodolfo Mireles-Manzano

Rodolfo Mireles-Manzano

Hometown:
Brownsville, Texas

Education:
Boston University, M.M, 2025
University of North Texas, B.M.E, 2022

Bio:
Rudy Mireles-Manzano is currently Second Clarinet in the Boston Civic Symphony and is pursuing a Master of Music degree at Boston University under Rob Patterson. Previously, Rudy graduated from the University of North Texas and has studied with Dr. Phillip Paglialonga, Greg Raden, and Calvin Falwell.

Prior to his graduate studies, Rudy was an active freelancer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, performing with various regional orchestras. A passionate educator, Rudy teaches a private studio and has worked as a teaching artist for The Cliburn.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My mother inspired my pursuits in music. She was never able to learn how to make music and encouraged me to play the clarinet early on. She is the reason I am here!

Name three of your favorite composers:
Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Debussy are some of the composers I thoroughly enjoy. There is a lot of depth and emotional intensity in their music that I find quite brilliant.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
Prior to pursuing music full-time, I was a freelance bass guitarist and singer. I frequently performed in a rock band and a Latin Jazz Orchestra from as young as 14.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to lift weights, cook, and am always looking to try new things!

Why did you choose the NRO?
Having known various alumni of the NRO, they informed me of the impact it has had on their education and artistic ability. The NRO sounds like an incredibly inspiring place to be, and I truly want to be surrounded by like-minded individuals that are committed to developing their artistry. In addition to this, I hope to one day hold a seat in a full-time performing ensemble, and the training offered by the NRO is exactly the intensive experience I desired.

bassoon

Duncan Henry

Duncan Henry

Hometown:
Savage, Minnesota

Education:
University of Minnesota, Master of Music, 2025
Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, Artist Certificate, 2023
St. Olaf College, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts, 2022

Bio:
Duncan Henry is a bassoonist who has studied under Fei Xie, Frank Morelli, and Mark Kelley. He won the National Federation for Music Clubs' Nelson Double Reed award in 2023 and is a frequent substitute bassoonist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He enjoys exercise, cooking, and walking and talking with friends.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I came upon music by accident after joining my middle school's band program. Finding that I was good at learning music, I pursued it more seriously and music gave me more and more in return.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Franz Liszt is one of my favorite composers - his piano sonata in B minor in particular is improvisatory, showy, deeply affecting, and colorful.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I also have a degree in computer science which is entirely unrelated to my music making!

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I enjoy cooking and exercising when I am not making music.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I feel I haven't been exposed to enough large-scale orchestral works in my time as a musician. The NRO's focus on performing a large amount of repertoire is very appealing to me. I am glad I will get the chance to play with a high level of peer and make connections to other musicians at the same time.

Aaron Nealy

Aaron Nealy

Hometown:
Conway, South Carolina

Education:
University of South Carolina, BM in Bassoon Performance, 2025

Bio:
Aaron Nealy is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance at the University of South Carolina, where he studies with Michael Harley. Aaron regularly plays with local orchestras around South Carolina, such as the Aiken, Augusta, and Florence Symphonies. Aaron was selected as a winner of the 2022 University of South Carolina Concerto-Aria Competition and earned first place in the 2023 Columbia Music Clubs Scholarship Fund. Aaron was a fellow of the 2023 National Music Festival and the 2023 Varna International Music Academy.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My middle school band director inspired me to switch to bassoon, and over time has become a major way I express myself.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Richard Strauss

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I have a Mountain Dew soda can collection and have tried around 100 different flavors total. Despite the collection I actually prefer Dr Pepper.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
When not playing the bassoon, I like to hang out with friends and play UNO.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I love doing summer festivals because they provide me with orchestral experience outside of the school year. I auditioned for a few other festivals this year, but NRO was absolutely my top choice. Playing a ton of repertoire with an orchestra of skilled young musicians is an opportunity I wouldn't pass up, not to mention the setting of Breckenridge!

horn

Catherine Dowd

Catherine Dowd

Hometown:
New Braunfels, Texas

Education:
University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, Master of Music, 2022
West Virginia University, Bachelor of Music, 2020

Bio:
Horn player Catherine Dowd is an active performer and educator in the Central Texas area. She is currently acting as Second Horn of the San Antonio Philharmonic. Catherine studied with Denise Tryon and Elizabeth Freimuth at the University of Cincinnati of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and studied with Jonas Thoms at West Virginia University. Previous teachers also include Dr. Margaret Tung, Mark Houghton, and Dr. Carrie D. Strickland.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I have loved music as long as I can remember, but what inspired me to pursue music as a career was my private instructor, Dr. Carrie Strickland. I loved hearing her stories of where music had taken her and the friends she made along the way and I wanted to experience that too, and have!

Name three of your favorite composers:
Brahms is my favorite because he wrote so beautifully for the horn!

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
One of my favorite musical experiences was playing Alphorn in the mountains of West Virginia!

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Reading, traveling, being with loved ones, hiking, and being outdoors.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose the NRO because I wanted to have the opportunity to play lots of diverse repertoire and be in the beautiful mountains of Colorado for the summer! I have heard how fun and valuable the experience at NRO is from alumni and wanted to experience it myself.

trumpet

Jeremy Bryant

Jeremy Bryant

Hometown:
Tucson Arizona United States

Education:
Cleveland Institute of Music Bachelors of Trumpet Performance 2025

Bio:
Jeremy Bryant is a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music pursuing his bachelors in trumpet performance. He studies with Michael Miller of the Cleveland Orchestra and performs with various CIM chamber ensembles and the CIM symphony orchestra. Additionally Jeremy was a member of the Aspen Chamber Orchestra and Aspen Festival Orchestra at the 2022 Aspen Music Festival as well as a member of the 2020 and 2021 National Youth Orchestra of the United States. Additionally he has also performed with the Tucson Symphony and the New World Symphony.

What inspired you to become a musician?
I began performing as a mariachi musician in Tucson and seeing the impact and effect it had on the audiences, I performed for motivated me to pursue music as a career.

Name three of your favorite composers:
My all-time favorite composer is Mahler because of his grand orchestration and larger than life Symphonies.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I began playing trumpet at the age of 5 in my bilingual elementary school's mariachi program.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I enjoy skiing and skateboarding.

Why did you choose the NRO?
My dad is from Colorado, and we used to have family reunions in Breckenridge where my grandfather used to enjoy attending NRO concerts. To be able to be a part of this orchestra is truly special as I can honor my family and grandfather.

Megan Radcliffe

Megan Radcliffe

Hometown:
Clarksville, Maryland

Education:
Northwestern University, B.M. in Trumpet Performance and B.A. in Statistics, graduating 2024

Bio:
Originally from Clarksville, MD, Megan Radcliffe just completed her final year at Northwestern University, where she received a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Statistics. While at Northwestern, she studied with David Bilger, Thomas Rolfs, Michael Sachs, and Channing Philbrick. In previous summers, Megan has attended Round Top Music Festival and Miami Music Festival.

What inspired you to become a musician?
The first time I played in an orchestra - we played Dvorak 9, and I knew that it was the only thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life

Name three of your favorite composers:
Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade - I played it in the final concerts of both my All State and my high school youth orchestras. Other than that, I'm a trumpet player so I love Mahler and Strauss

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
For a lot of my life, I was more of a singer than I was a trumpet player

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Go to concerts with my friends

Why did you choose the NRO?
I haven't been able to get much orchestral playing experiences in undergrad - Northwestern is more of a band school than it is an orchestra school, and so I've often been in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble with Mallory Thompson just because there are more trumpets in a band. NRO plays so much repertoire, and so frequently, that it's the perfect opportunity for me to do some orchestral playing with similar-length cycles to a professional orchestra.

trombone

Sarah Goldberg

Sarah Goldberg

Hometown:
Fort Worth, Texas

Education:
The Juilliard School, Bachelor of Music Class of 2025, Tenor Trombone Performance

Bio:
Sarah Goldberg is a Nepali-American trombonist pursuing her bachelor’s degree in trombone performance at The Juilliard School.

Sarah has performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, Seraph Brass, Egalitarian Brass, Juilliard Trombone Choir, and National Youth Orchestra. Sarah recently placed as a finalist in the Lowell Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2023 along with the "Gran Premio Povoletto" in Udine, Italy in 2022. Her teachers include Joseph Alessi and Thomas Riccobono.

Sarah is a performing artist for HAAG Brass.

What inspired you to become a musician?
Music has always been a profound part of my experiences before I created it. It was something necessary in my life that was always there, so it only made sense to become someone who can share this art with others.

Name three of your favorite composers:
My current favorites are Mahler, Strauss, Wagner, Schumann, Schubert, Mozart, Bach, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Ligeti, Ravel, Shostakovich… I could go on and on. Some composers take longer to understand than others, but each one has so much to offer.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I love to travel around the world. Some past highlights include Italy, Switzerland, Nepal, and Canada. Most of my travel is solo and also music-related!

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love doing workout classes, photography, social media, and traveling around the world!

Why did you choose the NRO?
After participating in NRO as a fellow in 2023, it was clear how crucial this ensemble was in building my orchestral skills and bringing me refreshing musical experiences. Playing in this orchestra emulates the lifestyle of holding a professional position, so this is a unique opportunity to focus on primarily performance which has been really special for me. So many unforgettable memories were created with amazing musicians and friends last summer, so I’m looking forward to experiencing even more this upcoming summer back in NRO!

bass trombone

Reid Harman

Reid Harman

Hometown:
Chicago, IL

Education:
The Juilliard School, MMus Bass Trombone Performance, Graduating 2025
Northwestern University, BMus Bass Trombone Performance, Graduated 2023

Bio:
Reid Harman is currently pursuing his MMus at The Juilliard School under Blair Bollinger. He received his BM from Northwestern University in 2023, where he studied with Michael Mulcahy, Randy Hawes, Tim Higgins, Doug Wright, and Chris Davis. He has performed with the New World Symphony, Juilliard Trombone Choir, and more. Reid appeared as a soloist with the Merit Trombone Choir at the International Trombone Festival in 2019 and was a winner of Brevard's Jan and Beattie Wood Concerto Competition in 2021.

What inspired you to become a musician?
While I lived in Toronto from 2013-2016, I was a part of the Hannaford Youth Brass Band. It continues to be one of the greatest musical experiences I’ve ever had, and the amount of joy I got out of it made me realize that I wanted to pursue music professionally.

Name three of your favorite composers:
My favorite pieces are the Chaccone from Bach’s Second Violin Partita, Mahler 2, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle. All three of these pieces carry powerful messages that resonate with me. These are the pieces that invoke an emotional response in me, and I feel like being able to do that is the hallmark of great music.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
My first instrument was euphonium! I didn’t make the switch to trombone until my junior year of high school.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love reading and spending time with family and friends.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose NRO to learn how to thrive in a fast-paced performance environment where I can make music at the highest level with other talented students. Having such an intense performance schedule is an experience akin to a professional career that isn’t obtainable through student life, which makes it extremely valuable.

tuba

Cameron Hall

Cameron Hall

Hometown:
Newnan, Georgia

Education:
The University of Miami, Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Performance, 2027

Bio:
Cameron Hall began playing the tuba in the sixth-grade band and has since slightly improved. He has been a member of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, spent a summer at Boston University's Tanglewood Institute, and toured Europe with the National Youth Orchestra. Now, Cameron is at the Frost School of Music studying under Aaron Tindall in his esteemed and very successful studio.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My friends inspired me to join middle school band, but I kept with it after listening to, preparing, and performing music invoked feelings in me nothing else could replicate.

Name three of your favorite composers:
My favorite composers are Prokofiev, Mahler, and Strauss. Prokofiev's 5th and Copland's 1st are my favorite symphonies, and the Rite of Spring is my favorite non-symphony. I don't usually like to rank things, but not a day passes that I don't hum one of these pieces!

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I picked the tuba because fifth grade me thought it sounded humorous.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to watch sports, work out, and plane spot!

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose NRO because the idea of performing many orchestral staples with some of the most talented young musicians in the country in one of the finer towns our nation has to offer sounds like a dream come true!

percussion

Jeremy Davis

Jeremy Davis

Hometown:
Los Angeles, CA

Education:
Rice University, M.M. Classical Percussion Performance, 2025
University of Southern California, B.M. Classical Percussion Performance, 2023

Bio:
Jeremy Davis (2001) studies Percussion with Matthew Strauss, Assistant Principal Timpanist/Percussionist for the Houston Symphony. He has performed as a soloist with the Pacific Symphony, has won the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, and has performed in some of the best concert halls across the world. Ultimately, Jeremy’s passion for music is what drives him to continue striving to be the best musician that he can be.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My very first concert at Carnegie Hall back in 8th grade!

Name three of your favorite composers:
Mahler, Strauss, Shostakovich, and Ravel are my favorite composers. My all-time favorite piece is Mahler's 2nd Symphony. To this day, Mahler 2 remains the only piece in which I feel every single emotion whenever I listen to it.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
I love tennis and started playing at a young age. My Dad played professionally for about one year before tearing his ACL. Before I got into music, my dream was to become a professional tennis player.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
Have a night out with friends.

Why did you choose the NRO?
The NRO is without a doubt one of the best summer music festivals in the nation. Having had the pleasure of being a musician for the 2023 season, I knew as soon as that season ended that I would love to come back and experience everything that NRO and Breckenridge has to offer once more. The musicians are some of the greatest in the nation and the program has an amazing host family organization which always makes the musicians feel like we have a second family during the 8 weeks away from home. These reasons are why I chose the NRO for this 2024 summer season.

Jordan Fajardo-Bird

Jordan Fajardo-Bird

Hometown:
Park City, Utah

Education:
New England Conservatory, Master of Music, 2025
University of Utah, Bachelor of Music, 2023

Bio:
Jordan Fajardo-Bird is a percussionist who is currently based in Boston, MA. Jordan completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah, studying with Dr. Mike Sammons and Keith Carrick. Jordan is currently pursuing a masters in music at New England Conservatory, studying with Tim Genis, principal timpanist at Boston Symphony Orchestra. Jordan has performed with the Salt Lake Symphony, Utah Chamber Artists, and Salt Lake Choral Artists. He also attended Eastern Music Festival in the summers of 2022 and 2023.

What inspired you to become a musician?
My dad always listened to a lot of jazz and classical music, and he was a huge inspiration. He gave me a guitar for Christmas when I was 6, and then got me into piano when I was 8. It made starting band in 5th grade that much easier.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky. I love Russian classical music, and all of these composers wrote fantastic percussion parts that are so much fun to play.

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
Some percussion instruments are very unique in that the musician does not touch the instrument themselves to produce a sound.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I enjoy hiking, working out, and spending time with my friends.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I chose to participate in the NRO because it explores so much repertoire from the masterwork's series. I'm excited to hear so many percussion audition excerpts in the context of a full orchestra.

harp

Rebekah Hou

Rebekah Hou

Hometown:
Okemos, MI, USA

Education:
Cleveland Institute of Music, Master of Music, 2024
Cleveland Institute of Music, Bachelor of Music, 2023

Bio:
REBEKAH HOU received both her bachelor's and master's degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Yolanda Kondonassis. She has received several awards, including the Fine Arts Award for Harp from the Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Anne Adams Award from the American Harp Society, and was the winner of the 2023 concerto competition at CIM. Rebekah has also received fellowships from Round Top Orchestral Institute and Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States and is thrilled to be joining NRO this summer.

What inspired you to become a musician?
Music gave me a goal for my academic studies when I was younger, and now it has given me a purpose for my life.

Name three of your favorite composers:
Gustav Mahler, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, and Claude Debussy

What is an interesting fact about you and/or your instrument?
In high school, I earned my black belt in Songham Taekwondo.

When taking a break from music-making, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love baking, hiking, reading, and knitting.

Why did you choose the NRO?
I have heard a lot of fantastic things from NRO alums, including harpists who graduated from CIM previously. My teacher, Yolanda Kondonassis attended NRO when she was around my age, and I wouldn't pass up the chance to work with Maestro Stern or the other fabulous musicians there!