String Orchestra of the Rockies headlines new season with Grammy-nominated musician

The String Orchestra of the Rockies opens its 39th season Sunday by bringing a Grammy-nominated and world-renowned performer to Missoula.

Cynthia Phelps is the principal violist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and teaches at The Juilliard School. She has won several international competitions in her career.

“She is a true superstar in every sense of the word,” SOR Artistic Director Maria Larionoff said.

Larionoff said they are extremely lucky to have Phelps headlining the start of the season right before she begins performing with the New York Philharmonic in October.

The relationship between the two goes back decades when they first met in summer camp in the early 1980s. Larionoff has since admired Phelps’ humor, grace and integrity as both a friend and concert musician.

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Phelps will be playing the Arpeggione Sonata by 19th-century Austrian composer Franz Schubert alongside the orchestra. It’s one of Schubert’s most well-known compositions.

The piece was originally arranged for the arpeggione, an instrument that looks like a six-stringed guitar but could be played like a cello. When the piece was published decades after Schubert’s death in 1829, the instrument had already faded into obscurity.

However, the sonata

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