Steamboat’s Arianna Tullis performs flute solo with Denver Young Artist Orchestra

Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Arianna Tullis played the solo of the first movement of the Carl Nielsen Flute Concerto with the Denver Youth Artists Orchestra on Nov. 23 and 24.
Kristi Tullis/courtesy

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Flautist Arianna Tullis doesn’t let the 160-some miles between her hometown of Steamboat Springs and the Denver Young Artist Orchestra’s rehearsals stop her from pursuing her music at the highest level possible. On Nov. 23 and 24, during the Young Orchestra’s “Taste of Tango” performance, the Steamboat Springs High School sophomore took the spotlight with her solo during the first movement of the Carl Nielsen Flute Concerto. She’d earned the solo spot by winning the year’s Wind Concerto Competition, announced in late October.

“(The performance) was a lot of fun,” Tullis said. “It’s cool to be able to share how much hard work we put into the piece.”

The performance was a collaboration between the Young Artists Orchestra — the most advanced of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra groups — and the dancers of Parasol Arts, a group that shares Argentine Tango through outreach classes and performances.

“It went very, very well,” said Young Orchestra marketing and development manager Cecile Forsberg. “(Tullis) is a very talented young woman who puts so much time and dedication into her craft, and we’re getting to see the beginning of her career.”

This is Tullis’ second year with the orchestra. She commutes to Denver weekly to pursue her music, rehearsing with the full orchestra, taking lessons with Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s principal flutist Brook Ferguson and practicing ensemble work with other Young Orchestra musicians.

The Nielsen concerto was hardly Tullis’ first flute solo rodeo. She’s also performed solos with the Music Teachers National Association, at the Colorado Suzuki Institute, and more. She’s a member of the Colorado Flute Association, and has been accepted into the University of Colorado Boulder honor band since seventh grade, and the District 8 honor band since sixth.

Earlier this year, Tullis traveled through Europe — Prague, Czech Republic; Salzberg and Vienna, Austria; and Bratislava, Slovakia — with the Young Orchestra, and to Australia to play at the Sydney Opera House with the Honors Performance Series.

Back home in Steamboat, Tullis studies flute with Mary Beth Norris; the two have been working together since Tullis was 9 years old. In addition to playing with the high school band for concerts, Tullis also works with the flute students of the high school and Steamboat Middle School bands.

“Teaching music is pretty fun,” Tullis said. “It’s cool to see everyone progress through the year and to help them get a new perspective on the flute.”

And while Tullis names flute her No. 1 hobby, she also spends time doing aerial silks and playing tennis.

Next up for Tullis is performance of the same Carl Nielsen Flute Concerto with Young Orchestra playing side by side with the Colorado Symphony on Feb. 16.

“It’s going to push me to match their level, which is a cool challenge,” Tullis said.

“This is really an opportunity for these kids to get another taste of what the life of a professional musician is like,” Forsberg said.

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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