Utah Symphony offers rich programs, new podium faces in 2021-22 season

Wed Mar 24, 2021 at 5:31 am
By Edward Reichel
Hilary Hahn will be the Utah Symphony’s artist-in-association in the 2021-22 season. Photo: Dana van Leeuwen

The Utah Symphony unveiled its 2021-22 season Tuesday—one that will feature the orchestra in full-length concerts for the first time since March 2020, when Salt Lake County-run arts venues were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Thierry Fischer, starting his 13th and penultimate season as music director, will conduct nine of the 18 concerts in the Masterworks Series. He opens the season September 17-18 with Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Brahms’ Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. Soloist in the Brahms is Hilary Hahn, making a welcome return to Abravanel Hall after an absence of several years. (Instead of playing the well-known Joseph Joachim cadenzas in the concerto, Hahn will be performing cadenzas written by the American composer Jessie Montgomery.)

Hahn has a long history with the Utah Symphony. She made her debut here as a 13-year-old at the orchestra’s New Year’s Eve concert in 1992. Next season she is the ensemble’s artist-in-association and will return to Salt Lake City on April 8-9, 2022, to perform Ginastera’s rarely heard Violin Concerto and Sarasate’s Fantasy on Bizet’s Carmen.

Other soloists making return appearances in the new season include pianists Stephen Hough in Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 (Nov. 5-6), Ingrid Fliter playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Dec. 10-11) and Joyce Yang performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (Feb. 4-5). Violinists returning to Abravanel Hall include Vadim Gluzman in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (Nov. 19-20), Augustin Hadelich in Sibelius’ Violin Concerto (March 25-26) and Veronika Eberle playing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (May 27-28).

Making his Utah Symphony debut on April 15-16, is the New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinet Anthony McGill, playing Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto. 

Also appearing for the first time with the orchestra are pianists Andrei Korobeinikov (September 24-25) playing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Benjamin Grosvenor (Jan. 7-8) in Grieg’s ever-popular Piano Concerto. 

Two violinists will also debut in Salt Lake City in the upcoming season playing perennial audience favorites: Daniel Lozakovich (Feb. 18-19) performs Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Inmo Yang is soloist in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (Dec. 3-4).

Concertmaster Madeline Adkins will be in the spotlight on Jan. 28-29, in American composer Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis’s The Maze for Violin and Orchestra, a work commissioned by Adkins and inspired by the natural wonders of southern Utah’s Canyonlands National Park.

Another work based on the rugged beauty of Utah’s red rock country is Messiaen’s 12-movement Des canyons aux étoiles. Fischer will lead the orchestra in two movements from the work (“The Wood Thrush” and “Omao, lelothrix, elepaio, shama”) on May 20-21 and two further movements (“The Resurrected and the Song of the Star Aldebaran” and “Zion Park and the Celestial City”) on May 27-28. (The other eight movements were performed during the 2019-20 season.)

Arlene Sierra is the Utah Symphony’s composer-in-association for the 2021-22 season. Photo: Ian Phillips-McLaren

Besides de Cusatis’ concerto, the music of several other contemporary composers have been programmed next season, including three works by American Arlene Sierra, who is the symphony’s new composer-in-association. (Her appointment was originally scheduled for this current pandemic season). On Nov. 19-20, the orchestra under guest conductor Shiyeon Sung (Utah Symphony debut) will give the U.S. premiere of Sierra’s Aquilo.Then the following spring the orchestra under Fischer will present the U.S. premiere of Sierra’s Nature Symphony (April 8-9) and the world premiere of her Bird Symphony, a work commissioned by the Utah Symphony (April 15-16).

Two other contemporary composers will also be featured. Gabriela Lena Frank’s Escaramuza will be played on March 3-4, under the baton of guest conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, who will be making his local debut. And on Feb. 18-19 Fischer and the orchestra will play Brazilian composer’s Paolo Costa Lima’s Oji — Storm and Drive, a work commissioned by the São Paolo Symphony, where Fischer has been the music director since last year.

David Robertson, who made an impressive debut with the Utah Symphony in October, will return Dec. 3-4 in a program of music by Stravinsky, Mendelssohn and Brahms.

In addition to Sung and Lecce-Chong, six other conductors will be making their debuts on the Abravanel Hall stage: Enrique Mazzola, music director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Oct. 22-23); Rune Bergmann, music director of the Calgary Philharmonic (Nov. 5-6); Case Scaglione, (Dec. 10-11); Robert Trevino (Jan. 7-8); Tito Muñoz, music director of the Phoenix Symphony (March 25-26); and Eivind Gullberg Jensen, artistic director of the Bergen National Opera (April 29-30).

The large number of new guest conductors next season is clearly a conscious decision on the part of Fischer and management to “audition” those nine conductors as potential successors after Fischer he steps down from his position in August 2023.

Subscription renewals and purchases are available online at utahsymphony.org or by calling 801-533-6683. Current season subscribers have until April 22 to renew their subscriptions or request seat changes for the 2021-22 season. 

Single tickets for the upcoming season will be available starting June 15 through Utah Symphony|Utah Opera patron services and all ArtTix outlets.

Leave a Comment