Classical Music

Old favorites well served by young artists with Utah Symphony – Sep 24, 2023

Pianist Maria-Ange Nguci performed Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto with Eduardo Strausser conducting the Utah Symphony Saturday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Ian Mower

The 2023-24 season is a time of transition for the Utah Symphony as it seeks a replacement for departed music director Thierry Fischer. The orchestra is leaning heavily on proven crowd favorites to fill Abravanel Hall in the meantime. There won’t be a work by a living composer, or even a work written after World War II on a Masterworks concert … Read More

Oliverson’s Barber is the highlight in Utah Symphony’s mixed season opener – Sep 16, 2023

Aubree Oliverson performed Barber’s Violin Concerto in the Utah Symphony’s season-opening concert Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

The Utah Symphony began its 2023-2024 season without a music director, and without one of the hallmarks of its recently departed music director: new and challenging music.  

Thierry Fischer’s 13-year tenure as music director, which ended last season, featured world and U.S. premieres, ample repertoire for the 21st century, and several seldom-performed pieces that challenged audiences’ ears, often alongside … Read More

A departing Thierry Fischer says his Utah Symphony tenure has been an organic partnership – May 23, 2023

For his final program as music director, Thierry Fischer leads the Utah Symphony in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 this weekend. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Conductor Thierry Fisher was in a relaxed mood after conducting the Utah Symphony’s first rehearsal of Oliver Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie, a ten-movement, roughly 80-minute-long piece featuring over 100 musicians. That piece would comprise the entire program on Fischer’s penultimate concert as the orchestra’s music director.

Fischer assessed the task before him. “It’s the first rehearsal of a big piece nobody … Read More

Fischer, Utah Symphony tackle Messiaen’s strange yet compelling “Turangalîla” – May 21, 2023

Thierry Fischer conducted the Utah Symphony in Oliver Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie Friday night at Abravanel Hall. File photo: Kathleen Sykes

Throughout his tenure as music director of the Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer has earned a reputation for curating eclectic concerts that juxtapose contrasting pieces. It is therefore notable that three of his last four concerts as music director feature only one piece each. In March, he led the orchestra in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5, his final concerts this week will feature Mahler’s Symphony No. … Read More

Music, high-tech visuals make up for uneven libretto in Utah Opera’s “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” – May 07, 2023

Sarah Coit as Laurene and John Moore as Steve Jobs in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at Utah Opera. Photo: Dana Sohm

A note at the end of the Utah Opera program synopsis states that Mason Bates and Mark Campbell’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs “does not purport to depict actual events as they occurred.” 

Indeed, this 2017 opera isn’t the place to find profound insights into the man whose creative vision revolutionized the way billions of people communicate. The dramatic arc—flawed genius loses … Read More

Tüür premiere achieves liftoff in Utah Symphony’s Northern program – Apr 22, 2023

Flutist Emmanuel Pahud was the soloist in the U.S. premiere of Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Lux Stellarum, with Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

Fresh on the heels of conducting a sublime performance of Bruckner’s monumental Symphony No. 5, music director Thierry Fischer returned to the Utah Symphony to conduct another seminal fifth symphony, this one by Sibelius. The program also included Sibelius’s Finlandia and the U.S. premiere of Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür’s … Read More

Utah Symphony goes from light and jazzy to dark Russian drama – Apr 08, 2023

Tito Muñoz conducted the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

A year after making his Utah Symphony debut, Tito Muñoz returned to conduct an eclectic program featuring pianist Michelle Cann and two local premieres: Florence Price’s Concerto in One Movement and Gabriela Lena Frank’s Elegia Andina.

Inspired by a trip to Peru, Frank’s Elegia is a colorful, rhythmically intoxicating dance, lightly evoking Peruvian folk music and using the orchestra in interesting ways to create distinctive sonorities. In addition to a pulsating … Read More

Fischer, Utah Symphony scale Bruckner’s vast Fifth Symphony – Mar 25, 2023

Thierry Fischer conducted the Utah Symphony in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Due to its intricate structure, masterful use of counterpoint, and reverent, mystical mood, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 is often compared to a cathedral. 

Friday night, the vast work made its Utah Symphony debut as the only piece on a concert that became a monument to Maestro Thierry Fischer’s 12 years as the orchestra’s music director. The performance showcased the orchestra’s artistic growth during Fischer’s … Read More

Utah Opera paints a grim world in Verdi’s powerful “Rigoletto” – Mar 15, 2023

Scott Hendricks in the title role and Jasmine Habersham as his daughter Gilda in Utah Opera’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Photo: Dana Sohm.

As the fatalistic strains of Verdi’s Prelude to Rigoletto wafted out of the orchestra pit, a spotlight shone on the hunched, tortured title character on a bare, dark stage. A few seconds later, an upstage spotlight shone on the opera’s villain, the Duke of Mantua, ordering his henchman to stab a third man, who crumpled as the blade enters his torso.

The … Read More

Youth on display in a dazzling Utah Symphony program – Mar 04, 2023

Randall Goosby performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with Jiří Rožeň conducting the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

Two young guests joined the Utah Symphony to bring vigor and pizzazz to a chilly Friday evening.

Violinist Randall Goosby, 26, dazzled with seemingly effortless excellence, while conductor Jiří Rožeň, 31, led the orchestra with seemingly endless enthusiasm.

The chic simplicity of Goosby’s crisp white shirt and black trousers matched the matter-of-fact elegance of his playing in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The … Read More