Classical Music

Utah Symphony wraps season with a fizzing Latin concerto and an American classic – May 25, 2024

Anna Akiko Meyers performed Arturo Márquez’s Fandango with Giancarlo Guerrero and the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Dina Douglass

This weekend the Utah Symphony closes out its Masterworks series for the season with a program that features music by two well-known Americans and a work by Mexico’s preeminent contemporary composer.

Receiving its Utah Symphony premiere is Fandango by Arturo Márquez. The work is a three-movement violin concerto written in 2021 for Anne Akiko Meyers, who is also this weekend’s soloist. 

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With Abravanel Hall’s future in question, Lazarova leads a high-voltage Utah Symphony concert – May 18, 2024

Delyana Lazarova conducted the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

The Utah Symphony returned to Abravanel Hall Friday night for the first concerts since the public learned of an existential threat to the hall, and the orchestra could hardly have planned its homecoming any better.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced Tuesday that she prefers to keep the hall “in its present form” after an earlier statement indicated it might be demolished and rebuilt as part of new NHL … Read More

Utah Opera’s maiden production of Massenet’s “Thaïs” beguiles eyes and ears – May 05, 2024

Nicole Heaston stars in the title role of Massenet’s Thaïs at Utah Opera. Photo: Dana Sohm

Jules Massenet’s Thaïs has finally made it to the Capitol Theatre’s stage. The French composer’s three-act opera had its Utah Opera premiere Saturday. The production closes out the company’s season in a powerful staging featuring a strong cast, with soprano Nicole Heaston outstanding in the title role. 

The opera’s basic plot has been used in various iterations in countless other operas, but Thaïs adds a new layer. The monk Athanaël makes it his … Read More

Fliter returns to Utah Symphony in fine style with delightful Ravel – Apr 27, 2024

Ingrid Fliter performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major Friday night with the Utah Symphony. Photo: Gary Houlder

Ingrid Fliter made a welcome return to the Utah Symphony Friday night in her first local visit since 2021. 

The Argentinian artist was the soloist in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, a delightfully carefree work in which the composer draws on several different musical styles, including jazz and Basque folk elements, to create a wonderfully cohesive whole. Ravel once said the he wasn’t … Read More

Utah Symphony breaks a few strings with Robertson’s uneven guitar mashup – Apr 20, 2024

JIJI was among the guitar soloists at the Utah Symphony concert Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

This weekend’s Utah Symphony program is a veritable feast for guitar aficionados. The brainchild of the orchestra’s creative partner conductor David Robertson, the program focuses primarily on the electric guitar, but also features two works for acoustic guitar.

The idea behind the concert undoubtedly looked good on paper, but in practice it fell somewhat short on results. While there were some interesting individual pieces, as a … Read More

Hagen takes over solo duties, conductor makes impressive debut with Utah Symphony – Mar 30, 2024

Willliam Hagen performed Dvorák’s Violin Concerto with Anna Rakitina conducting the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

Violinist William Hagen made an unexpected but welcome appearance as soloist at this weekend’s Utah Symphony concerts. He replaces an ailing Sirena Huang, who was originally scheduled to be the evening’s soloist. 

Hagen, a Salt Lake City native, is no stranger to the Abravanel Hall stage. He first appeared with the Utah Symphony as a nine-year-old in a Salute to Youth concert back in 2001, … Read More

Percussionist Currie makes a virtuosic case for Elfman concerto with Utah Symphony – Mar 23, 2024

Colin Currie performed Danny Elfman’s Percussion Concerto with David Danzmayr and the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

Danny Elfman is best known as a prolific composer of film scores. He’s written the music for such movies as Beetlejuice, Scrooged and The Nightmare Before Christmas, among many others. But in recent years he’s also ventured into writing classical works, and currently counts nine pieces in his concert portfolio.

This weekend, one of Elfman’s works is on the Utah Symphony’s program — his … Read More

Even with an ailing lead, Utah Opera’s “Marriage of Figaro” delivers a memorable Mozart evening – Mar 11, 2024

Madison Leonard as Susanna and Michael Adams as the Count in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at Utah Opera. Photo: Dana Sohm

Utah Opera offered two Figaros for the price of one Saturday night.

Adam Lau, who plays the title role in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, was unable to sing on opening night due to unspecified illness. So the cover, Zachary Nelson, sang from the side of the stage while Lau acted the part (“walked” does not do justice to Tara Faircloth’s … Read More

The viola takes the spotlight with a Utah Symphony showcase for Tabea Zimmerman – Feb 24, 2024

Tabea Zimmermann performed music of Michael Jarrell and Carl Maria von Weber with the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Swiss composer Michael Jarrell shouldn’t be a stranger to Utah Symphony audiences. Thanks to former music director Thierry Fischer, several of Jarrell’s works have been performed in Abravanel Hall since 2012. And all of them had been co-commissioned by the Utah Symphony. 

The orchestra’s most recent co-commission, Émergences-Résurgences, is essentially a single-movement concerto for viola and orchestra. Taking its … Read More

A trombone sings in Salt Lake with Utah Symphony premiere – Feb 17, 2024

Trombonist Mark Davidson was the soloist in the world premiere of Quinn Mason’s Sonorous Friday night with the Utah Symphony.

It’s homecoming weekend at the Utah Symphony. 

Mark Davidson, recently appointed principal trombone of the Melbourne Symphony in Australia, and former associate conductor Conner Gray Covington are back at Abravanel Hall to premiere a trombone concerto by Quinn Mason, a young composer who is already an old friend of the orchestra.

Mason’s association with the Utah Symphony dates to 2020, when he and … Read More