Classical Music

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, and … 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

Adkins solos in a Utah Symphony night of Prokofiev and Strauss – Feb 03, 2024

Madeline Adkins performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

Utah Symphony concertmaster Madeline Adkins has been a stellar presence in Abravanel Hall since joining the orchestra in 2016, whether in the big moments of Danse macabre or Ein Heldenleben or in her annual concerto appearances. Salt Lake City music lovers get to hear her in the latter role this weekend as she brings her customary excellence to Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

The piece is hardly your run-of-the-mill concerto, … Read More

Utah Opera’s “Little Prince” soars to magical heights once again – Jan 22, 2024

Sarah Scofield as the Fox and Miles Keeton in the title role of Utah Opera’s The Little Prince. Photo: Dana Sohm

It is debatable whether Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved fable The Little Prince is a children’s book. But it was fitting that children were out in full force Saturday night when Utah Opera opened its revival of Rachel Portman and Nicholas Wright’s opera based on the novella. The opera is back by popular demand only five years after its Salt Lake City debut, … Read More

Hough premiere proves engaging but luminous Vaughan Williams takes the prize with Runnicles, Utah Symphony – Jan 13, 2024

Steven Hough performed the world premiere of his Piano Concerto with Donald Runnicles and the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

It was an auspicious evening at Abravanel Hall on Friday as two knights of the British Empire—Sir Stephen Hough and Sir Donald Runnicles—collaborated with the Utah Symphony on a highly anticipated world premiere.

The illustrious British pianist Hough, long a favorite in Salt Lake City, dazzled once again in his self-penned Piano Concerto, subtitled “The World of Yesterday.” … Read More

Stephen Hough’s new concerto looks to the past as well as the future – Jan 09, 2024

Stephen Hough will perform the world premiere of his Piano Concerto, “The World of Yesterday” Friday night with the Utah Symphony led by Donald Runnicles.

Sir Stephen Hough’s response as to the inspiration for writing his Piano Concerto came as a surprise. 

“It’s a long story, as I never thought that I would compose a piano concerto,” said the celebrated musician. “I just did not see the way into writing one and thought that my first would most … Read More