Classical Music

Utah Opera signals an evening of hope with “Light on the Horizon” concert – Feb 14, 2021

Singers perform in Utah Opera’s streamed concert, “Light on the Horizon.”

Utah Opera opened its season last October with an in-person but socially distanced double bill of Poulenc’s The Human Voice and Joseph Horovitz’s Gentlemen’s Island.

Four months later the pandemic is still with us though there is hope, as reflected in the title of the company’s second production, Light on the Horizon. Premiering Friday night–and available through March 14–this streaming concert featured six singers, 35 musicians, and a program ranging from … Read More

Utah Symphony members downsize gracefully for chamber program – Feb 12, 2021

Music of Mozart and Mendelssohn was performed by Utah Symphony members in a streaming chamber program.

With all Salt Lake County-operated venues shuttered through March 24, the Utah Symphony has begun recording live performances for its new On Demand series, which can be streamed through the orchestra’s website. 

The most recent stream was a chamber music program offering selections from quartets by Mozart and Mendelssohn. Performed by violinists Yuki MacQueen and Alex Martin (alternating in the first-violin position), violist Joel Gibbs and cellist John … Read More

Fisch makes impressive debut leading Utah Symphony in a timely, resonant “Metamorphosen” – Jan 16, 2021

Asher Fisch conducted the Utah Symphony in a streaming program of Strauss and Mendelssohn. Photo: Nik Babic

It’s striking how well music written decades or even centuries ago can address a current national mood.  After a fortnight that saw both a spike in U.S. Covid deaths and a siege of the U.S. Capitol Building, the Utah Symphony’s transcendent rendition of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen—streaming through February 11 along with Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 in A minor—seemed of the moment.

Written in 1945 by Richard Strauss, … Read More

Strings to the fore with Zukerman leading Utah Symphony – Nov 20, 2020

Pinchas Zukerman performed Bach’s Violin Concerto in A major with the Utah Symphony Thursday night. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

The efforts of performing arts organizations, which have been forced to find ways to create beauty under the extreme constraints of the pandemic, have been met with awe and profound gratitude – both for the resourcefulness of the performances themselves as well as the pains they have taken to ensure the safety of all involved.   

However, as the masked audience members found their socially-distanced seats for … Read More

Within restrictions, Utah Symphony finds freedom coloring outside the lines – Nov 13, 2020

Utah Symphony flutists Mercedes Smith and Caitlyn Valovick-Moore performed Tōru Takemitsu’s Masque Thursday night at Abravenel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

The latest entry in the Utah Symphony’s atypical 2020–21 season delivered not only one of the most creative programs of the year Thursday night, but one unlike any average Abravanel Hall outing. In  response to the  necessary social-distancing measures and condensed program lengths, the symphony has turned toward the underperformed and rarely heard, providing audiences this weekend with a globally and historically expansive set of … Read More

Robertson makes an impressive debut with Utah Symphony – Oct 23, 2020

David Robertson conducted the Utah Symphony Thursday night in Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

Conductor David Robertson made a welcome debut in Abravanel Hall Thursday night  leading members of the Utah Symphony in an eclectic program of works spanning several hundred years, from the Renaissance to the late 20th century. 

The Utah Symphony is in the early stages of its search for a successor to Thierry Fischer when the Swiss music director departs in 2023. (Fischer was originally scheduled to depart in August 2022, but … Read More

Fischer will stay with Utah Symphony through 2023 – Oct 13, 2020

Thierry Fischer has extended his contract with the Utah Symphony. Photo: Kousaku Nakagawa.

Thierry Fischer will remain in Salt Lake City through the summer of 2023.

The Swiss conductor extended his contract as music director of the Utah Symphony by one year, the orchestra announced Monday. He had stated last year that he would depart the Utah Symphony at the end of the 2021-22 season. 

“With so much uncertainty in the future, it is a natural gesture for me to help provide the orchestra … Read More

Harmer dazzles in Utah Opera’s downsized season opener – Oct 10, 2020

Wendy Bryn Harmer stars in Poulenc’s La voix humaine, part of Utah Opera’s season-opening double bill. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

Even a pandemic has some silver linings. 

Due to the ongoing public health crisis, Utah Opera audiences won’t hear soprano Wendy Bryn Harmer make her company debut \as Senta in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman this month. Instead, operagoers have the dramatically different, yet arguably more thrilling, opportunity to hear Harmer’s spectacular gifts showcased in Poulenc’s La voix humaine.

The monodrama, which shares the bill with Joseph … Read More

Utah Opera to open season safely with a corona-conscious double bill – Oct 05, 2020

Brian Stucki (left) and Christopher Clayton rehearse for Utah Opera’s Gentleman’s Island. Photo: Kathleen Sykes/Utah Opera

Art goes on, even in a pandemic. Utah Opera will open its season Friday night with a new set of health protocols and a pair of one-act operas that explore the timely themes of isolation and connection.

In place of the originally scheduled Flying Dutchman by Wagner, the company will present ten performances of Francis Poulenc’s one-woman monodrama La voix humaine (presented in a new English-language translation as The Human … Read More

Utah Symphony’s retooled program ranges from Bach to Black Lives Matter – Sep 25, 2020

Thierry Fischer led a scaled-back ensemble on Thursday evening in the second program of Utah Symphony’s modified, safety-minded fall season.

While most American orchestras have canceled their fall schedules to avoid the risk of COVID-19 entirely, Utah Symphony is proceeding with a drastically altered lineup that is, in turn, producing a very different kind of concert experience.

A circumspect season opener last week featured only strings in an auditorium retrofitted for social distancing, and an attendance cap of 400 people in a venue … Read More