Classical Music

Orli Shaham brings captivating Chopin to Utah Symphony – Dec 11, 2021

Orli Shaham performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall Photo: Aleks Karjaka

Another week, another guest conductor at Abravanel Hall. 

Case Scaglione, a native Texan who currently serves as chief conductor of the Wuttemberg Chamber Orchestra in  Germany and the Orchestre National de France, made a somewhat uneven debut with the Utah Symphony Friday night. 

Scaglione came through effectively on the climactic moments of each piece, including several during pianist Orli Shaham’s engaging rendition of Chopin’s Piano Concerto … Read More

Robertson’s return bolsters close rapport with Utah Symphony musicians – Dec 04, 2021

Inmo Yang performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with David Robertson conducting the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

After a well-received concert with the orchestra last year, conductor David Robertson returned to Abravanel Hall Friday as the Utah Symphony’s fifth guest conductor in this season of unofficial auditions to succeed Utah Symphony music director Thierry Fischer when his contract expires in 2023. With a program featuring Stravinsky, Mendelssohn, and Brahms, the Southern California native greatly improved his chances and may … Read More

Female soloists and chorus provide the highlights in Utah Symphony’s “Messiah” – Nov 28, 2021

Conner Gray Covington conducted the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera Chorus in Handel’s Messiah Saturday night at Abravanel Hall.

After a year off due to the pandemic, the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera began with a reminder by conductor Conner Gray Covington that to avoid spreading Covid, this year’s performance would not be a “singalong” as it in years past. 

Judging by the smattering of scores in the hands of patrons—about a third of whom were masked—in … Read More

Shiyeon Sung quietly shines in Utah Symphony debut – Nov 20, 2021

Vadim Gluzman performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Shiyeon Sung conducting the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

The fourth guest conductor — and first female – this season for Utah Symphony, Shiyeon Sung of South Korea did not arrive at Abravanel Hall on Friday night straight from central casting, as the saying goes. Given how shockingly few female conductors helm major orchestras, and the related tendency to visualize imposing male figures in the role, central casting might well … Read More

Bergmann leads Utah Symphony in powerful Nielsen – Nov 06, 2021

Rune Bergmann led the Utah Symphony in Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 “Inextinguishable” Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

Danish composer Carl Nielsen “had a lot of frustrations” about the state of the world in 1916, Rune Bergmann told listeners upon taking the stage in Abravanel Hall Friday night. The Norwegian conductor reckoned the audience could relate, “coming out of a very difficult situation.”

Nielsen’s response was to celebrate the will to live in his Symphony No. 4, nicknamed “Inextinguishable,” and the … Read More

Mazzola makes a fiery Utah Symphony debut – Oct 23, 2021

Enrique Mazzola conducted the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

Abravanel Hall was only about half full Friday night for Italian conductor Enrique Mazzola’s Utah Symphony debut. But those who did attend experienced a delightful evening featuring one of the orchestra’s most communicative and polished guest conductors in recent memory.  

The evening began with an expansive rendition of the Overture to Verdi’s La Forza del destino. Mazzola’s bio bills him as a specialist in early Verdi, but his interpretation … Read More

Conductor Enrique Mazzola is passionate about bringing classical music to new audiences – Oct 17, 2021

Enrique Mazzola conducts the Utah Symphony this weekend in music of Brahms, Verdi and Rota. Photo: Joe Mazza

For the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic, conductor Enrique Mazzola was as frantic about the future as most of us.

“In March of last year,” he said, “when the cancellations started, of course, I had a feeling of frustration. After a couple of months, this sense of frustration became a reaction, a very beautiful artists’s reaction. We have to do something. We must react. We have to make music. Let’s make music. And from … Read More

Utah Opera returns with zany, colorful staging of Rossini’s “Barber” – Oct 11, 2021

Utah Opera’s production of Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” runs through October 17. Photo: Dana Sohm

A woman on stilts and a dream ballet featuring human-sized chickens were just two of the zany surprises welcoming Utah Opera’s audience Saturday night for its season-opening production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. The extras also included naughty nuns, Napoleonic soldiers throwing confetti, and a recurring chicken and rooster motif that is never explained. 

Set designer Shoko Kamburra and costume designer Amanda Seymour created a colorful, carnival-esque world evoking … Read More

Li and Morlot bring serendipitous magic to Utah Symphony program – Sep 25, 2021

George Li performed Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Friday night with the Utah Symphony. Photo: Simon Fowler

A few bumps are inevitable on the Utah Symphony’s road back to normalcy. At last week’s opening program, illness led to two changes of conductors and a programming adjustment.

This week, Ludovic Morlot was on the podium replacing Thierry Fischer due to the music director’s recent hospitalization. Also George Li was the substitute pianist in place of Andrei Korobeinikov, who was sidelined by a pandemic-related visa delay.

… Read More

Hilary Hahn’s instinctual Brahms kicks off Utah Symphony season – Sep 20, 2021

Hilary Hahn performed Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Jahja Ling conducting the Utah Symphony’s season-opening weekend. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

Johannes Brahms wrote his Violin Concerto for the celebrated Hungarian virtuoso Joseph Joachim, a friend and mentor who Brahms had admired ever since hearing him play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. The performance was so convincing, Brahms would later say, it sounded like Joachim had written the piece himself. 

The same compliment could describe violinist Hilary Hahn’s communicative rendition of the Brahms concerto Saturday night at a fully … Read More