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Critic’s Choice – Mar 05, 2020

Benjamin Beilman

The Utah Symphony travels to Spain this weekend with a concert of French works inspired by the sounds and rhythms of the Iberian Peninsula. On the program are Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, Ravel’s Rhapsodie espagnole, Aubert’s Habanera and Debussy’s “Ibéria” from his three-movement suite Images. Also on the program is American composer Andrew Norman’s Unstuck.

On the podium this weekend in Abravanel Hall is the young French conductor Fabien Gabel, who has been the music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec since 2012 and of the Orchestre Français des Jeunes … Read More

Ballet West to serve up a rich variety in 2020-21 season – Feb 29, 2020

Rodeo, with choreography by Agnes de Mille and music by Aaron Copland, will be performed in Ballet West’s 2020-21 season. Photo: Agnes de Mille, 1943, by Maurice Seymour

Highlights of Ballet West’s 2020-21 season include the addition of a sixth production to an already rich schedule of performances plus a first time collaboration between the Sundance Institute’s Music Film Program and company principal artist Emily Adams. 

The season opens October 23 with Ben Stevenson’s family-friendly Dracula. From November 6 to 14, the company performs a triple bill of Twyla Tharp (Nine Sinatra Songs), … Read More

Critic’s Choice – Feb 27, 2020

Pioneer Theatre Company’s Once on this Island runs through March 7. Photo: PTC

Once on This Island, Pioneer Theatre Company’s current production, isn’t a typical fluffy musical. Instead, it’s a fascinating story about love and prejudice set on an island in the Caribbean.

Lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty based their musical on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl, by Trinidad-born American author Rosa Guy. The show opened on Broadway in 1990 and was revived in 2018, when … Read More

Critic’s Choice – Feb 06, 2020

Joyce Yang

After last weekend’s demanding program that featured Richard Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie, this weekend’s Utah Symphony concerts are positively pops-like.

On the program are a trio of well-known audience favorites, opening with Bernstein’s “Three Dance Episodes” from the 1949 film On the Town, the music of which is partly based on the composer’s ballet score Fancy Free. Also on the program are Gershwin’s Concerto in F, for piano and orchestra and Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8.

The soloist is Korean pianist Joyce … Read More

Critic’s Choice – Apr 24, 2019

The program for this weekend’s NOVA Chamber Music Series concert focuses in large part on music that blurs the line between classical and more populist styles. Featured works are Aaron Copland’s Quiet City, William Grant Still’s Suite for Violin and Piano and Nikolai Kapustin’s Double Concerto for Violin and Piano. Rounding out the concert is Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 1.

Portuguese pianist Luis Magalhães and violinist (and NOVA music director and Utah Symphony concertmaster) Madeline Adkins are the spotlighted artists. Also performing … Read More

Critic’s Choice – Apr 11, 2019

Vassily Sinaisky

This weekend’s Utah Symphony concerts focus on Central and Eastern Europe.

On the program is one of Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodály’s most frequently played works, Dances of Galanta. Rounding out the evening are two Russian works: Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12, “The Year 1917,” written in 1961 and dedicated to the memory of Vladimir Lenin; and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s lesser known Piano Concerto No. 4.

On the podium is renowned Russian conductor Vassily Sinaisky. Soloing in the Rachmaninoff is the … Read More

Critic’s Choice – Apr 03, 2019

Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, currently onstage at Pioneer Theatre, takes a hard look at recent American history.

The play, a 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner, chronicles the lives of a group of friends who also happen to work at the same plant. The story opens in 2000 when life is good for everybody. They congregate regularly at a bar run by Stan, a former employee at the same plant who was injured on the job. The group, led by Tracey, hangs out after work to … Read More

Critic’s Choice – Mar 27, 2019

Alban Gerhardt

This weekend’s Utah Symphony concerts should appeal both to traditionalists and those who desire something a bit more modern

Music director Thierry Fischer, who’ll be on the podium in Abravanel Hall this weekend, will open and close the program with two wildly popular works: the overture to Rossini’s opera William Tell and Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”

Sandwiched between these two concert-hall stalwarts is Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain (A Whole Distant World) … Read More

Critic’s Choice – Feb 07, 2019

Thierry Fischer

After a successful performance last week of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Thierry Fischer mounts the podium in Abravanel Hall this weekend to lead the Utah Symphony in another round of Berlioz.

The three works by the French composer that are on the upcoming program are Sara la baigneuse and La Mort d’Ophélie, both for chorus and orchestra, and Rêverie et caprice for violin and orchestra. The three will also be recorded for inclusion in the orchestra’s all-Berlioz CD on Hyperion, along … Read More

Critic’s Choice – Jan 30, 2019


Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique was Thierry Fischer’s audition piece when the Utah Symphony was looking to replace outgoing music director Keith Lockhart. His performance was a resounding success with the audience and, more importantly, with the search committee. That was a decade ago, and in the years since Fischer has conducted what is unquestionably Berlioz’s best-known work several times with the Utah Symphony.

Symphonie fantastique is on the program once again this weekend, and it will be interesting to see how Fischer tackles … Read More