Performances

A powerful “Rite” and dazzling Mozart from Utah Symphony, Fellner – Nov 23, 2019

Pianist Till Fellner’s mastery of Mozart was on full display Friday in performance with Utah Symphony. Photo: Gabriela Brandenstein

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring is a classical mainstay and a favorite of Utah Symphony music director Thierry Fischer, who has it back on the program this weekend at Abravanel Hall in a spot-on interpretation that again brings one of orchestral music’s default works to thrilling life.

Fischer on Friday knew just what he wanted to cull from Stravinsky’s score, and the orchestra responded with a virtuoso performance. … Read More

From Bartók to Roens, a delightful study in “Contrasts” at NOVA concert – Nov 19, 2019

Steve Roens’ Countermeasures was given its world premiere at the NOVA Chamber Music series Sunday afternoon at Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

The title for Sunday afternoon’s NOVA Chamber Music series concert in Libby Gardner Concert Hall was “Contrasts,” and the four works on the program certainly lived up to that, since the thrust of each work lay in juxtaposing contrasting styles, textures, tempos, dynamics and articulation.

The featured work was the world premiere of composer and University of Utah faculty member Steve Roens’ Countermeasures for wind quartet: four … Read More

A retooled Pacifica Quartet brings the same top artistry to Salt Lake City – Sep 19, 2019

The Pacifica Quartet performed Wednesday night, presented by the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City.

The Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City opened its season Wednesday night in Libby Gardner Concert Hall with a welcome return visit by the Pacifica Quartet. The ensemble has been a frequent guest here over the years, and each time they’ve engaged their audience with their perceptive playing and well-chosen programs.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Pacifica has gone through personnel changes in recent years and the … Read More

Utah Symphony opens season with music from the canyon to the cosmos – Sep 14, 2019

Thierry Fischer conducted the Utah Symphony in the orchestra’s season-opening program Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

For their season-opening program, Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony took their audience on a heavenly journey Friday night, culminating in an at-times rambunctious but always engrossing performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. 

The basis for the program choices for much of the new season is Olivier Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles… Two movements of Messiaen’s epic were played Friday, though the focus this weekend was squarely on Holst’s … Read More

Utah Symphony premiere proves bombastic but Ehnes scores with Bruch – May 18, 2019

James Ehnes performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor with the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

Except for Max Bruch’s omnipresent Violin Concerto in G minor, Friday night’s’s Utah Symphony concert at Abravanel Hall celebrated a part of American history.

In addition to two works by Aaron Copland, Appalachian Spring and the suite from the ballet Billy the Kid, the program also features the Utah debut of Chinese-American composer Zhou Tian’s Transcend, written to commemorate the … Read More

Utah Opera’s superb cast, colorful staging make for an entertaining “Magic Flute” – Mar 10, 2019

Zulimar López-Hernández (left) as Pamina and Celena Shafer as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at Utah Opera. Photo: Dana Sohm

Mozart’s beloved The Magic Flute opened Saturday night presented by Utah Opera at the Capitol Theater. The opera, Mozart’s last, was premiered mere months before the composer’s death at 35.

Utah Opera’s lively and whimsical production makes it easy to understand why the work has had such staying power over more than two centuries. With its invigorating … Read More

Jackiw brings individual illumination to Brahms concerto with Utah Symphony – Feb 23, 2019

Stefan Jackiw performed Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Mario Venzago and the Utah Symphony Friday night. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

The Utah Symphony presented a program of exclusively Romantic-era music Friday night at Abravanel Hall. The performance took place under the baton of Swiss guest conductor Mario Venzago, and featured soloist Stefan Jackiw performing the popular Brahms Violin Concerto.

Much of the evening’s music originated as works for the opera or theater including the opener, Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 2. Despite the numerical label, … Read More

Women composers stand tall alongside old masters in NOVA Chamber program – Jan 21, 2019

“Chance Has Spoken” by composer Gity Razaz paired music with ballet Sunday at Gardner Hall.

Since its start in 1977 the NOVA Chamber Music Series has always been about presenting a wide range of works with a strong emphasis on new music. This season, under new music director Madeline Adkins, the focus is on women composers, and Sunday’s concert in Libby Gardner Concert Hall was NOVA at its best and most inclusive: Next to Beethoven and Elgar were works by the venerable American composer Joan Tower and the young Iranian-American Gity … Read More

Utah Opera’s “The Little Prince” is captivating, well-cast magic for all ages – Jan 20, 2019

The Prince (Nitai Fluchel) and the Pilot (Jared Bybee) in “The Little Prince.” (Dana Sohm/Utah Opera)

The Little Prince made its Utah Opera debut to boisterous acclaim Saturday at the Capitol Theatre for what proved to be a superb adaptation of a literary classic. Composer Rachel Portman and librettist Nicholas Wright have taken the much-loved children’s novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and transformed it into an opera with universal appeal.

At first glance, the story of a young prince visiting Earth from a distant planet seems simple and fanciful … Read More

Märkl, Utah Symphony warm up the winter chill with Spanish program – Dec 15, 2018

Jun Märkl conducted the Utah Symphony Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

Jun Märkl has been a frequent guest conductor of the Utah Symphony, appearing in Abravanel Hall almost every season since his first engagement in 2012.

Past appearances have seen him conducting weighty programs, But this week he was able to let his hair down, as it were, and indulge in populist Spanish-flavored pieces, including Emmanuel Chabrier’s España and Maurice Ravel’s ubiquitous Boléro. 

All of these works are timeworn … Read More