Abravanel Memories: Bonnie Mangold

Gustav Mahler

Gustav Mahler

This is the first post in our Mahler Memories Series, which will provide highlights from oral histories of Utah Symphony musicians who played under Maestro Maurice Abravanel. During interviews conducted during the 2014-15 season, these musicians recalled their days making music with Maestro Abravanel , especially during the period of recording the Mahler symphonies. The complete oral histories will be archived in the McKay Music Library in the school of Music at the University of Utah.

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Zoos, Arts, and Parks are Good Things

Salt Lake County has a wide-ranging selection of popular activities and adventures from roughing it on an overnight backpacking trip through the forest to dressing up for a night at the symphony. Children and families can explore Utah’s Hogle Zoo, picnic at Utah’s city parks, and ride bikes along the county’s trails and parkways. This level of diversity exists because it is what the community of Salt Lake County wants, and there has been no bigger proof of that than the two-time voter approval of of the Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) program. The approval of this program provides support to more than 160 arts, cultural, and zoological organizations, 17 recreation centers, and 13 parks and trails.

ZAP helps fund cultural activities for over 7 million people and helps give free admission to ZAP funded organizations. This money goes directly to funding organizations like Ballet West, the Utah Arts Festival, This is the Place Heritage Park, The Tracy Aviary, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, and many more. Here, at Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, we are very grateful for the community’s express interest in supporting cultural activities and organizations throughout the county.

ZAP Logo

Renew ZAP – Let’s Keep a Good Thing Going


How does ZAP work?

When you pay sales tax, 1 penny for every $10 purchase (or a dime on a hundred dollar purchase) benefits Salt Lake County’s cultural organizations and recreational sites through the ZAP program. What that means is every time you spend $10 in gas or groceries (or practically anything that has sales tax), one penny goes into the ZAP program.

ZAP was first approved by Salt Lake County voters in 1996, was renewed by voters in 2004, and will expire at the end of 2016. This November, the ZAP program is up for renewal and it is up to us to approve it again.


What do I need to look for on the Ballot?

When you go to the ballots, pay attention to “County Proposal #1,” which is the renewal for the ZAP program. Voting language can be a little convoluted, so keep your eyes open for the word “shall.” The language used poses this program  renewal as the question “Should we renew ZAP?” and explains all the benefits behind it. The following is the wording from the ballot under “County Proposal #1.”

Shall Salt Lake County, Utah, be authorized to impose a 0.1% sales and use tax for the purpose of funding recreational, cultural, and zoological facilities located within Salt Lake County as well as ongoing operating expenses of recreational facilities and botanical, cultural, and zoological organizations, such as the following:

1. Publicly owned or operated parks, campgrounds, playgrounds, athletic fields, gymnasiums, swimming pools, and trails, or other facilities used for recreational purposes; and
2. Non-profit organizations, institutions, and municipal or county cultural councils having as a primary purpose the advancement and preservation of natural history, art, music, theater, dance, or cultural arts; and
3. Non-profit organizations having as a primary purpose the advancement and preservation of plant science or zoology through display, research, exhibition, and community education?


The final part of the ballot is where you actually vote for the ZAP renewal. Make sure you mark the one you mean to mark!

To vote in favor of the Zoo, Arts and Parks (“ZAP”) sales and use tax, select the box immediately adjacent to the words “FOR THE ZAP TAX.”
To vote against the Zoo, Arts and Parks (“ZAP”) sales and use tax, select the box immediately adjacent to the words “AGAINST THE ZAP TAX.”

ZAP logo

Vote for County Prop. #1


When do I vote?

Here are some important voting dates that you should remember:

Election Date

  • Tuesday, November 4

Voter Registration deadlines

  • Mail-In Registration: Monday, October 6
  • In-person/Online Registration: Tuesday, October 28

Voting options

  • In-Office Voting Period: October 6-31 (weekdays)
  • Early Voting Period: October 21-31 (weekdays)
  • Absentee Voting Deadline Last Day to Apply: Thursday, October 30


For more information about the ZAP program, you can visit the official website www.renewzap.com or go to the facebook page.

Let’s keep a good thing going and renew the ZAP program!


Romanticism Part II

Musical Romanticism

The music of the nineteenth century reflects many of the traits of literary Romanticism. Music aestheticians, as well as the noted philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, argued over the exact nature of musical “content” and whether music may contain emotion; nevertheless, most listeners hear a directness of emotional expression in Romantic music. This results from the emphasis composers placed on gradations in volume, variety in instrumental tone color, and expansion of the harmonic palette through the increased use of both dissonance and chromaticism.  Extreme contrasts within these elements result in constant fluctuation in mood, which the liberties in tempo caused by the use of rubato only serve to heighten.

In order to accommodate the changes in affect typical of Romantic style, composers found themselves penning longer compositions.  While a complete symphony by Mozart or Haydn averages approximately twenty minutes in length, Beethoven reaches around thirty minutes beginning with his “Eroica” Symphony of 1803 (and his Ninth Symphony of 1822-24 extends to nearly one hour).  After all, the stereotypical Beethoven affective trajectory traces a path from tragedy, through struggle, to victory within a single movement, and each of these sentiments warrants extended musical presentation so that the listener has adequate time to perceive it.  And as later composers explored other, unique emotional journeys in their works, pieces grew to even greater lengths.  By the end of the century, the symphonies of writers like Bruckner and Mahler, for example, usually run well over an hour.

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Romanticism Part I

Historical Background and Literary Romanticism

“Liberty in Art, liberty in Society, behold the double end towards which consistent and logical minds should tend; behold the double banner that rallies the intelligence.”

Victor Hugo penned these words in the preface to his 1830 play Hernani, and with them, he suggests that Romantic literature reflects the cultural and political turmoil nineteenth-century Europe was experiencing.  The storming of the Bastille in 1789 had heralded major political change for the continent.  The French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars initiated a series of revolutionary conflicts—including additional pan-European uprisings in 1830 and 1848—that would ultimately lead to the dissolution of many hereditary monarchies.  As more democratic forms of government emerged to take their place, international hostilities like the Crimean War (1853-56) weakened the spheres of influence granted to France, Austria, Britain, and Russia following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. These shifts in the balance of power, combined with the nascent nationalist sentiment prompted by the Napoleonic Wars, effected a reconfiguration of the continent’s map: Greece (1821-32), Italy (1848-66), and Hungary (1848) took up arms against their foreign oppressors in hopes of securing independence, while Prussia used wars against Austria (1866) and France (1870) to achieve its vision of a unified Germany(1871).

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Romantics Terminology

Chromaticism, Chromatic
Using notes outside the selected major or minor scale/key. For example, the C-major scale uses the pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and. B If a composer temporarily choses the notes C sharp, G flat, B flat, etc. while writing in the key of C major, this represents chromaticism.

Knaben Wunderhorn, Des (The Boy’s Magic Horn)
A collection of German folk poetry brought together by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano and published in three volumes between 1805 and 1808. As editors, however, Arnim and Bretano made significant alterations to the poems; they therefore no long constitute “authentic” folk materials.

The more than 700 texts in the collection inspired many composers, with Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, R. Strauss, and most notably Mahler setting individual poems as songs. Mahler, in turn, embedded these songs in his Second through Fourth Symphonies, as well as setting further Wunderhorn texts in their vocal movements.

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7 Teenagers who are Making Their Dreams Come True

Congratulations to the seven soloists who have been selected to perform in the 55th Annual Salute to Youth concert next week on September 30! One of our core missions at Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is to reach out to the community and to students. With this goal in mind, it brings us a wealth of joy to see such talented musicians vie for the starring spots in this concert

Associate Conductor Vladimir Kulenovic, jury member during the selection process and conductor for the concert, said, “It is one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences as a conductor to give back to the next generation of aspiring soloists. We have enormous talent here in Utah and we are very proud to cultivate it to the highest level.”

These students worked hard to hone their skills and come out on top, and the selection process was just as difficult for us. This year, the seven winners who will be performing at the Salute to Youth concert are Shenae Anderson, Sanne Christensen, Rebecca Epperson, Karen Ferry, Maggie Ivory, Michael Marsden, and Caroline Richards.

Salute to Youth Finalists

Salute to Youth Finalists: (Back row L-R) Maggie, Rebecca, Sanne, Shenae (Front row L-R) Karen, Michael, Caroline

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Something’s Amiss at Abravanel Hall

This weekend’s symphony performance is quite strange. The second half, after the intermission, will be familiar with the symphony playing as usual and pianist Yefim Bronfman performing Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2. But it’s the first half that may have you thinking that something is amiss.

The stage will appear normal, with at least 60 chairs set up on stage at Abravanel Hall.

stage set up

Stage set up at Abravanel Hall

But the first clue that something is up will be when the musicians take their seats, and you don’t see any violins, violas, cellos or bass, and instead you’ll only see flutes, trumpets, trombones, tubas, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns.

Don’t worry. It’s all planned and the string players aren’t just all really late.

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The Mario Generation

I am part of the group collectively called Generation Y. We’re also called the Millennials and the Peter Pan generation (for the peculiarity to stay at home longer, get a job later, and … you know, not grow up in the same ways of our parents). We are a generation of democratic and political change, and we are less likely to practice religion and more likely to discuss controversial topics.

But I like to call us the Mario Generation: the first generation of game consoles and fantasy quests. (There were those before us who pioneered arcade and computer games, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s and 1980s that the games were available to the masses.)

My family had a Nintendo in the 1980s. I remember my older brother and cousins making fun of me because I kept jerking the remote up and to the right whenever I wanted Mario to jump over a crevasse or my rider in Excitebike to make it over a hill. “That’s not going to make you jump further, dummy!” (It does now, though, thank you Wii).

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All the Tour’s a Stage

There is absolutely no way that the Mighty 5® Tour could have happened or been successful without the hard work of Chip Dance, our Production and Stage Manager. Chip had the job of finding a stage, driving the stage down to Southern Utah and setting up the stage. It was way more complicated than just putting up some wooden thing for people stand on.

USUO: How do you plan for such a complicated set design and venues?
CHIP: For the three venues where we would be needing to build the stage from the ground up, I started by doing a stage plot of the orchestra based on the instrumentation of the chosen repertoire . That gave me a sense of the size of stage we would require. Through my experience in the entertainment industry I knew that mobile “stage vans” existed, so I was only faced with finding one that would accommodate our space requirements and would be capable of meeting the demanding Mighty 5® tour schedule.  Then I adjusted the stage plot to fit within the footprint of that particular stage.


The planned set up at Teasdale.

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Beautiful Music, Stunning Vistas: A Mighty 5® Fan Account from Jeff Albertson

It’s not often I have the time, or the inclination, to see a symphony. As a former Navy deep sea diver, survival instructor, and pilot rescue swimmer, my interests were strictly in the physical world. My hobbies have always been in that direction as well. Then we (my wife and I) had a child, and my world grew. I now have four amazing kids, all different, all disparate in their interests. But that first one, while into many things, found her passion in the arts. It’s because of that interest I learned about symphony and opera; wonderful art forms I knew nothing about.

Fast forward to the present. My purpose for being in Utah is to move my second youngest daughter to college at Utah State (GO AGGIES). In the course of that process, we are spending time with my oldest, who now works for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera.

Ashley and Jeff Albertson

Ashley and Jeff Albertson exploring the national parks during the Mighty 5 Tour.

We have hiked the wonderful trails of Arches National Park. The Red Rock. The Delicate Arch. The massive, stunning vistas. Amazing. Humbling. And the Utah Symphony was in the midst of its Mighty 5® Tour. Symphony concerts set around the various parks; the concert I saw in Moab was stirring and beautiful. And as limited as my knowledge of the classics is, I found myself familiar with nearly every piece. Voices of Spring, sung by Celena Shafer, was not only strong, but also so appropriate given the setting. And Summertime (from Porgy & Bess) is always a personal favorite. I’d advise anyone to take some time to go see the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera in a venue near you, or in their Salt Lake City home.