Staff Picks: Melissa Robison

My name is Melissa Robison, and I’m the Front of House Director for the Deer Valley® Music Festival. This will be my 11th season enjoying my summers in Park City! My job is to make sure you enjoy your time on the hill, and I do that with a staff of 100 volunteers every night! From ushers, ticket takers to security and merchandise—we do it all! We have a great time, and if you ever want to join us as a volunteer, we’d love to have you! You can learn more about volunteering here.

Every year we start the Deer Valley® Music Festival season with our Patriotic Celebration concerts, and I look forward to starting my summer concert season with them every year! They play some of my favorite patriotic songs, have surprise guest conductors, and top it all off with amazing friends and family! The patriotic concerts include my favorite moment of the entire summer when we honor each branch of the military. Coming from a military family which has members in the Marines, Air Force, Army, and National Guard, it is a special moment to honor these men and women for the beautiful sacrifices they’ve made for us.

When it comes to food, our favorite place to stop is the Deer Valley Café right at the bottom of the roundabout as you’re heading to the Snow Park Lodge. They have the most amazing homemade chips and the open-faced tuna melts are absolutely to die for. We grab a couple sarsaparillas and enjoy them on the blanket side of the hill. We also throw in a plate of our favorite cheeses from the cheese bar at Harmons or Smith’s. The local cheeses in Utah are amazing, and our favorite is lined with coffee beans. Sometimes we make it up there with friends and family, but sometimes it is just nice to sit with my husband and enjoy the concert—just the two of us—and we each put something in the snack bag to surprise each other.

Don’t miss this first concert—if not for your pure enjoyment, then to honor those that fought for the freedoms we enjoy today!

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How to DVMF: 4 ways to get the most out of the Deer Valley® Music Festival

It’s just not summer unless you make some unforgettable memories! The Deer Valley® Music Festival (or “DVMF”) always has amazing concerts, but it’s not just about the music—it’s about the experience of escaping into the music.

Here are some ways to have a memorable DVMF escape this year:

#1 Prepare for the venue.

What could be more enjoyable than listening to live music in the open air? An outdoor venue certainly has its perks, and summers in Park City are usually nice, but you’ll still want to prepare for the venue.

The venue is at the Deer Valley Resort, and most of the seating is general admission. This means you’ll be sitting on a big hill that is usually used for skiing during the winter. To make yourself more comfortable, wear a good pair of walking shoes and bring a blanket or a short camping chair (no higher than 9” off the ground). Keep in mind that Park City gets chilly at night, so make sure to bring a blanket or a jacket.

Parking is free at the venue, but usually, traffic is heavy and parking is tight during the summer. Consider carpooling if you plan to meet with friends. You can learn more about the venue in our FAQ section.

#2 Pack a picnic.

What’s the best part about being at an outdoor venue? You get to bring your own snacks! With all the great options from local artisans, you’re sure to find all sorts of goodies to put in your picnic basket.

Of course, if you’re on the go, food and drinks are available at the concession stand in the venue, and you can even order a gourmet picnic bag from Deer Valley Resort. We do not sell alcohol inside the venue, but you are free to bring your own.

#3 Plan a staycation.

If you’re not a Park City native, why not make a weekend of it? Park City is filled with fun things to do. From the Olympic Park to historic Main Street, or from scenic hikes to the Park Silly Sunday Market, you can make an entire mini-vacation out of your weekend.

Not sure where to stay? We’ve got you covered. Thanks to our friends at Stay Park City, you can make reservations online here with any of our preferred lodging partners. Take a dip in Montage’s serene outdoor pool, stay close to the venue with lodging at Deer Valley Resort, enjoy Sunday brunch at Stein Eriksen Lodge, or treat yourself to a spa day at St. Regis. With five-star accommodations, you can’t go wrong!

#4 Make some memories!

You’ll want to have a reminder of all the great memories you make at the festival! Don’t forget to bring a camera or snap some pictures with your phone. We’d love to see all the fun you’re having, so please upload your photos to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tag us @utahsymphony and hashtag us with #DVMF.

Now that you are ready to come to the festival, which concerts are you coming to? See the full lineup here.

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Song Cycle: A playlist by Madeline Adkins

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably addicted to finding new music. To help you satisfy your thirst for great music, this series of articles is dedicated to the people who know music best: the musicians of our orchestra. Keep reading to learn more and listen to concertmaster Madeline Adkins’ curated playlist inspired by the Korngold Violin Concerto which she will perform on May 25-26, 2018:

My Spotify playlist is an intro to the Korngold Violin Concerto and also a few of my personal influences! Firstly, I’ve included a few other works by Korngold himself. The very first track from the Prince and the Pauper prominently features in the violin concerto—you will be sure to recognize it! I include the main titles from Captain Blood and Robin Hood, for which Korngold won an Oscar. Also, music from his composition The Snowman, his Much Ado About Nothing suite, and a Suite for 2 Violins, Cello, and Piano Left Hand.

Korngold’s early influences included Zemlinsky, Wagner, and Mahler, but he came into the public consciousness mainly through his film scores. He came to Hollywood in the 30’s to escape wartime Europe and wrote a number of notable film scores including Robin Hood and Captain Blood. He returned to “art music” after the war, at which time his violin concerto was premiered by Jascha Heifetz in 1947.

I included a number of other prominent classical pieces from that time that have been incorporated in movies, such as Ravel’s Piano Concerto, Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 2, and the Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. You’ll also hear a violin concerto by Louis Gruenberg, another film composer whose concerto was also premiered by Jascha Heifetz, as well as a Bernard Herrmann classic from Taxi Driver.

The last five tracks are the getting-to-know-me section. As far as my personal influences, my dad was a prominent historical performance scholar, so I grew up well versed in Baroque music. Included here: Rachel Podger’s sublime interpretation of Biber’s Passacaglia.

I grew up in a jazz town (Denton, Texas) so Frank Sinatra is non-negotiable.  Before concerts, I love to get energized with my disco playlist… hence the Parliament.

One of my earlier classical influences was my first six years in the Baltimore Symphony when Yuri Temirkanov was the music director. I include a quintessential YT track of Prokofiev (also, not insignificantly, one of my two favorite composers!)

Finally, a track from my first commercial release my other favorite composer: Mendelssohn. This is an unpublished sonata movement I found in a Berlin archive!

Enjoy and I hope to see you at Season Finale: Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 on May 25th and 26th!

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9 Inspiring Quotes from Thierry Fischer’s USU Commencement Speech

Photo credit: Utah State University

You can feel the anticipation in the air. Imagine the feeling of getting ready to graduate from college after four years of hard work and dedication and seeing your future in front of you. Perhaps there is a sense of fear for not knowing what it holds, but for anyone who has stared their future square in the face, they know the feelings of hope and excitement it brings.

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, Maestro Thierry Fischer spoke to a room of graduating Utah State University students and shared some inspiring words of wisdom. The university also conferred on him (as well as several others) an honorary doctorate to recognize his sacrifices and dedication to instilling positive change in the world.

Below are some of the most inspiring quotes from his speech:

#1 “I feel like the future of tomorrow is here in this wonderful stadium today. You are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. But to be a leader doesn’t mean you need to be famous—you are the leaders of yourselves and that’s what matters.”

#2 “How can I have an impact? Should I be a participant or actor? Those questions are a unique opportunity to make you see what a privilege it is to have questions. The questions should not be a burden—they are your opportunity to make the world better.”

Photo credit: Utah State University

#3 “It is time to share your voice. Talk about your dreams… your aspirations.”

#4 “The only person who can give you advice is yourself.”

#5 “If you feel discouragement, cynicism, sarcasm, let down—by your leaders or by yourself—from my experience with the symphony, these feelings are an opportunity and look for a vision. Look for the way you want to create your own life. No other destiny than you want for yourself. No dream you cannot reach. It’s a good time to be inventive.”

Photo credit: Utah State University

#6 “Think, hope, dream, dare—shoot for the today you want for tomorrow.”

#7 “This feeling of expressing yourself in a collective is something that that happens in the symphony every day. Never forget—you are not alone. Discovering what you can do for the world is the most important thing. You make your own future. You make your own destiny.”

#8 “You can’t have failures define you. You have to have failures teach you.”

#9 “Have fun. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Create possibilities in the world of today which is full of possibilities.”

Photo credit: Utah State University

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