Staff Picks: Lance Jensen

I’m Lance Jensen and my official job title is a bit long: “Executive Assistant to the Music Director and Symphony Chorus Manager.” I work closely with Maestro Fischer in handling communications and many organizational and administrative tasks, assisting the Maestro in his efforts as our Music Director. I also manage the Symphony Chorus, organizing singers and providing the coordination necessary to have a chorus on the stage during performances when the musical works on the program require one.

Which performance are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to the Utah Symphony Concerts on April 20 & 21—Grieg’s Piano Concerto.

This concert has a subtle theme—it features works by Nordic composers whose lifetimes spanned the 19th & 20th Centuries. I can claim Danish ancestry through both my mother and father, so maybe it’s this heritage that has me excited to attend! The works on the program are all among the gems of each composer’s compositions:

The Grieg Piano Concerto is one of those works of classical music that everyone has most likely heard (at least in part) whether you realize it or not. It’s an exciting concerto to the end, even if all you recognize are those first few opening bars from the piano.

Nielsen’s Helios Overture takes listeners on a voyage. Bookended by tranquility and peaceful musical passages, it builds to (and then descends from) exuberant and virtuosic playing.

Upon hearing the Sibelius Second Symphony for the first time, it was for me an instant favorite. Perhaps a bit lesser-known than the symphonies of Beethoven, Mahler or Tchaikovsky, Sibelius’ 2nd is no less musically satisfying. Sibelius creates a wide range of emotions and employs many different sound combinations and memorable melodies that keep me engaged throughout the symphony. It’s a great work that I am very much looking forward to hearing performed live by the fantastic musicians of the Utah Symphony.

What do you like to do before the show?

I like to find a good parking spot early with plenty of time to travel by foot to a nearby local restaurant for dinner before the concert begins. Attending the pre-concert lecture is always enjoyable and a great opportunity to hear from the evening’s performer (if present) and learn about his or her musical perspective and experience.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Three debuts. Three incredible concerts.

April is a big month for grand entrances—this month we have three marvelous musicians from all over the globe who will make their debut with us. Each of these talented artists will make an unforgettable entrance you won’t want to miss!

First on the schedule, internationally-acclaimed conductor Karina Canellakis will conduct a remarkable performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Little Russian” Symphony as well as Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist Conrad Tao and Franck’s Le Chasseur maudit.

Her resume is quite impressive. In addition to being a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Juilliard School—and the winner of the 2016 George Solti Conducting Award—she is an accomplished violinist. As if that didn’t already knock your socks off, she conducted at BBC Proms last year. Watch an excerpt of her brilliant performance here:

On April 20-21 we’ll perform the Grieg Piano Concerto with Alexandra Dariescu. This Romanian pianist was recently named as ‘one of 30 pianists under 30 destined for a spectacular career’ by International Piano Magazine. In fact, her career has already been spectacular—and no doubt will only get better!

Not only is she an accomplished pianist—as we can see in this clip of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1…

… she also knows how to bring music to life! Recently, she re-interpreted the music of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and set it to choreography and animation using projection technology. You can learn more about it in the clip below:

Finally, we’ll end April with an unforgettable performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concertos No. 1 and No. 2 by Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg. He has been praised for his deep and insightful sensitivity as well as his compelling interpretations.

Don’t believe us? Watch for yourself here:

You won’t want to miss these incredible and historic debuts this month. Abravanel Hall awaits—find tickets here.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Staff Picks: Mandi Titcomb

Not sure what symphony performance you want to see next? Take a look at what shows our staff—the people who live and die by classical music—would recommend for you! You’ll even get an idea of how to make a night of going to the symphony. We’re featuring Mandi Titcomb’s pick. She has a passion for all things musical theatre and is excited to see Audra McDonald.

What do you do?

I’m Mandi Titcomb, the Opera Production Coordinator. You could say that I wear many hats in my position, but essentially I provide administrative support to the opera artistic director, company manager, costume shop manager, technical director, and opera music staff.

Which performance are you most looking forward to and why?

Even though I mostly work on our opera productions I love attending the symphony, and the Audra McDonald concert has been on my calendar since it was announced last year. Not only is Audra McDonald a six time Tony winning actress, but she is one of the most talented and versatile singers you will ever have the opportunity to hear live. Her repertoire includes some of the most beloved Broadway tunes, as well as opera, jazz, and blues. I’ve got my fingers crossed she will grace us with her rendition of “Summertime” from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

What do you recommend doing before the show?

I prefer to warm up my musical palate before the concert by grabbing drinks at either Avant Groove or Lake Effect, where they often have live jazz bands playing. After the performance I like to head over to my favorite little local Mexican restaurant, Alberto’s, where you can get the best burrito in town and catch up with your symphony date into the wee hours of the night.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Deer Valley® Music Festival Season Announcement

Summer is a time to escape the cares of everyday life and enjoy the warm weather, spending time with friends and family, and—of course—experiencing great concerts at the Deer Valley® Music Festival! This is our 15th annual festival, and we can’t celebrate 15 years of summer fun without an incredible lineup.

Here are some of this year’s highlights:

Sutton Foster with the Utah Symphony – July 21

There will be no shortage of star power at the Deer Valley® Music Festival this year with Tony Award winner Sutton Foster! Enjoy the mountain venue while being serenaded by one of Broadway’s most versatile leading ladies.

 Rick Springfield with the Utah Symphony – July 20

You better love this concert. Grammy Award®-winning singer/songwriter Rick Springfield—whose chart-topping hits include “Jessie’s Girl,” “Love Somebody,” and “An Affair of the Heart”—is coming to perform this explosive concert with the Utah Symphony.

The Music of John Williams – July 28

Experience a thrilling night under the stars featuring music from John Williams’ greatest film scores, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and Star Wars.

The Music of Pink Floyd – August 11

This concert will be more than just “Another Brick in the Wall.” Hear some of their most popular hits like “Comfortably Numb” and “Hey You” in an electric performance powered by the Utah Symphony.

 

Broadway Hits by Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber – July 7

This show will have you singing along as you listen to some of Broadway’s greatest hits by Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The 1812 Overture with the Cannoneers of the Wasatch – August 10

No Deer Valley® Music Festival show would be complete without an explosive finish! The Cannoneers of the Wasatch will join us again in this spectacular performance that’s tailor-made for the outdoors. The Utah Opera Chorus will also provide their angelic voices

Chamber Concerts at St. Mary’s Church in Park City – July 11, July 18, July 25, and August 1.

With great concerts like the ones above, your weekend getaways will be easy to plan. But what if you need an escape during the week? We have four chamber concerts on Wednesday evenings during the summer which are sure to take your breath away. These concerts feature the Utah Symphony in the stunning and intimate venue of St. Mary’s Church with many of our principal musicians as featured soloists. Repertoire will include Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 2.

This summer will be filled with other great performances like Amos Lee, The 70’s vs. The 80’s, ABBA: The Concert, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, and Rachel Porter. See our full schedule here!

NOTE: Kristin Chenoweth was originally scheduled to perform on July 21. She must postpone her performances this summer due to ongoing complications from a past neck injury and will take time off so she can properly heal. We wish her a quick recovery. She will return to perform with us in 2019 on a date that will be announced at a later time. (Edit made 6/6/2018)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Audra McDonald answers all your burning questions

We can barely contain our excitement for our upcoming concert with Audra McDonald! This award-winning artist in not just a great singer, but she’s an incredible actress! With millions of reasons to love her, you probably don’t need any more. But allow us to add to her long list of accomplishments: She can answer your questions in style. Just take a look at this video of her and Jimmy Fallon answering some hilarious questions from Yahoo! Answers:

Can’t wait for this concert? Get your tickets here.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Pre-concert Rituals: Alexandra Dariescu

Professional musicians often spend much of their lives on the road performing in concert venues around the globe. Amid the hectic travel schedules, rehearsals, practice time and adjustments to a different time zone, culture and climate, regular routine is sacrificed. We asked two of our guest artists to share what pre-concert rituals help keep them grounded.

My ritual starts in the morning with a positive attitude. You never know what can go wrong on the day of a concert (flights canceled, trains running late, piano missing…) so an optimistic outlook is incredibly helpful. I like to practice slowly in the morning, on the score, looking at every detail and refreshing the memory. If there’s a rehearsal with an orchestra, I usually save energy for the evening performance. Lunch consists of fish, rice and lots of veggies. A nap is always welcome but if I can’t fall asleep, I lie down and breathe 3 in 7 out, a ritual I’ve had for years. I also visualize the hall, coming in and feeling free.

Freedom, inspiration and being in the moment are my essentials for a great performance. As musicians, we always practice for tomorrow’s concert, think what we’ll play in two year’s time. But when the spotlight is on, ‘now’ is the most important! Forget anything else and live the moment, think only about the music and then the magic happens! I like a good cup of coffee and chocolate about an hour before the concert, followed by warming up (Grindea technique) and the 30 min prior to the performance I spend alone, no talking, no phone, just thinking about the music, what I want to communicate to the audience. Every concert is a blessing and I sincerely feel grateful for every opportunity I have to perform, to do what I love!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

2018-19 Season Announcement: Entertainment Series

If show tunes and spectacles are your thing, you’ll be thrilled for our new 2018-19 Entertainment Series! From West Side Story to My Fair Lady, the Utah Symphony strives to bring you some of the most incredible voices and pops music.

For being 100-years old, Leonard Bernstein sounds as great as ever! In honor of this master composer’s 100th birthday, we bring you Bernstein on Broadway. With classics like West Side Story and On the Town, you’ll be sure to be singing along.

Singer Morgan James will be joining us. You can hear her music here.

Portland’s favorite “little orchestra” is will join our big orchestra in “Joy to the World” with Pink Martini and the Utah Symphony. This holiday celebration will take you on a trip around the world with multi-cultural holiday songs. It’s a concert that’s sure to bring holiday joy and that your entire family will love!

Wouldn’t a night out with a special someone just be loverly?  Bring your Valentine to Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady with the Utah Symphony. This will be a semi-staged production with real Broadway singers in full-costume performing live to the orchestra.

“Amazing” doesn’t even cover it. Cirque Dances with Troupe Vertigo & the Utah Symphony will combine acrobatics, classical dance, and thrilling music all in explosive fashion. You’ll be telling everyone about this unbelievable performance.

Don’t miss a single, sing-able note of our 2018-19 Entertainment Series. Learn more and subscribe here.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Family fun at the symphony!

When you think of family fun, what do you think of? For us, we think about our family nights at the symphony and opera! If you’ve never taken your kids to the symphony, it might seem a little daunting, but it’s absolutely worth it. A Utah family, Darrell and Marissa along with their children, had the opportunity to attend our Messiah Sing-in this year and loved it. Read on to see how much fun it was for them and their kids.

Tells us about your family.

We are Darrell and Marissa, and we have 4 children Gabe (12), Sam (9), Lauren (7), and Peter (2).

As a family, we enjoy the outdoors – hiking, biking, running, camping; and we also a love for music. All three of our older children play the piano, as well as their mother. As teenagers, both Marissa and I sang in a choir for 5+ plus years. Music is always being played or listened to in our home.

What concert did you attend?

The Messiah Sing-in concert. It was great to have such great seats for the kids to sit and enjoy the concert. It was great to be able to sing along with the choir on the specific choral pieces. After singing it in high school, Marissa and I forgot how quickly it moves along! It was great for the kids to participate in something so synonymous with the holiday season!

How did you enjoy the performance?

We loved the performance! Great way to start off the holiday season. Our kids also loved it. A couple of the songs were familiar to them but it was good for them to be able to hear the entire Messiah. They were amazed at how thick the book was to it.

As a parent, what was the biggest benefit to taking your kids to the symphony?

The biggest benefit of taking kids to the symphony is to expose them to and have them appreciate classical music—music that has been around for centuries and will be around for centuries more. Everyone should know what the classics are. Taking my children to these types of events also helps them to understand how to act differently, if you will, more appropriately during such events. Helps them know what is respect and how to show it.

Would you ever take them to the symphony again?

Yes, we would take our kids to the symphony again! Because they are all taking music from a teacher, this just gives them one more opportunity to learn more about music and how it affects our lives.

If your idea of fun is a night out at the symphony, learn more about Family Nights and our special family pricing here!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Everything you need to know about taking your kids to the symphony

There’s no better feeling than being your kid’s hero—and you can cement your coolness for years to come by taking them to the symphony! Live, classical music can be a wonderful and moving way to bond with your children, and it will give them a memorable experience.

Feeling uncertain about taking your family to the symphony? It’s easier than you think! Here’s what you need to know and how you can make going to the symphony an experience your children will never forget:

Kids 5-18 can come to Utah Symphony performances!

Children as young as FIVE can enjoy our Masterworks symphonies, Entertainment concerts, and our new Films in Concert series. Our Family matinee concerts are still open to everyone (including babies).

You might think taking your kids to our world-class symphonies would be pretty daunting financially. But we are now offering special pricing for families. Look for designated “Family Nights” which offer a $30 Family Pass (for a family of four with a max of two adults). You can add up to six additional youth tickets onto your pass for $5 each.

Prepare for the piece you’re going to see

Classical music is always more exciting when you know everything about it! Take some time to look up articles and YouTube videos about the repertoire with your kids before you go. You can even download a playlist and play it while you’re taking your kids to school in the morning so they are more familiar with the work.

Music was meant to be fun! Try dancing or singing to the piece before you attend. You can also make a game of it by listening to the different instruments and pointing out what animals the music sounds like, or what story the music would tell if it could talk.

We suggest doing some research ahead of time to decide if a particular concert is something you’re comfortable taking your kids to. You can also call our ticket office at 801-533-6683 for more information on what to expect at any given concert.

Practice “going to the symphony” with your children

Sometimes taking your kids out of the house can be stressful. Will they sit still? Will they want to talk the whole time or kick the chair in front of them? These are all valid concerns, but you can definitely get some peace of mind if you practice the concert-going experience beforehand.

Try practicing what it’s like going to the concert hall—standing in line, taking tickets, finding your seat, knowing when to clap. You can cast family members to be ticket-takers, orchestra members, and ushers to make it more fun. This is an entertaining way to prepare your family for going to the concert hall for the first time, and it will minimize surprises when you get there.

Make a plan

A night out with the kids should be a memorable, enjoyable experience! To reduce potential stress, make a plan for your concert experience.  Of course you’ll want to pick out what you want to wear (you can go in whatever you were already wearing or dress up if you want) or where you want to eat beforehand (you can see some suggestions here), but you’ll also want to know the ins and outs of Abravanel Hall and the concert.

All of our regular concerts have a 20-minute intermission in the performance. This is a great time to take a bathroom break, grab a snack at the concession stand, or just walk around to get the wiggles out before settling back into your seat. Sometimes a full-length symphony is simply too much for a young, sleepy child to get through. If you need to leave for any reason, the intermission would be the best option to call it a night.

If your child has never attended an orchestra performance before and you are concerned about your child sitting through the concert without disrupting others, ask to be seated near a door or towards the back of the venue when you purchase your tickets so you can make a quick exit to the lobby if needed. There are large video screens that broadcast the performance in the lobby if you would prefer to view it out there.

We recommend arriving 30 minutes before the start of the performance. Sometimes traffic is heavy around Abravanel Hall (especially during the holiday season or a large convention), so you might consider leaving earlier than you think you need to. The best place to park is City Creek Center, or you can take the TRAX train to the “Temple Square” stop, which lets you off in front of the Abravanel Hall ticket office.

Ask them what they liked about the performance afterward

The symphony can be an enchanting experience for a kid! Don’t miss a single, magical moment of their experience—ask them what their favorite part of the concert was or what instrument they liked most. You’ll be amazed at how much they enjoyed it—they may even ask to come again!

Be sure to get your tickets to a Family Night! You can see our upcoming shows here.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

RECAP: Carnival of the Animals

Who knew classical music could get so wild? Camille Saint-Saëns had a gift for telling narratives through music, and if you went to Louis Lortie performs Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2, you probably noticed the jungle of sounds from Carnival of the Animals.

We slithered into the rehearsal of this lush work to capture some of the best moments! Listen to each one to see if you can hear these incredible beasts.

There’s something fishy about this glittery piece of music! Which animal does this remind you of?

Cuckoo! Which bird does this song remind you of?

Is there anything more romantic than this swan song?

Which beautiful lumbering beast do you think this elegant waltz was written for?

This song tickles our funny bone! You can hear the musical tapping of bones in this piece about fossils.

Can you imagine turtles doing the cancan? Camille Saint-Saëns could!

No musical menagerie would be complete without an aviary.

BONUS VIDEO: During this rehearsal, we caught a glimpse of Saint-Saëns’ regal Symphony in F Major. Take a look at it here.

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone