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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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)

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Deer Valley® Music Festival celebrates 15 years


During the summer months when Abravanel Hall lies quiet to the reverberating sounds of classical music, the hills surrounding Park City come to life as the Utah Symphony retreats to its summer home at the Deer Valley® Music Festival (DVMF). Founded in 2003, the vision of the Deer Valley® Music Festival is to deliver a high quality and musically diverse experience in casual settings of unparalleled natural beauty – full orchestra concerts take place at a stunning outside hillside venue located at Deer Valley Resort.

The six-week festival provides as many as 18 chamber music, classical, and pops concerts in several venues throughout Park City: the Deer Valley® Resort Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, St. Mary’s Church, and salon events in private homes in the Park City area.

Over the years, the festival has supported big-name stars including Earth, Wind and Fire, Tony Bennett, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Beach Boys, Jewel, and Broadway legends such as Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison and Leslie Odom Jr.

As part of the educational outreach mission of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the festival education events offered three sessions of Pro-Am Clinics, in which Utah Symphony members coached 49 area community orchestra musicians and music students from Park City High School in strings, woodwinds, and brass sections.  Over the course of the 2016-17 academic year, Summit County school participation in Utah Symphony | Utah Opera education programs totaled 1,710 students and 85 teachers from nine schools.

But what has been more telling is the explosive growth that has seen audience numbers increase by 80 percent since the festival’s inception back in 2003 – even the last 2017 season reported a ticket sales increase of 25 percent from the previous year. The festival began under the direction of Utah Symphony Music Director Keith Lockhart and Utah Symphony & Opera President & CEO Anne Ewers.

And the resulting economic indicators illustrate the positive impact of the festival on boosting the region’s local economy as it continues to attract concertgoers from outside the area in search of the outdoor orchestral experience. Of more than 47,000 tickets distributed during the 2017 season, 78 percent went to non-Summit County residents, the majority of whom resided in Salt Lake, Utah, and Davis counties.

These festival patrons continue to boost the Summit County tourist economy through activities surrounding their concert attendance. Of the respondents to a 2017 post-festival survey, 87 percent indicated that they had eaten at a Summit County restaurant in conjunction with a DVMF concert, 64 percent went shopping, 48 percent visited Park City’s historic Main Street, and 17 percent visited the Utah Olympic Park.

What does the continued growth trajectory and exciting future mean for the 15th anniversary of the festival? A hootenanny “Barn Bash” of epic proportions is being planned at Blue Sky Ranch in celebration of 15 years of summer music in the mountains. The Western-themed fundraiser will feature a musical performance by American country group, Asleep at the Wheel. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please contact Heather Weinstock at 801.869.9011 or email her at

For more information, visit our website here.

As a resident of Park City, Director of Communications Renée Huang first fell in love with summer in the mountains while attending Deer Valley Music Festival outdoor orchestra concerts. As the festival celebrates its 15 year anniversary in 2018, she takes a look at the growth and impact it has had on the local economy.

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What to pack in your Deer Valley® Music Festival picnic basket

This summer will be filled with sun, songs, and snacks for us! One of the best parts of the Deer Valley® Music Festival is enjoying tasty snacks while listening to live music. Do you know what you’re going to put in your picnic basket? If not, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top picks for local purveyors who pack some punch to whet your festival foodie appetite.

Cremenelli Fine Meats

Creminelli family legend alleges that they’ve been crafting meats in Italy since before the 1800s, but it was Master Artisan owner and founder Cristiano Creminelli who brought that age-old tradition to Utah. With that kind of history and dedication to their craft, you’d better believe that their artisanal charcuterie products are good! They have great on-the-go options which will fit perfectly in your DVMF picnic basket.

Beehive Cheese Co.

If you’re looking for the perfect thing to pair with your meat plate, Beehive Cheese Co. has just the thing for you. Since 2005, brothers-in-law Tim Welsh and Pat Ford have perfected unique, award-winning offerings like the Barely Buzzed which is hand rubbed with espresso and lavender, and the Hatch Chile with a sweet spicy kick, all made in their Northern Utah facility.

Red Bicycle Breadworks

You can’t have a meat and cheese plate without good bread to go with it. Since you’re already in Park City for the Deer Valley Music Festival, stop by The Market for their “crack bread” that has a buttered popcorn flavor from olive oil and sea salt.

The Chocolate Conspiracy

Top your basket off with a little dessert! The Chocolate Conspiracy offers sweet treats for the true chocolate enthusiast. Load up on candy bars, truffles and more.

Garwood’s Ginger Beer

If you’re feeling adventurous, wash down your concert snacks with local Salt Lake-produced Garwood’s Ginger Beer. They are a “symphony in a bottle” according to the owners, so it’s a perfect pairing for your concert experience. You can buy these tart, non-alcoholic drinks at places all over the valley like Liberty Heights Fresh, The Hive Winery, and Harmons.

Now that you have your snacks planned, which concerts are you going to?

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Joan Tower Inside Final Emerging Composers Performance

Joan Tower has made her mark as one of the most influential woman in the world of music. By embracing the idea of living composers and sharing this with her many students, Joan has effectively shaped music as an educator as well. As a professor at Bard College, she teaches her students the importance of business and celebrating living composers in harmony with past composers. She is truly a living legend, and has undoubtedly earned her title as one of the most important American composers of all time.

Joan Tower, along with the Muir Quartet, has taken up a residency at the Deer Valley Music Festival. On July 28th, 2015, they will take their final bow as the mentors of the Emerging Quartets and Composers Program that has found its home in Park City for the last 10 years.  We were able to speak with Joan Tower about the program, the composers, and the music.

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera: How did you originally get involved with composing?

Joan Tower: I didn’t start composing until I was 18 in college and I was asked to write a piece which turned out to be a disaster. I said to myself, “I think I can do better than that” so I’ve been trying to for almost 60 years.

USUO:  How did you first get acquainted with the Muir Quartet?

JT: As I recall, they asked me to come to Snowbird to give a talk, but I said to them “You should have composers here!” and they said “That’s a good idea, why don’t you come and join us and bring some young composers,” and that began a long association. They also asked me to write a piece with them, my first quartet. That was the beginning of a long association with the quartet world. Muir Quartet has played everything I’ve ever written. They know my music better than anyone else.

USUO: What are some of the alumni of this program doing now?

JT: The most famous is Jennifer Higdon who won a Pulitzer and a Grammy and just finished an opera for Santa Fe Opera. She has become a big deal in the orchestra world. Of the quartets, the St. Lawrence, JACK, and Cypress have all gone on to make a real name for themselves.

USUO: Can you tell me anything about the composers and program this year?

JT: They are both students of mine, very talented. I can’t share much because it’s going to be a new piece written by both of them. I’m sure they will come up with something interesting, I’m looking forward to it. It is a mixed blessing, we’ve sort of resigned to it that this program will end . We’ve had a good ride and loved every minute, it will be a sad farewell.

USUO: How do you pick the composers and quartets that will be part of the program?

JT: A lot of them have been students of mine or people I know, and I pick them personally, we don’t do a call out. It’s the same with the quartets, they pick the appropriate quartet for the festival.

USUO: What is the experience at the program like?

JT: It is a very serious music making activity. If we have to change things in pieces, we have time to do that. The rest of the time we hike and eat and swim. But there is a lot of music making. The players work with them and I work with the players, Muir works with the players, that’s where the energy goes.

USUO: What is the biggest concept that you try to teach?

JT: I’m more like a traffic cop, I set up a situation where they hear their music played seriously and that is where they really learn. To put a piece together as best they can, to hear it, to learn from it what is working and what is not, that’s the real learning situation.

USUO: How has this program changed since its inception?

JT: It has gotten more serious and the level has gotten higher. It is smaller, they used to have an amateur component, but that was dropped early on, so then it became this very small but serious thing.

USUO: Are there any other programs like this available?

JT: Yeah, but not many. The big festivals in Aspen have these programs, but they are much bigger. I think going small is much better because the composer gets much more attention from the players and the mentors. I don’t think there is one exactly like this.

USUO: What advice would you give to someone wanting to start composing?

JT: Form your own group. They are all over the place, the composer collective, some are players, some are presenters, they all take different roles, but many groups around the country are formed by composers.

USUO: What has been your favorite experience during the program’s residency at Deer Valley?

JT: Peter Zazofsky, who is first violin for Muir Quartet, was a very traditional guy when we first started, so I started teasing him saying “When are you going to play pieces by a living composer?” until finally he started playing my music and I converted him basically. But the Utah Symphony has been a Godsend for us. They have provided staff and help that a festival like this needs and they have been a wonderful support of us. It has been a really nice collaboration, but all things must come to an end.

It will be a bitter-sweet farewell at St. Mary’s Church on Tuesday, July 28th when Semiosis and Denovo Quartets perform a new composition by Douglas Friedman and Daniel Castellanos  in the final performance of the Emerging Quartets and Composers Program. Tickets start at $26 and can be purchased by visiting



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Curtis Stigers Celebrates Sinatra

When a guest artist answers the phone from their favorite local record store, you know you’re in for a treat. Curtis Stigers is the epitome of cool-  with a quick wit and sultry style that could intoxicate any audience. His music has blurred the lines between genres and has left a lasting impact on the realm of jazz music. He has been stealing hearts and making headlines for the past 23 years and I’m sure he will continue to be a most beloved modern jazz icon for the next 23.

It has been 100 years since the birth of Frank Sinatra and on July 25th, Curtis Stigers will join the Utah Symphony to celebrate the music of Ol’ Blue Eyes as part of the Deer Valley® Music Festival. We had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Stigers about the upcoming event, and the legend himself, and what a treat it was.

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera: How were you first introduced to jazz?

Curtis Stigers: I was a big music fan as a kid, I was buying records by that time I was in 3rd grade. In 5th grade I played the clarinet in the school band and that led me to want to find music with wind instruments and a friend played me some jazz.

USUO: How does your music mesh together rock influence and jazz?

CS: When I make jazz records, I perform songs that aren’t always associated with  jazz- like Elvis Costello or Willie Nelson. I try to find songs that are outside of the normal thing that people associate with jazz.

USUO: Do you prefer performing originals or classics?

CS: It depends. When I sing a great song that someone else has written, I tend to sing it like I wrote it. For me, singing a great song is like watching a great movie, I lose myself in it.

USUO: Who is your favorite jazz performer?

CS: That’s tough, and there are a lot of different styles of jazz. I would say my favorite pop jazz performer is Frank Sinatra. As well, one of the best jazz singers, Ray Charles, has been a huge influence on me.  And Nat King Cole- I think he is one of the best jazz musicians that ever lived.

USUO: You’ve performed with a lot of iconic performers. Which left the biggest influence?

CS: Elton John was someone who was really exciting. The first album I ever bought was “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and here I was playing jazz with him.

USUO: If you could go on tour with any of the people you have performed with, who would it be?

CS: Elton John because he has a plane—you have to be practical.

USUO: What is the most unique performance experience you’ve had?

CS: I did a tour of China with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra a few years back and we did a whole evening of John Lennon. It was interesting, but amazing. I’ve been very lucky, I get to do what I love and it gets me around the world.

USUO: How have you evolved as a performer over the last 23 years?

CS: My first two albums were very slick, middle of the road, pop. I had hit songs on the radio. Then I pushed away from that and experimented as a singer-songwriter. I decided, I’ve had some success and enough of a following to make a living as a touring musician. I stopped worrying if I would have a hit song and made music specifically for myself.

USUO: How do you think music in general has evolved over the last 23 years?

CS: There is a lot of good music, but it doesn’t play on modern radio. Occasionally, I’ll hear something that knocks my socks off, but I don’t think I am meant to love all young people’s music. I’m not supposed to love everything my daughter likes, and my mom didn’t like everything that I liked. Music changes because it has to—because the young people making music want to do something new.

USUO: What is your daughter’s taste in music?

CS: I’ve tried to create a child with an open mind. She loves modern music, she likes Taylor Swift and whatever else is on the radio, but she also knows all the names of the Beatles.

USUO: What is your favorite Frank Sinatra song?

CS: It depends on the day. Whichever one is playing usually. “All the Way,” is just a song when I hear it, it is just the most romantic thing ever. Right now, let’s say “All the Way.”

USUO: Would you have been a member of The Rat Pack back in the day?

CS: It would have been a lot of fun to hang out with those guys, they got into a lot of trouble. I’m not sure I could keep up, but I would give it my best shot.

USUO: How did you feel about Frank Sinatra’s passing?

CS:  He had accomplished more as an artist in a few years than most do in a whole lifetime. He did it right, he lived large, and he made great art.

USUO: Your music has been featured in a lot of TV and movies. Which has been your favorite?

CS: “Sons of Anarchy” was the most visible. It went from a friend calling and saying “Hey I need you to write some lyrics” to being nominated for an Emmy  for one of the most popular shows on TV.

USUO: Are there any TV shows you never miss?

CS: There’s a fun show I’m watching with my daughter made by BBC called “Moone Boy,” which stars Chris O’Dowd. I tend to watch TV or movies with my daughter, she is my TV buddie.

USUO: Growing up in Boise, did you ever come down to Salt Lake?

CS: Occasionally, since it was the closest big city. I’ve been through on my way to Moab. I’ve also played in Utah- I opened for Barry Manilow, and the Park City Jazz Festival.

USUO: Do you have any plans or places you want to visit while you’re here?

CS: I might throw my mountain bike on and see what trail I can get in around Deer Valley. I’m thrilled to be coming, it was such a nice surprise to be asked. I’m really excited to be playing with such a great orchestra.

And we are excited to have such a wonderful musician celebrating 100 years since the birth of the legend, Frank Sinatra. Tickets start at $34 and can be purchased here.

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Patrick Thomas Inside All Things Country

Before Patrick Thomas made his mark  as a finalist (and Christina Aguilera’s heartthrob)  on the first season of NBC’s “The Voice,” he was making music in Nashville, Tennessee. A son of two former Broadway performers, it comes as no surprise that Patrick was singing before he was even speaking. Now, four years after “The Voice” premiered, he is still a force to be reckoned with in the music world. Whether he is traveling with Rachel Potter performing country classics or tickling the ivories at his local dueling piano bar, Patrick Thomas has proven he has a long and successful career ahead of him.

We had the opportunity to talk with Patrick about everything from his experience on “The Voice” to his adventures in Nashville, Tennessee as he prepares to bring his talents to the Deer Valley® Music Festival. Here’s what he had to say:

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera: What originally prompted you to audition for “The Voice”—especially since it was its first season?

Patrick Thomas: [chuckles] I actually used to not tell the story—but I didn’t even audition for the show. I got a call from an L.A. number when I was a sophomore in college. I wasn’t really involved in their casting process, someone happened to know someone, and they recommended me somehow. I did a Skype audition and 3 days later I was in L.A. for the next three months.

At the time, Patrick was a sophomore at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University where he was pursuing a double major in Music and Economics.

USUO: How did you balance being on the show with school?

PT: I didn’t really. It was right before spring break so I had a few days to figure out how to keep myself on track. I was able to keep a couple of credits but it was hard because we didn’t know how long I’d be gone. I was pretty far ahead though and was able to graduate on time.

USUO: What was your experience like living in Los Angeles and being on the show?

PT: Great! It’s not what you think it’ll be. [It’s] kind of a crash course in the music industry, but more accurately the television industry. I thought it was interesting and fun. It was easy to get stressed out by it—and three quarters of the people did—but once I realized I didn’t have to be the best it became easier.

USUO: What originally drew you to music and performing?

PT: I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you. My parents were both on Broadway in the 80’s. There is definitely an aspect of just kind of a gift, I was probably 3 or 4 years old when I started playing piano by ear. I was singing before I was talking.

USUO: You’ve also had the opportunity to do some acting, how was that experience?

PT: I’ve had a little bit of experience here in Tennessee. Recently, I’ve been working with Studio TENN in Nashville. We did these legacy shows which celebrate the music of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. But there isn’t a lot of acting, just a theatrical concert. We stage them and tell a story, without a book. Those have been a really great experience. Right when I get back from Salt Lake, we are doing a combination of the two at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Hall.

USUO: You don’t often hear of a country show featuring an orchestra. What should the audience expect from this show?

PT: Come in with an open mind. Anyone who has seen a pops concert knows how cool it can be. Don’t expect it to be hokey, we just want to do the genre justice and show how magical it can be when you add the lush aspect of an orchestra. We have a pretty good sampling of the artists and it is pretty much chronological.

USUO:  Who is the country legend that you most admire?

PT: Honestly, my country legend wouldn’t be as far back. Although I do absolutely admire Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, mine would probably be Garth Brooks. He is something every entertainer—regardless of genre—can aspire to. Well before social media he figured out how to make the people the most important thing.

USUO: What is currently in your music library?

PT: I just saw Train in concert- so old school Train. They put on an amazing concert. Also the new Chris Stapleton record, and I’ve got some friends having success, like Kelsea Ballerini, and I’m listening to that too.

USUO: What about your guilty pleasure? Do you have any Katy Perry or Kesha in your library that you won’t admit to?

PT: If anything my guilty pleasure would be Taylor Swift.

USUO: Classic country Taylor or new Taylor?

PT: Her “Fearless” album. I play at a dueling piano bar when I’m not on the road and it is all request so I hear it all nightly—Katy Perry, Kesha, Taylor Swift, all of it.

USUO: What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

PT: I’ll do anything once. I’ve jumped out of planes, hiked up mountains, skied up crazy stuff. I love the part of traveling where I can try different things.

USUO: What words of wisdom would you pass on to someone hoping to make a career in music?

PT: More than anything, do it every day and realize you  need to make good music for you. Just do it for you and hope the stars align, that is all that happened to me, I’ve gotten lucky and been prepared.

Celebrate your Pioneer Day by seeing Patrick Thomas and Rachel Potter perform all your country favorites at 7:30 p.m. at the Deer Valley Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. Tickets start at $34 and can be purchased  here.

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Jim Owen of Classical Mystery Tour

Classical Mystery Tour will make their way to the Wasatch Mountains on Saturday July 18th. Performing at the Deer Valley® Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, Classical Mystery Tour will be presenting all of your favorite Beatles’ songs accompanied with a live orchestra, faithfully recreating what it would be like to see the Beatles perform today.

Jim Owen, aka the group’s John Lennon, was able to talk to us about all things Beatles, especially his personal relationship with the music and the legend that is John Lennon.

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera: You’re the mastermind behind Classical Mystery Tour– how did you come up with the idea?

Jim: When I was young I was taking classical piano at home when I was 6, and I didn’t know anything about The Beatles at that time, I was just into classical. When I was 7 or 8 I heard The Beatles for the first time- in the ’70s.. I thought that was really amazing music and even at that young age I wanted to play that music. My dad showed me some chords on the guitar and I learned from there. I had friends in school who were into The Beatles as well, and I had a couple of guys who would play The Beatles with me when I was 11. In the late ’70s, “Beatlemania” came out and I got to go see it here in LA and that is what I had in mind– hearing the songs as they were originally intended. Each performer in the show could play the instruments and sing the songs, so people in the audience felt that it was real. As I got into my teens I got to know a few people who had done that show and I was a fill-in in the early ’80s. In the mid-’90s I decided to do Classical Mystery Tour. A lot of The Beatles’ songs use orchestral instruments on their studio album. In order to do that we needed to use keyboard sounds or backing tracks- but that wasn’t satisfactory. In the early ’90s, I had a friend who played saxophone and it got me thinking about something small like a string quartet to do “Yesterday.” And that little tiny idea turned into “may as well get the whole orchestra going!” and it was a good thing I was young because I didn’t know what I was getting into! I found Martin [Herman], someone referred him to me, because I couldn’t get the original transcriptions from England, when I met Martin I found out he was not only a composer and conductor and arranger, but also a huge Beatles fan. So he was the perfect one to recreate the charts. We did our first show in 1996, and it turned into something we have been loving to do for 19 years.

USUO: What’s your favorite part about performing with the orchestra?

Jim: The Beatles’ music that we are doing is something I’m very familiar with, listening to the records over and over, and to get to play that music live with all the original instruments, it is really exciting for songs like “I Am the Walrus” or “The Long and Winding Road,” any of those famous Beatles songs. Once we started doing it, we met people in the orchestra who also said it was so fun to do because they can imagine they are in the Abbey Road Studio, as well.  It is really a concert that The Beatles themselves didn’t do- they never performed live with an orchestra. Even Paul McCartney uses a keyboard to this day to play the orchestra.

USUO: Is that something that sets you apart from other tribute bands?

Jim: Definitely, it is the element of the live orchestra that makes the difference.

USUO: Do you ever to try to bring some of yourself into the performance?

Jim: If we do it is more by accident. We try to be as much like the original characters as possible by using the costumes and taking on the persona as each individual. But there is no way of getting your own personality completely out of your performance, but hopefully it is a good thing.

USUO: What originally drew you to John Lennon?

Jim: The original draw to me was the guitar. My first interest was the George Harrison guitar, I didn’t know or think anything about singing. Then as I got older and realized I had to sing too, and people who would  come to see us as the tribute group would tell me “Why George?– you look more like John Lennon.”  I was reluctant for quite a while, but I’m glad I gave it a try because it is a very rewarding role as a group.

USUO: What is your favorite Beatles’ song?

Jim: “A Day in the Life” is my favorite song. I enjoy singing it and it is such an interesting orchestra.

USUO: Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Strawberry Fields in New York?

Jim: Yeah, I’ve gone to a couple of  Beatles shrines  in Liver Pool and Central Park. The are very nice.

USUO: Do you remember when John Lennon was assassinated?

Jim: I’ll never forget that day. A friend called me on the phone and said John Lennon had been shot and I didn’t realize that it would be a fatal shot.

USUO: As a group, do you do anything to prepare before a performance?

Jim: Nothing in particular. Set up the stage and do our soundcheck, rehearse with the orchestra, everyone is surprised to hear we only have one rehearsal with the orchestra. Before the show, the mere matter or putting on the costume and tuning up  is enough to get you in the mindset of “here is our recreation.”

USUO: Do you have any rituals or superstitions?

Jim: No, no rituals or superstitions

USUO: If you could have seen any performance of The Beatles which would it have been?

Jim: I’ve never thought about that- that’s interesting because you could go back to Cavern Club or Hamburg or see them doing their hits on one of their tours in ‘64 or ‘65… I’d want to see one where I could hear what they are playing, not one where you could only see them but not hear them.

USUO: What is something that you’re listening to outside of The Beatles?

Jim: I always have the classical music station on, and once in a while the jazz stations. Oh, and with the girls– Disney music.

USUO: What do your kids do when you have to travel?

Jim: They stay home with mom. Sometimes we travel together, but not this time. I  wish they could come, but they take their ballet classes and stuff here. We just miss each other when I’m gone.

USUO: What are your kid’s favorite Beatles songs?

Jim: They always would sing “Let it Be” and now it’s “Yellow Submarine.”

USUO: Do you have any plans while you’re in Utah?

Jim: We’re glad we get to go up in the mountains and get nice fresh air.

USUO: Have you ever been to Utah before?

Jim: Oh yeah, a couple of times. Our guitarist who plays George Harrison, David John,  he settled in Salt Lake City quite some years ago. He is in Sandy now.


Join Classical Mystery Tour along with the Utah Symphony at the Deer Valley Outdoor Amphitheater on Saturday, July 18th. Take a step back in time to see John, Paul, George, and Ringo perform alongside a live orchestra. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to be reminded that all you need is love and some symphonic euphony to make a memory that will last a lifetime.

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Q & A with Bravo Broadway

Broadway’s Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard are more than just a dynamic couple on stage. When they aren’t sharing the spotlight in productions of The Phantom of the Opera or Showboat, the off-stage husband and wife are raising teenagers, teaching music to children and parents, and still managing to sell out crowds around the country. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to get to know the man behind the mask and the woman who stole his heart outside of their Great White Way credits.

Bravo Broadway

After we said our hellos, we jumped right into talking about their experience with performing and their lives in the theater, and it was clear from the beginning that it is passion that drives this couple in all that they do.


Utah Symphony | Utah Opera: Have you performed in Utah or with the Utah Symphony before?

Gary: I’ve come to Utah with Les Miserables and touring with The Phantom of the Opera in 2004, and I’ve performed with the symphony at least five or six times.

Elizabeth: This will be my first time performing with the symphony.

USUO: What inspired you to become a performer?

Elizabeth: It is a disease, but we were attracted separately. We met many years ago on a cruise ship. We were cast opposite each other as a bride and groom, kismet! But before that, from a young age my mom was a singer and I just loved all things singing, and of course ended up going to college for that but I originally wanted to go into opera, and then in my 20’s musical theater stole me away!

Gary: I come from a musical family, my father is a singer, made quite an amateur hobby out of it. I grew up listening to their old cast albums and I got bit by the Broadway cast album bug and started doing musicals in high school and I did Summer Stock and performed in college and one thing lead to another and I began a professional career singing. But it was really listening to those Broadway cast albums on my parent’s stereo that started it all.

USUO: What is the most unique experience you have had while performing?

Gary: The organ that the Phantom climbs on and plays in a majestic fashion… Well, there was a piece of sharp metal on top of it and I pulled it to bring myself up onto the organ and I sliced my finger big time. I knew it got me but I didn’t know how bad and about 10 seconds later I’m pounding on the organ and I look at the keys and there is blood all over the keyboard, and at the quietest point in the show, there is a pregnant pause where there is a complete silence right before I start “Music of the Night,” and in that pregnant pause, I hear an old woman in the audience say “he’s bleeding!” and the rest of the number, I was thinking, “how do I do all the staging and choreography and not get blood on her white, silk, costume.” That was horrible. But the show must go on and it did.

Elizabeth: We’ve had to walk on water when the boat doesn’t work [during The Phantom of the Opera], and the fog is oily and one time, after I had just found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, I had gone running out on stage for the final scene and fell flat on my butt, and I remember looking into the wings and being so scared that something would be wrong. The fear that was supposed to be created for that scene was real.

USUO: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Gary: We have our pre-show habits, and they are in exact opposition of each other. If she likes black, I like white, she wants to eat before a show, I want to eat after. Our schedules and how we do things are kind of yin and yang. We just pray we stay healthy leading up to it [our performance].

USUO: You’ve performed together a ton, but which has been your favorite?

Gary: I was involved with “Phantom” for 11 or 12 years. It is like a revolving door with “Phantom” as both Raoul and the Phantom. In and out, I’m doing something else, and you can’t imagine doing another performance of “Phantom” and pretty soon you’re desperate to do “Phantom.” The largest chunk of our life was “Phantom” and to do Phantom and Christine together was wonderful, but probably for both of us was doing the Show Boat tour together. Even though it only lasted a few months, Show Boat is deeper in our hearts.

Elizabeth: [Show Boat] Being the first book musical that was integrated and the whole subject of miscegenation, there’s a lot more acting and dialog. I know for me the character is 16 and ends at 56, so it was brilliant to be able to play and work with the quality of performers, we have very fond memories.

Gary: Show Boat is a musical about a show business family performing on a boat, there’s a tie there because Beth and I met performing on a boat, and we were out there with our one child and it gave us a sense of what family is about.

Elizabeth: I was in the show before I had children and it was a much different experience with children, and having a child and then going back and doing it, it resonates a little more powerful as an actor.

USUO: You’ll be performing the Show Boat Medley while you are here? Is that the piece you are most excited to perform?

Gary: The Show Boat Medley is a great medley, but a patriotic concert is avant-garde because you’re pulling stuff you don’t do all year, some of the Irving Berlin stuff, “God Bless America,” those things that find their way into the Fourth of July.


This couple not only grew up performing, they grew close to each other performing as well. With such a fun and dynamic relationship, we decided it would be fun to play a little “Dating Game” with the couple. Here were the results:


USUO: Since you two have such a fun relationship, I thought that it would be fun to ask you a question about each other. So Elizabeth, what are Gary’s guilty pleasures?

Elizabeth: Focusing on something, like uber focused, obsessive, learning it completely, listening over and over to an album until he knows everything. Or– when he’s eating sugar– a pint of Haagen Daz.

USUO: Did she get it right?

Gary: When I’m eating sugar, I like ice cream and sweets– Ben and Jerry’s. Hey! Married 20 years and she knows me!

USUO: Hey! Well that’s good! And Gary- what role would Beth most like to perform?

Gary: Role she has done before? I know she would love to do Magnolia in Show Boat, but I know that she has recently gotten into The Light on the Piazza, the role of the mother, she has worked on it and is always looking for opportunities to perform it… she adores the score. Am I right?

Elizabeth: Yeah, I actually thought you would say the mother in Ragtime, but yeah.


While Gary and Elizabeth might be busy zipping from coast to coast performing, they also face the same challenges that all parents must face, such as working a demanding job and raising teenagers. We were lucky enough to get some insight on their wonderful family life in New Jersey.


USUO: Were you able to bring your kids with you on the road?

Elizabeth: Yes, they were homeschooled the whole time, so they could pick up and go. They were schooled in the dining room or living room, wherever. They made it possible for us to tour by homeschooling. If we would not have been able to homeschool them, we would not have been able to go on tour.  Now that they are older they’re like “you’re leaving? Oh we’re staying home.” We enjoy it because we get some time together and date nights and they enjoy it because they have their own lives going on here.

Gary: Our son just started driving six months ago, so they are more self-sufficient, the longest we go though is about three days.

Elizabeth: They’re coming to Salt Lake with us, we love Salt Lake.

USUO: What are your favorite things to do here?

Gary: I’ve done many things in Utah, we never pass a chance to visit. We love to visit real estate offices.

Elizabeth: We have friends in the area, we have stayed in Sugar House and Alpine, so we’ve gotten to stay in different places, and he’s not kidding- we’ve actually had a realtor show us some places. We really love Park City too. We have lots of fun memories and pictures from when the kids were little.

USUO: Do you guys have any plans while you’re here in Salt Lake? Any places that you’d like to visit?

Gary: I have two sisters and a sister-in-law flying in from Phoenix to visit and they are staying in Park City. We will do our concerts down in the valley and will meet up with them on the 4th.

Elizabeth: We’ll connect with some friends. We have to work, we will be singing a lot and that is first priority to us, of course.

Gary: We could stay an extra week and see everything but we are incorporating this into a family vacation and are going to Phoenix afterwards. Then we will drive to Flagstaff. We spend our time in Flagstaff at my father’s cabin up there.

USUO: What is your favorite family activity?

Elizabeth: Hiking, service, we are active with our church, and we love to prepare meals for others.

Gary: Beth is a very busy voice teacher, she has a studio in our home and a private conservatory, and she’s a music together teacher. She teaches music to kids and their parent’s.

Elizabeth: Families learn to make music together instead of being consumers of music, it can be a lost art, we really need to foster the love of making music together. Get them while they are young and teach the parents to perform too, all children are born musical, whether they use it or not is the question.


As we were wrapping up our thank you’s and goodbye’s Elizabeth added that “[they] are looking forward to this very much and visiting the great country that is Utah,” and we are looking forward to having them here! Don’t miss your chances to see their captivating chemistry live on stage! They’ll be performing with the utah Symphony at Snowbasin Resort and the Deer Valley Music Festival. For tickets and more information visit And to learn more about the guest artists visit and


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Emerging Quartets and Composers

“I have always been attracted to the raw power and visceral energy of a string quartet,” Anthony Suter, an American composer, currently on the faculty at Redlands University, says. “While often very beautiful and delicate, works for quartet can also be incredibly savage, even primitive.”

Suter and Nicolas Chuaqui of Salt Lake City, UT are the two composers that will be showcased during the Emerging Quartets and Composers Program, an annual program in the Deer Valley Music Festival where two composers and two string quartets are given the opportunity of studying and performing with American composer Joan Tower and the Muir String Quartet.

This three-week seminar allows the performers the chance to rehearse with the Muir String Quartet members on a daily basis, coach Utah students attending summer music camps, and participate in discussions about the string quartet business, including the commissioning of new works. All this culminates in a final performance on Thursday, July 31 at 8 PM during the Deer Valley® Music Festival Chamber Ensemble Series at St. Mary’s Church in Park City.

This performance will showcase the talents of San Francisco’s Friction Quartet and Salt Lake City’s Rosco String Quartet playing the world-premieres of “Common Ground” by Chuaqui and “Frictive Grit” by Suter. Chuaqui’s piece will be performed by the Rosco Quartet, and Suter’s piece will be performed by the Friction Quartet.

The string quartet is a genre of musical composition with four movements and four players: 2 violinists, a violist, and a cellist. Its roots can be traced to the 1600s, though popular belief says that Joseph Haydn brought the genre to popularity in the 1750s when he composed music for the only four players available.

Chuaqui and Suter have taken a different routes in terms of string quartet music. While Suter calls his piece savage, Nic says his piece “sets up a logical background, but very soon contradictory and clashing elements begin to emerge. The instruments struggle with one another, sometimes playing completely separately, and sometimes completely together.”

There is a EQ&C masterclass on Monday, July 28, 2014 from 3:30 – 5:30 PM at the Utah Conservatory (4593 Silver Springs Drive in Park City, behind the blue-roofed 7-11) The masterclass is free and open to the public. No tickets required!

For more information, go here

Friction Quartet

Friction Quartet

Rosco Quartet

Rosco Quartet

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