Q&A with Jerry Steichen

What is your best memory of the Deer Valley Music Festival? 

  1. Watching the slope fill up with audience members—spreading blankets, sharing friendship.
  2. The first moment I walk out on stage and feel the excitement before each concert.
  3. The first four seasons, when we did fully-staged and choreographed Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
  4. And the sound of the Utah Symphony echoing through the valley.

What are things you always do when you come to Utah? 

  1. Crown Burger!
  2. Hiking around Deer Valley.
  3. Coffee with Llew and Sally Humphreys.

In your opinion, what makes Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber great composers?

Lloyd Webber has an incredible gift for melody, and he composes easily in every musical style. Compare Jesus Christ Superstar to Cats to Phantom of the Opera—talk about flexibility. But it’s really his melodies that grab you.

Sondheim has the broadest gifts of theatrical skill. From the lyrics to West Side Story and Gypsy to the complex characters in Into the Woods and Company to the musical genius that is Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George—his mastery of text combining with music to take us on musical journeys is unsurpassed

What is the best thing about conducting at the Deer Valley Music Festival?

The orchestra and the audience—there is so much Joy.

What do you like most about this concert’s repertoire?

Variety! My favorite thing is having something different in every selection, and it is so much fun!

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Q&A with Rachel Potter

Are you as excited as we are for the Deer Valley® Music Festival? This year we’re starting off in fiery fashion with Patriotic Celebration starring Rachel Potter. Our guest artist is an actress, singer, and songwriter who has been everywhere from Broadway to The X Factor, and now she’s coming to the mountains of Deer Valley. We asked her a few questions about the upcoming concert, and this is what she had to say:

What do you do to keep your life balanced on the road?

I have a toddler who is 1 1/2 years old named Jude, so I try to look at going out on the road as a vacation! Since I don’t usually travel but once a month, I treat it as my opportunity to get to sleep in while my husband takes the lead at home. I try to eat as healthy as I can when I am traveling, and on occasion, get a massage and relax. FaceTime is a lifesaver so that my family and I don’t miss each other too much. I love to visit the local favorites whenever I am in a new city and make the most of my time away from home.

What are some of your favorite patriotic songs and why?

I absolutely love Ray Charle’s version of America the Beautiful, and we just so happen to be doing it at the concert! It was in the film The Sandlot, (which I recently learned was filmed in Salt Lake City!) and I love that movie. I was a kid when it came out, and I would guess where I heard it for the first time. That song, for me, is very nostalgic, and he sings it with such passion. I hope I can do it justice this weekend!

I also am very partial to Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA. It’s such a powerful song – whenever I have performed it live, or seen it done live, it always brings people to their feet. It’s a lovely tribute to the freedom we all share and reminds us of the sacrifice our military men and women make for us daily.

What are your family’s 4th of July traditions?

When I was growing up, we usually spent our 4th of July in Alabama with my mom’s family. It was probably a similar story to most small-town Americans… we would go to a park with the rest of the town, eat hot dogs, listen to patriotic songs, and watch a fireworks show. Even after seeing the fireworks show in NYC, Nashville and even Disney World (which are all amazing, by the way), I still look on my summers in Alabama most fondly. And of course, they blasted Sweet Home Alabama every year!

You initially got your degree in public relations and advertising—what drew you to start a singing career instead?

Actually, it was more the other way around. I began my recording artist career at 15 and had been performing professionally at Disney World for 2 years by the time I chose that major. I was considering musical theater but felt it would be wise to get a degree I could fall back on. Luckily, I have not had to use it yet!

What TV series are you obsessed with right now?

I am currently watching Ken Burns documentary on The Vietnam War. My stepdad suffers from severe PTSD, having served in Vietnam at only 18 years old. My husband and I wanted to familiarize ourselves with the war so that we could be more sympathetic to all that he went through. He holds a Purple Heart from the army.

What’s your dream musical theater role and why?

I would absolutely love to have the chance to play Elphaba in Wicked. I have already had the tremendous honor to play Glinda, but it would be a dream come true to get to check that role off my bucket list, and be one of the only women to ever play both parts!

Did you love this? Get your tickets for Patriotic Celebration starring Rachel Potter here. 

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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.

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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.

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Four divas. One stage.

Is there room on stage for more than one diva? In our opinion, the more the merrier! Our Broadway Divas concert will be one to remember because four incredibly talented women will share the stage October 27 and 28.

Get to know more about these incredible vocalists and hear previews of their music in the videos below.

N’Kenge

There is no challenge this Bronx, NY native won’t take on. Her diverse repertoire covers 11 languages and about every musical genre you can think of. We think this rendition of “I Feel Pretty” from Bernstein’s West Side Story is particularly electrifying!

Christina DeCicco

Christina DeCicco is no stranger to the stage. She has recently performed in Broadway classics such as Evita and Wicked and is now coming to serenade us. We couldn’t resist this video of her performing Cabaret in a cabaret.

Christina Bianco

Move over Barbara Streisand because there’s a new Funny Girl in town. Not only does she have an enviable singing voice, but she can do hilariously accurate impressions of other singers—just take a look at her guest appearance on Ellen.

Kristen Plumley

Kristen Plumley can do it all. She has performed in operas as well as in pops classics such as Oklahoma! and Brigadoon. It’s never too early for the holidays, so watch this clip of one of her holiday concerts from a few years ago.

You won’t want to miss Broadway Divas! Get your tickets here.

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Between the Barlines – Jayce Ogren

Jayce Ogren_credit Roger_Mastroianni
Photo Credit: Roger Mastroianni

During the 2016 Deer Valley Music Festival, the Utah Symphony has launched a weekly interview series entitled “Between the Barlines,” which seeks to reveal aspects of guest artists’ lives outside of the music for which they are known, including things such as their backgrounds, their influences, and their non-musical interests.

Guest conductor Jayce Ogren, alongside esteemed soprano Simone Osborne, will be performing a number of classical masterpieces including Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” and “Knoxville, Summer of 1915,” Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilante, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 on July 6th at the 2016 Deer Valley Music Festival.

In this interview with “Between the Barlines”, Jayce elaborates on how his non-musical upbringing in Washington State developed into a full-blown passion for conducting during high school, and commentates on how his training as a medaled triathlete relates to his musical career. Jayce also commentates on his experiences conducting around the world and his passion for indulging in both vibrant international cultures, and tasty foreign food.

In his own words, when describing when his musical interests first blossomed, Jayce narrates, “It was when I was a freshman in high school. I remember sitting in our band rehearsal and looking up at my conductor and thinking ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

Check out details about Jayce’s performance at the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival here and learn more about Jayce Ogren here.

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Between the Barlines – Doug LaBrecque

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During the 2016 Deer Valley Music Festival, the Utah Symphony has launched a weekly interview series entitled “Between the Barlines,” which seeks to reveal aspects of guest artists’ lives outside of the music for which they are known, including things such as their backgrounds, their influences, and their non-musical interests.

For this week, special guest artist, Broadway star Doug LaBrecque, will be performing a variety of American classics such as “God Bless America” and “Shenandoah” with the Utah Symphony on July 2nd at the Deer Valley Music Festival to celebrate Independence Day.

Before becoming a renowned American vocalist on Broadway, Doug LaBrecque was just a 5th grader irking to go to a public school. In this interview with “Between the Barlines,” Doug speaks on everything from his experience as a scholarship diver for the University of Utah, to setting his hair on fire on Broadway, and his most memorable performance stories from around the world.

In his own words, Doug discusses his favorite destinations while performing, “There’s a wonderful place near Prague that I’ve sung a few times called Cesky Krumlov which is the most gorgeous little unspoiled medieval town. It’s just beautiful and they do a concert series out in an apple orchard. It’s just a magical setting.”

Check out details about Doug’s performance at the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival here, and learn more about Doug LaBrecque here.

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Community Collaboration Spotlight: The Madeleine Choir School

MCS-Choir-Photo-2015

Q: Over the history of the school, how has The Madeleine Choir School used music to celebrate?

The Choir School was established in 1996 very much in the tradition of the European Cathedral Choir Schools, and so a very strong relationship exists between the Choir School and the Cathedral of the Madeleine. The choristers sing daily and Sunday services in the Cathedral during which their music heightens the joy of festivals and happy occasions, laments and expresses grief at personal and community loss and tragedy, and through its beauty seeks to inspire all people to more noble lives. We perform and celebrate with the great treasury of sacred music, including musical settings for the Mass of G. P. da Palestrina, W. A. Mozart, Anton Bruckner, Johannes Brahms, Francis Poulenc, Benjamin Britten and many more.

Q: Can you explain how the curriculum or day to day function of the school brings music into the students’ everyday lives and what your goals are in shaping the way the choristers relate to music?

Madeleine Choir School

Music permeates the day at the Choir School, from the very active early music education opportunities in the lower school, the beginning violin instruction in second and third grades, the initial chorister formation in fourth grade, the work of the various choirs in grades five through eight, music theory and music history coursework through to singing for Cathedral services and community events. By discipline, practice and study, we hope to empower students to make musical expression a natural part of their lives as future composers, performers, audience members and advocates for the arts.

Q:  From a young age, the Madeleine Choir School students are exposed to a lot of monumental works and performance opportunities filled with pomp and circumstance. How does one go about imparting the historical, cultural and overall significance to the students? Discuss if music provides the context by which they can understand, relate to and appreciate the situations they are afforded (ie. Performing with Utah Symphony, Utah Opera, Mormon Tabernacle Choir)

The Annual Cathedral Concert Series and the collaboration with local musical institutions such as the Utah Symphony, Utah Opera and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are clear highlights in the musical experience of our young people. The thrill and excitement of participation in these professional productions is highly valued by the children as they look back on their work at the Choir School. We work to be sure they understand the significance of the musical works they participate in, connecting studies in history, philosophy, literature and more with the cultural milieu from which the musical work emerged and to which it was addressed. The Symphony’s Mahler Cycle has been a great source of study and inspiration at the school.

Q:  Describe the personality type of a student that is drawn to attend the Madeleine Choir School, and how music generally figures in their life.

Bright, engaged young people with a variety of interests who are open to commitment and hard work thrive in the fast-paced environment of the Choir School. Parents often report with amusement that the students are often caught singing while at play with their classmates…in Latin! Our graduates regularly applaud the discipline and work-habits they acquired during their years at the Choir School. Daily instruction, rehearsals and regular performances are a part of the experience of a student. These experiences lay the foundation for future musical and artistic engagement throughout their lives.

By Gregory A. Glenn, Pastoral Administrator, The Madeleine Choir School.


To see the Madeleine Choir School in action, check out their upcoming performances with the Utah Symphony: The Child and the Enchantments. Friday November 13, and Saturday 14 at 7:30pm, at Abravanel Hall. For more information and tickets, visit the Utah Symphony website.

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TRIO series: the Percussionist

Music describes perfectly the indescribable. All those emotions and feelings, the magical and extremely personal relationship we all have with the music of our choice and tastes, these are things of defining beauty and wonder for the human race, and are without penalty nor discrimination. —Colin Currie

Colin Currie

Visiting percussionist Colin Currie grew up in Edinburgh and continued studies in London, where he currently lives. The internationally renowned percussionist says that he has always loved the drums, but it was around the age of 13—upon first encountering the symphony orchestra—that he decided to devote his life to classical music, percussion, and contemporary composers.

“It was my goal from that time to contribute to the solo repertoire for my instruments, especially in the area of significant works of adventure, dignity, and longevity,” says Colin.

Colin admits to recognizing that a life of music might entail sacrifices to achieve the things he believed in, but the experience has been an enriching one that has allowed his musical life to be sustained by his career, and vice versa. He sees every premier he gives as potentially a cause to celebrate the wealth of percussion music.

“I have been very lucky to meet and work with the truly outstanding writers of our time, and I delight in introducing the thoughts and insight these composers bring to percussion. There have been too many highlights to pick and choose names, but this latest addition by Andrew Norman will be no exception. We will certainly be in a celebratory place on the occasion of this premiere!” Colin says.

Colin Currie

A life devoted to music is certain to have many memories of moments influenced by it. For Colin, he recalls hearing Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” for the first time, as well as string quartets by Bela Bartok and Benjamin Britten. Another moment that stands out to him happened when he was 15.

“The first time I ever performed a concerto was a very affecting experience. I performed the Panufnik “Concertino” with the London Symphony Orchestra. It was early days for both me and the repertoire but I caught ‘the bug’ immediately,” says Colin.

Since those early days, Colin has appreciated the way in which life can be celebrated and enriched through music.

“Existing in real time, music also traces one of the greatest mystery of existence: the transition from one moment to the next. The closer we get to music, the more beautiful and magical it becomes.”

By Autumn Thatcher


Stay tuned for our next TRIO series’ article on the Utah Symphony timpanist, George Brown.

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Mysterioso: Music, Magic, and Mayhem – Artists’ Profiles

Joseph Gabriel

Joseph Gabriel

Joseph Gabriel

Johnny Carson introduced Joseph Gabriel, and what transpired on the Tonight Show stage for the next several minutes was sufficient to amaze millions of viewers and leave Carson himself visibly and vocally enthused. “One of the classiest magic acts you’re going to see in a long time! The best I’ve seen!” This was Carson’s reaction after witnessing Joseph Gabriel’s first appearance on the Tonight Show in 1983. Over the next several years, Joseph would appear a total of seven times with Carson. In 1996, Joseph made a leap from Las Vegas act to Broadway star, when he created and opened his own full-evening show, “Magic On Broadway” in New York City. The show opened to rave reviews and ran for an unprecedented 18 months. Within the first three months, Joseph’s show broke all box office records at the Lamb’s theatre. After returning to Las Vegas, Joseph performed at Caesar’s Magical Empire in Caesar’s Palace, a 60-million dollar facility that rivaled any Hollywood special effects sound stage. The Magical Empire was an amazing two-hour theatrical dining experience that ended with a spectacular stage show. His originality in style and presentation is a sight to behold, making a marvelous mixture of kinetic energy on stage. It is his creativity and power of performance that has brought him to the forefront as one of the leaders in shaping the future of magic. After seeing Joseph perform, there are only two words you’ll think of when you think of magic…JOSEPH GABRIEL.


Les Arnold and Dazzle

Les Arnold and Dazzle

Les Arnold and Dazzle

The Les Arnold and Dazzle act is a satirical look at every “Stuffed Shirt” magician you have ever seen and his assistant that you wished you hadn’t. Dazzle’s costumes, hairstyle and makeup are over the top, while Les, with his pencil-thin mustache, grandiose floor-length cape, and top hat attempts to be the ultimate in understated elegance. Les Arnold and his daughter Alex have showbiz running through their veins. They come by it naturally. The Arnold magic bloodline originates with Les’ grandfather, The Great Leon, a Vaudeville headliner famous for creating the act “Fire and Water.” Les’ mother was a dancer in Vaudeville and performed in a 1930s bicycle act, and his uncle Leon Leon was a magician and sound engineer. Les started performing magic when he was only 10 years old. While still in his teens, Les developed a love for building magic props and soon had enough illusions to perform a 30-minute show. When Les and his daughter, Alex (aka Dazzle), discussed how they were going to structure the act, they both agreed that they wanted to do strong magic with a comedic flair. They decided to take the magic back to the timeless era of the 1930s and 40s and play it for laughs with quality magic. Les Arnold and Dazzle have been featured performers with world-renown symphonies; regular performers in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle, and have recently been featured on the CW Network’s hit television show Masters of Illusion.


David & Dania

David & Dania

David & Dania

David Maas and Dania Kaseeva met in 1995 on a circus tour, where Dania was performing her hula-hoop act and David was working as a ringmaster. Born in Russia, Kaseeva is the daughter of circus legend Rustan Kaseev. She began training at age 6 in gymnastics and later in acrobatics and dance. She combined these techniques to create a unique hula-hoop act and made her professional debut at 14 in a production of the Moscow Circus. Her technique coupled with dynamic choreography earned her an international reputation as the world’s greatest hula-hoop act—a fact sanctioned by the Gold Medal she won at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain. David Maas was raised in show business; his father, Jerry Maas, was a concert pianist. At age 8, Maas put together his first circus act, juggling on a low-wire. He trained in acrobatics, dance, and theatre, and he showed a talent for singing, which led him, at 19, to a career as a singing ringmaster for various shows around the world. In 1994, he was awarded the Bronze Medal at the International American Performing Arts Festival. Maas also studied magic, a discipline he has practiced with great success for the past 10 years. Together, Maas and Kaseeva present one of the most original magic acts ever seen. During a dynamic dance exhibition, they puzzle audiences with staggering costume transformations in fractions of a second. Their act is one of the most sought-after performances in the world.


Christina Bianco

Christina Bianco

Christina Bianco

Two time Drama Desk Award nominated actress, singer and impressionist, Christina Bianco has become a worldwide YouTube sensation. Her diva impression videos have gained over 21 million views, leading to apperances performing on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Queen Latifah Show and The Today Show. Christina made her West End debut starring in The Menier Chocolate Factory’s hailed production of Forbidden Broadway at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. In New York, Christina recently starred Off-Broadway in the one-woman, multi character comedy Application Pending (Drama Desk Award nomination). Other New York credits include Newsical the Musical and Forbidden Broadway Goes To Rehab (Drama Desk Award nomination). She can be heard on both original cast recordings. Christina also originated the role of Dora in the long-running National Tour of Dora The Explorer Live, including a sold-out run at Radio City Music Hall. As a cabaret artist, Christina has performed her critically acclaimed solo shows, Diva Moments and Party Of One, to sold out crowds across the U.S. Abroad, Christina has sold out extended runs headlining at London’s famed Hippodrome and Royal Albert Hall’s prestigious Elgar Room. Christina also performs her shows on various international cruise liners. Christina frequently performs as a soloist with symphony orchestras throughout the US and Canada. She recently played the recurring role of Bianca on the POP TV sitcom Impress Me, produced by SoulPancake. This fall, she’ll appear as Mindy in the Hallmark original movie series, Signed, Sealed, Delivered. www.ChristinaBianco.com


 For more information about the concert, including the program, program notes, and artist biographies, please visit this page.

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