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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Utah Symphony Gear Review

Panormo

Meet Vincenzo Panormo, the 225 year old bass and his proud owner, Jamie Allyn. Often referred to as the “Stradivarius of the bass”, Panormo is considered to be the best of the best when it comes to bass making. Born in in Italy, Panormo spent most of his career in London during the turn of the 18th century and is classified as an English maker. Panormo only made about twenty basses and when a dealer brought one back from London Jamie caught a flight to Montreal to purchase the instrument in 1983.  At that point the bass was in dire condition and still had gut strings on it (used by musicians before the invention of steel strings). Jamie then took the bass down Robertson and Sons Violin Shop in Albuquerque for restoration.

Panormo

Why go to so much trouble for a bass? This instrument truly is a work of art. The sound is what Panormos are famous for. Other musicians in the Utah Symphony have described the tone as “dark, enveloping and chocolaty”. Jamie was seduced by the composition of the sound. The bass has a pure fundamental tone (imagine tuning all the static out of a radio frequency).  Jamie knew from the moment he played it that it was the one for him.

Panormo lived in several European countries before settling in London. Some of his best violins are made from the wood of a billiards table he purchased in Dublin. Most of his basses were commissioned by Domenico Dragonnetti, a famous virtuoso also living in London at the time. If you peak into the f-holes on the front of the bass you can spy the maker’s label with an address: Portland Street, Soho, London.

Originally from Los Angeles, Jamie Allyn has been in the orchestra since 1978.  The Utah Symphony is proud to have such a fine player with exquisite taste in instruments among its ranks.  You can hear Jamie and his Panormo most weekends at Abravanel Hall.

By Nathan Lutz

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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 http://www.deervalleymusicfestival.org/concerts/item/155-semiosis-denovo-string-quartets

 

 

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