9 Inspiring Quotes from Thierry Fischer’s USU Commencement Speech

Photo credit: Utah State University

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Utah State University

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

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

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

Photo credit: Utah State University

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Utah State University

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USUO Day on Capitol Hill

Friday, February 17 was a great day at USUO! We were extremely honored to go up to the state capitol building and receive recognition from the Utah Senate and House of Representatives in honor of “contributions and service to the people of the state of Utah.” This was also our chance to stand up and publicly thank the Legislature for their continued support.


We are so proud of our tradition of visiting all the communities in Utah, and it is through state POPS funding that this is possible.


After the resolution was presented, Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer and Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth spoke with members of the Utah Legislature and the press about the different education programs that tour to Utah schools. They even ran into Governor Herbert!


Utah Symphony musicians were also on hand throughout the afternoon performing solos and chamber music in the Capitol Rotunda.


We just want to take another opportunity to thank the communities and officials of Utah for your continued support and well-wishes – we can’t do what we do without you!


A video of the Legislative session can be viewed here.

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Four Angels: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra by Mark Adamo

We are extremely excited for this weekend’s concert, with the Utah Premiere of Mark Adamo’s harp concerto, Four Angels. Our own Principal Harpist, Louise Vickerman, will be performing the concerto, and this will make Vickerman only the second harpist to perform the piece. Very exciting, isn’t it?

If you are looking for more information about the concerto, we’re happy to point you in a few directions! Here are some links:

Salt Lake Tribune article about the background and performance of Four Angels
Notes from the composer, Mark Adamo, about the angels represented in the concerto
An advance article from Salt Lake City arts review, Ed Reichel
An article about harpist Louise Vickerman
A YouTube video of Louise Vickerman performing parts of the concerto, and demonstrating some of the harp techniques used

If you want even more information about the concerto, please join composer Mark Adamo and Music Director Emeritus Keith Lockhart before each concert this weekend at 7:15 PM in the First Tier Room of Abravanel Hall.

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Susan Memmott Allred has kept Utah Opera in stitches for 33 seasons

Susan Memmott Allred has kept Utah Opera in stitches for 33 seasons
By Catherine Reese Newton

The Salt Lake Tribune
Published: October 7, 2010.
Click here for the original article.

Walk into the warehouse area of the Utah Opera Production Studio and you will see racks and racks of costumes: soldiers, courtesans, sailors, Gypsies, noblemen, servants, cowboys, Egyptians, nuns, priests, woodland creatures and Philistines.

Susan Memmott Allred designed them all.

“I started with 10 costumes, one sewing machine and a box of thread,” said Allred, the company’s resident costume designer. She has been on board for all but the company’s inaugural production, a January 1978 “La bohème.” Starting with a production of Verdi’s “Otello” later that year, she free-lanced for Utah Opera for five or six seasons before becoming its official designer.

The production of “La bohème” that opens Saturday, Oct. 16, is the fifth “Bohème” for which she has designed costumes. This one has a special twist: The action has been moved from the 1830s to 1939.

“ ‘La bohème’ has a special flavor to it,” Allred said. She believes director Crystal Manich’s staging retains that flavor while adding a visual flair. “It’s a really happy marriage of traditional ‘Bohème’ and an updated version.”

Allred and Manich brainstormed via e-mail last spring, while Manich was in Argentina directing “Madama Butterfly.” The director wanted several classes of characters included in the opera’s second act, which takes place in Paris’ Latin Quarter on Christmas Eve. It was also important to “make every single character really distinct and defined,” Manich said. “We paid detailed attention to who the chorus members were going to be.”

The chorus of 40 adults and 20 children includes soldiers, urchins, wealthy people, middle-class families and students. Chorus member Jared Knowlton fractured his leg while skydiving last month, so the creative team cast him as a beggar. “It’s like a community of characters,” Allred said.

“The kids were really fun to do because a lot of silhouettes from that era are popular now,” the designer said. She and her staff found many vintage costume pieces and accessories in antique stores and secondhand shops.

This will be Allred’s last full season with Utah Opera, though she will return regularly as a guest designer. “There are fun things I’ve always wanted to do — writing, even more research, educational goals,” said Allred, who recently turned 60.

“I don’t think I will miss buying clothing or fabric,” she said. “I’ve bought literally thousands of pairs of shoes, thousands of yards of fabric, a mind-boggling amount of trim and buttons.”

But she will miss the camaraderie of the costume shop.

“My heart is here. I love it here, I love this company. I’m one of the luckiest people on Earth. I’ve transitioned through all these years; I have memories no one else has.”

© 2010 The Salt Lake Tribune

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