Staff Picks: Lance Jensen

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

Which performance are you most looking forward to?

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

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

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

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

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

What do you like to do before the show?

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

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Staff Picks: Mandi Titcomb

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

What do you do?

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

Which performance are you most looking forward to and why?

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

What do you recommend doing before the show?

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

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