The Amazing Websale

Over the past couple of years I’ve found myself doing more and more of my shopping online. I mean, it’s easy and convenient, two things I prize, but the best part is having the luxury of online “window shopping” – it lets me learn about different products and compare different options, which is important to me.

For Utah Symphony | Utah Opera performances it means I can look through all the different concert pieces, soloists, and conductors and figure out which performances I’m interested in (and which performance my mom might like as a Christmas gift) and then buy my tickets. Sure, it’s easy for some people, but for me it’s a complex equation of weighing a Brahms symphony compared to a Tchaikovsky symphony, a classical piano concerto compared to a 20th century cello concerto. If I did all this thinking and comparing at the box office, I fear the people in line behind me would start to get seriously annoyed.

Because of my love for online purchasing, I’m happy to let you in on our Internet-only sale, which will start on Saturday, August 29 and run through Monday, September 7. For ten days only you can mix and match 64 different Utah Symphony | Utah Opera performances from September to May, and receive 20% off when you purchase at least three performances online.

There are a few of the performances that are excluded: An Evening of Beethoven, Play! A Video Game Symphony, Messiah Sing-In, and Carmen, but that still leaves 64 performances to choose from.

I think the 20% off makes it a really great deal. With the discount, you can get Utah Opera tickets for as low as $11 and Utah Symphony tickets for as low as $13. $22 for date-night at the opera? When I think of how much I spend on popcorn and candy at the movies, I’ll be spending less at the opera!

Excited to buy your tickets? Just visit the website between August 29 and September 7, and use the promo code “websale09” when you’re choosing your tickets. It goes in the promo box located above the different seating levels.

But remember to act fast – this offer will only be valid for ten days!

Shakespeare in Music Festival, Sept – Oct 2009

Every season Utah Symphony | Utah Opera links by theme a few of its performance offerings, and then in our Education Department, we check in with potential partner organizations and imagine events to add into the schedule that will deepen and broaden our understanding and appreciation of the theme.  Last year, we went to virtual Vienna during our festival, and this year we will investigate Shakespeare in Music.

The performances at the center of this year’s festival are a symphony concert at the end of September that will include Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet and Smetana’s Richard III.  The opera is Verdi’s Macbeth.  No better month to perform it in than October!  A fortunate coincidence is Ballet West’s programming of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in late October.  For those of us in love with the works of the Bard thanks to annual treks to the Utah Shakespearean Festival, we’ll delight in a new way to extend that festival experience by attending these concerts.

One more performance we’ve been able to add to the list is one by our Utah Opera Ensemble Artists.  Many composers have been inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and created operas based on them, but not all of those operas make it regularly to mainstage productions.  Our Principal Coach, Carol Anderson, is working with director Peter Webster to select some superb scenes from other Shakespearean operas, and then our Opera Artists will present them in concert on Thursday, October 29, in the Thompson Music Room in Gardner Hall at the U of U.

Four Thursday evening events in September will lead up to the opening performance in the festival by Utah Symphony:

On Sept 3, we’ll delve into what music was like in Shakespeare’s day.  April Greenan from the U of U School of Music will tell us all about Renaissance music, and she’ll be able to use a Renaissance band (named Dorian Mirth) to illustrate.  We hope people who still have their recorders from 4th grade—excellent Renaissance musical instruments—will bring them and learn the melody together, which they can then perform with the band.  The two lines of melody are available on our website.  And the fun won’t stop there:  Challe Carter will teach interested audience members a Renaissance dance that goes with the tune, and we’ll have a grand finale of recorder-players tooting along with the band, while others do the dance.  This will all take place in the Dance Studio on the 3rd floor of the Utah Opera Production Studios, starting at 7 PM.

On Sept 10, Shakespeare guru Michael Bahr from the Utah Shakespearean Festival will give a presentation about the music that is in Shakespeare already:  the poetry, and also the actual songs that Shakespeare wrote into some of his plays, especially the comedies.  He’ll talk about the variety of choices stage directors in Cedar City have made about how to stage them, and what music to use (since Shakespeare didn’t leave notes about melodies or arrangements).  This event will take place in the Salt Lake Art Center auditorium, 20 S West Temple, starting at 7 PM.

On Sept 17, we’ll have another fantastic food event.  Last year we went to the Vienna Bistro for Viennese coffee and desserts.  This year we’ll visit Elizabeth’s Bakery and Tea Shop across 700 East from Trolley Square to taste samples of traditional British food.  Some of the foods date back to Shakespeare’s time, so maybe Shakespeare enjoyed some of these treats as well.  On the menu, in addition to tea, will be three “savory” items, and three sweets:  Cornish pasty, sausage roll, cucumber sandwich, scone with jam & clotted cream, shortbread, and trifle.  This event starts at 7 PM at 575 South 700 East, and does involve a $10 charge per person. Tickets can be purchased at the USUO Ticket Office, 801-533-NOTE (6683).  There is a limit of 50 people for this event, but we’ll look into an overflow day on Friday if Thursday night fills up quickly.

On Sept 24, Bettie Jo Basinger from the School of Music at the U of U will talk about versions of Shakespeare plays that have appeared in opera productions, symphony concerts, and films.  Many fantastic scores have been created to accompany movie versions of Shakespeare plays.  Come sample some of them with us.  At the Salt Lake Art Center auditorium, 20 South West Temple, starting at 7 PM.

We also have several opportunities for patrons to learn more about Verdi’s opera version of Macbeth in this festival.  One is our Opera Preview Lecture in the 4th floor meeting room of the downtown public library on Wednesday, October 14th, also at 7 PM.  Tom Cimarusti from Texas Tech will talk about Verdi and the history of this opera, and will also introduce the audience to music from the opera so they’ll know more to listen for when they attend a performance by Utah Opera.

We’re also happy to offer interested community members another on-line course about an opera from OPERA America.  People who sign up will receive ‘lessons’ about the opera, with musical excerpts to listen to and pictures to enjoy, on four consecutive Tuesdays, starting Sept 22.  The course is free, and you can sign up for it by clicking HERE.  We’ll send you a confirmation of your registration, and you can look forward to the Tuesday shipments.

I hope you’ll find these added events attractive, and come join us for a variety of Shakespeare in Music festival events.

Summer Opera Travels part 1

It has been a moderately busy travel season to see opera.   On the list this summer was: Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (mid/late June); a quick audition trip to Central City Opera (last day of June); Santa Fe Opera (late July/early August); and, now, Seattle Opera for their production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle which the company presents every fourth season.


In some ways, a summer opera festival in Saint Louis seems incongruous…it is, after all, the home of Anheuser Busch, producer of Budweiser beer, the Cardinals baseball team, the launching point for history buffs interested in following the Lewis and Clark trail, and notorious for its heat and humidity in the summer months.  You wouldn’t – at first blush – think that it could also be home to a long-standing, successful opera company through which several of this country’s well-known opera artists have come.  However, this is exactly the case and remains a stopping point for most in the industry as they “Festival-hop” throughout the summer.  More importantly, there is a fiercely loyal following in the community which attend every production regardless of familiarity.


First opera I saw of the four I would attend over a period of three days was a rarely performed one by Mozart written when he was 19 entitled, Il Re Pastore.  The cast was wonderful – including Heidi Stober and Maureen McKay – the concept of the production didn’t work for me.  The idea was to update the setting (the story comes from Roman antiquity) to a 19th C. English country manor with the inhabitants choosing to re-enact the fable.  Unfortunately, nothing in the score supports this idea making it a difficult argument.  Still the cast fearlessly committed themselves to the challenge and I applauded their efforts.  The singing was very good and the orchestra played this rare piece very well making an enjoyable evening.  I will confess, there is a reason that this opera is rarely produced and it pales in comparison to the better known masterpieces of Mozart’s.


The next opera attended was another rarely produced one, Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles.  This one is another light-hearted story where Mozart’s characters come back to life and interact with the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.  It’s mostly a comic romp, and the music sometimes imitates Mozart and other composers.  John’s music is always colorful as was this.  He’s re-worked the orchestration and some of the vocal writing from its debut at the Met and it will be interesting to see if his efforts give the piece more life.  The production was wonderful with lots of levels, action and dramatic lighting…James Robinson, the company’s artistic director, was the stage director and did his usual interesting work.


Next up was a wonderful new production of Salome starring a regional opera favorite, Kelly Kaduce.  Kelly has made a wonderful career of portraying roles one wouldn’t necessarily think she was suited for but succeeding with her musicality and dramatic abilities.  She brought the femme fatal to life with her acting and excellent delivery of the text (OTSL performs everything in English, by the way).  The Jochanaan was good but the other standouts for me were the Herod and Herodias; usually these roles are about 60 per cent sung with the balance being a form of declamatory/approximated pitch speaking.  In this case, I believe I heard all the notes and rhythms for the first time.  Kudos to Myers and Zifchak in doing this.


That same day, I attended the perennial favorite, La Boheme.  The audience loved it, of course.  The production was straight on traditional and the cast was appropriately youthful to make a wonderful stage picture.  Puccini’s music was well-served by Ari Pelto who is to conduct our Carmen in January.


So there it was…four operas in three days.  The next morning was another three hours of auditions (OTSL also operates a fine young artist training program, the participants making up chorus and several of the smaller roles) with colleagues from other opera companies from around the country (this is one of what I call the “unofficial conferences” of the summer where we convene at the same time to see shows and connect with each other) and then off to the airport to head home.  Definitely a full weekend of opera.



Creating the Macbeth Witches


Instead of doing extensive age makeup on 30 chorus women to transform them into witches for our upcoming Opera performance of Verdi’s Macbeth, the director, costume designer Susan Allred and costume shop manager Rose Brown decided it would be better to give them masks to wear in the respective scenes. The masks were designed to look a little larger than life and allow for singing (hence the open mouth area) and to look like they had leathery old skin with twigs and all sorts of things in their hair. In order to get the effect the costume designer was after, Carmen Killam (Milliner/Crafts Technician) used a plaster casting of Melonie Mortensen’s (Assistant Rentals Supervisor and Swing Crafts Technician) face (also called a Death Mask or a Life Cast) as a base. 


She then sculpted a design with clay of how she wanted the masks to eventually look. After getting the o.k. from the designer, she made a cast of the clay mask out of plaster. Carmen then used Veraform (a heat sensitive thermoplastic material) to form the masks by pressing it into the mould after heating it up with steam. 



Once the shape dried and cooled it was popped out, and covered with tulle and Sculpt-or-Coat to give it a more paintable surface.  It also succeeded in giving the leathery look she wanted.  More Sculpt-or-Coat was added along with leaves, other bits of Veraform to create moles and warts and other facial flaws and bits of fibers to add texture. 



Finally, a flesh toned base coat of paint was applied and then using an airbrush, shadows were added along with dark circles under the eyes.  Carmen and Melonie (her trusty assistant for this particular project) also lined the inside of the masks with black felt to make them more comfortable for the performers.


The witches also needed scary fingernails and instead of having to apply fake fingernails every performance, it was decided to glue them onto flesh colored gloves. 


Melonie used Formfast (a felt-like thermoplastic product that is heat sensitive but still malliable upon re-heating after it’s been initially hardened) and cut out 60 sets of  fingernails, shaped them, painted a layer of Sculpt-or-Coat on them so they were paintable and looked more like fingernails and less like felt.  She then painted them and glued them onto the gloves.  She had to keep her hand in the glove while it was drying so the glue didn’t stick to the other side of the glove. 


Now our witches are complete!


Raggy ponchos brought to you by Ken Burrell (Cutter/Draper) and Sue Ure (Stitcher), dyed and distressed by Vicki Raincrow (Wardrobe Supervisor/Dyer/Painter).

Utah Symphony’s Associate Concertmaster Gerald Elias is a published author as of today! His new book, Devil’s Trill, was released today, August 18 in stores and online. Below is an interview between Jerry and Utah Symphony | Utah Opera publications editor Melissa Singleton. Click here for more info about Jerry’s book.

Please describe your education?

I attended Oberlin College, 1970-72 and then Yale University and Yale University School of Music, 1972-75. Simultaneous BA (cum laude) and MM.

At what age did you begin musical training?

7 years old, and it only took about five years before I started to enjoy practicing.

What instrument(s) do you play / have you played?

Violin and viola. I once played mandolin at a Tanglewood performance of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, but that probably doesn’t count.

What originally interested you in your instrument?

My older brother, Arthur, played the violin. He ultimately became an oral surgeon, but I stuck it out. Also, my father always listened to recordings of violin concertos, so grew up listening to Heifetz play Tchaikovsky, Francescatti play Beethoven, and Misha Elman play Mendelssohn. When I was seven my father asked me if I, too, wanted to play the violin, but there was no question mark at the end of the sentence.

How old is your personal instrument and who was its maker? (Please share stories related to your instrument.)

I have four excellent instruments. The best is one made by Joseph Gagliano in Naples in 1785. I bought this violin my second year in the Boston Symphony. Even though at the time I was not looking for a violin to buy, so many of my colleagues said what an amazing instrument it was that I ultimately I took out a loan to purchase it. What a lucky break. The violin is a gem.

Then there’s one by Ansaldo Poggi, one of the greatest 20th century makers, which was made in Bologna in 1924. This was bought for me by my parents when I was in high school at the urging of my Italian violin teacher, Amadeo Liva, who knew Poggi personally and brought the violin to me all the way from Bologna.

I have a fine violin that was made for me by former Salt Lake City maker, Terry Borman, in 1992, who even let me pick out the wood that would be used for the back. Shortly after buying it I performed a concerto on it with the Utah Symphony.

Finally, in 1998, while on sabbatical leave in Italy, I purchased a wonderful violin from the Cremonese maker, Nicola Lazzari, also at the recommendation of Mr. Liva. Nicola was kind enough to put my name at the top of his list because he knew my stay in Italy was coming to an end, so I’ll never forget the drive back to Umbria from Cremona, with my wife Cecily at the wheel and me holding the violin in the air while the varnish was still drying!

How many years have you performed with the Utah Symphony?

I joined in 1988.

With what other orchestras have you performed or do perform?

I was a violinist in the Boston Symphony from 1975, when I graduated college, until 1988. I still often perform with them during their summer season at Tanglewood.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

  1. As an orchestral musician, performing Mahler Symphony #2 with Claudio Abbado and the Boston Symphony in 1979.
  2. As a soloist, performing the Mozart Concerto #3 with the Australia Symphony Orchestra in the Sydney Opera House.
  3. For chamber music, performing the Ravel Quartet at Primary Children’s Hospital with the Abramyan String Quartet.
  4. As a conductor, conducting Beethoven Symphony #5 with the National Conservatory Orchestra of Peru.

What has been your most embarrassing moment as a performer?

When I showed up for a recital in Lexington, Massachusetts with an empty violin case! (I had left my violin on a shelf at Symphony Hall in Boston after a matinee concert, grabbed my closed case and raced off to the recital. You can imagine my chagrin. I had to drive back to Boston, which fortunately was not too far.)

Where would you like to see the Utah Symphony in ten years?

I would like to see the Utah Symphony having regained its international reputation and its competitive financial status among American full-time orchestras, both of which it once had but currently does not. This will require visionary administrative and artistic leadership, a renewed commitment not only to excellence but to greatness by the entire organization, and the galvinizing of the community to support the Symphony in a way commensurate with that goal.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself handing off my position in the Symphony to a younger person with the skill, dedication, and energy to carry on this amazing tradition of ours at an age when I am not yet a liability to my colleagues. After that I intend to keep doing what I love doing: conducting, performing, teaching, writing, and watching baseball.

Do you teach? If yes, do you teach privately and/or through a university (which university)? How many private students do you have?

I teach privately and at the University of Utah School of Music. Over the past few years I’ve reduced my teaching load in order to have time to pursue my other interests, and because for me teaching is the most exhausting part of my profession. That being said, there’s little that’s more rewarding in life than seeing one of your own students blossom into an artist.

Do you perform regularly in any other local musical projects? If yes, please list.

I’ve been music director of the Vivaldi By Candlelight concert series since 2004, which is the main fundraising event for the Utah Council of Citizen Diplomacy.

I was first violinist of the Abramyan String Quartet for its ten year existence from 1993 to 2003. We performed throughout Utah with extensive education and outreach programs, and had six tours to Japan.

I often perform on the Nova, New Music Ensemble, and Canyonlands concert series.

Please share your participation in any community groups, hobbies or activities:

I love hiking and camping, but gave up fishing because I never caught anything. I enjoy sports, cooking, gardening, reading, and most of all, travel.

What CDs have you recorded?

The Abramyan String Quartet was involved in several recordings of local composers such as Morris Rosenzweig, Miguel Chuaqui, Phillip Bimstein, and Arthur Shepherd (in collaboration with Grant Johannesen). We also made a recording called Mr. Mozart and Friends with a grant from the Utah Department of Education.

I’ve also recorded “Partita Intrecciata” by Mr. Rosenzweig.

My orchestration of the Aaron Copland Violin Sonata has recently been recorded by violinist Andres Cardenes and will soon be available on Albany Records.

Do you have a personal website?

Please include information about your latest novel and your career as a writer.

I’ve always enjoyed reading mysteries and suspense novels. They take me away from the daily grind, and when well-written, are as thought-provoking as the most scholarly tome. Some of my favorite authors in this genre are John LeCarre, Walter Mosley, Laurence Sanders, and Dick Francis.

My road to published authorship has been very circuitous and could be the subject of a novel itself. But suffice it to say the books I’ve written, about the seamier sides of the classical music world, are, though fiction, nevertheless steeped in reality, dealing with issues of ethics and integrity as well as murder and mayhem. And by writing about murder in the classical music world, as opposed to carrying it out in real life, I’ve saved myself substantial amounts of prison time. The protagonist in each of my novels is a curmudgeonly, blind violin teacher named Daniel Jacobus, and he inevitably gets drawn into life-threatening situations against his will and somehow manages to make things a lot worse before they get better.

I am indebted to my agents, Simon Lipskar and Josh Getzler, at Writer’s House in New York, my editor, Michael Homler, and my publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for having the confidence in my stories.

Devil’s Trill (on the bookshelves beginning August 18, 2009) , has been selected by Barnes and Noble for their Discover Great New Writers program for Fall, 2009. Following is a summary of the story:

Greed, lust, power and murder are not words that come readily to mind describing the world of classical music. Yet this is the setting into which blind Daniel Jacobus, a reclusive, vulgar violin teacher living in self-imposed exile in rural New England, is inexorably drawn. To Jacobus, who spends his time chain smoking, listening to old LPs, and berating students in the hope they will flee, the evils of that world are epitomized by the ‘Piccolino’ Stradivarius, a uniquely dazzling violin that has brought misfortune to all who possessed it over the centuries. After the Carnegie Hall debut of nine-year old Grimsley Competition winner Kamryn Vander, a pawn of ruthless handlers, the priceless ‘Piccolino’ is stolen. Then Vander’s teacher and Jacobus’s nemesis Victoria Jablonski is brutally murdered. Jacobus becomes the primary suspect in both crimes, but with the help of his friend and former musical partner Nathaniel Williams, and his new student, Yumi Shinagawa, sets out to prove his innocence against all odds.

Deborah Henson-Conant’s Electric Harp

Dear Utah Symphony Friends —

I’m thrilled about coming to play with the Utah Symphony at Deer Valley for a concert that  I think of it as 1812 Overture meets “Hip Harp.”‘   Elevation, 8,000 feet with electric harp, voice, orchestra … AND CANNONS!  Now THAT’S what I call fun!

Before I get there, I want to tell you a little bit about my instrument, because it’s very unique.  For years I played the 6-foot tall gold concert harp, but every time I tried to get it on a plane, I dreamt of an instrument I could carry over my shoulder, and strap on like an electric guitar — yet powerful enough to soar over the kinds of orchestrations I like to write: lush, rhythmic, sometimes bombastic.  I wanted an instrument I could play Blues on, and Flamenco, as well as Ballads.  Year after year I went to harp builders all over the world saying: “OK, so let’s say a harp and an electric guitar got married and had a child.  THAT’S the instrument I want! Could you build me that?” I even made my own prototype, painted it to look like a Stratocaster guitar, and took it around as a model!

Then finally, the late Joel Garnier, the premiere harp builder in France, gave me a present: the first solid-body electric body-harp.  “Here,” Joel said (in his beautiful French accent), “I have made you the harp.  Your Blue harp!  And now YOU must create the music to play!”  So for the past fifteen years, I have been creating music and his firm, CAMAC Harps, has been building and rebuilding the instrument.  The instrument you’ll see at Deer Valley Resort is the newest generation, a carbon fibre harp, with a crystal piezo pickup on every string.  There are only two in the world, each with a different design.  The harp only weighs 11 pounds but oh, what a glorious sound!

So can the little harp that Joel built carry it’s own weight next to the 1812 Overture?  Come find out!!  Please come join me with the Utah Symphony Aug. 1st at Deer Valley Amphitheater when “Hip Harp” meets the 1812 Overture 8,000 feet up!

If you want to see what the harp looks and sounds like, you can see many clips on YouTube.  Just go to my website, and click on the YouTube link on the homepage to link to videos. 


I’ll see you at the show!

Deborah Henson-Conant (

Announcing the Winners of our First-ever Live Review Night

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s first-ever live review night on Saturday, July 18th at our ABBA peformance was a success! Over 30 facebookers and tweeple participated in the competition. After much internal discussion, we have decided on the winners:

1. Most updates: Twitter user veronicafever wins this category with 17 updates. Close runner-ups were Facebookers Robert Fudge and Scott Burkee. veronicafever wins a voucher redeemable for two tickets to an upcoming 2009-10 Utah Symphony or Utah Opera performance of her choice.

2. Most Responses: Defined by total number of retweets, likes, or comments received by a Facebook or Twitter Reviewer, Facebooker Melissa Dalley Burkee wins this category! Melissa wins a voucher redeemable for two tickets to an upcoming 2009-10 Utah Symphony or Utah Opera performance of her choice. Jennifer Streiff and Leslie Bailey Blevins were close runner-ups.

3. Most Clever Update: This category was decided by Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Social Media Committee.  Facebooker Kristy Duthler Hoffman wins this category with her update, “Wow! Momma mia, pointed fingers, leopard pants, electric blue spandex, men slapping their derriers, and dancing of all abilities, we are definitely sitting in the fun section at Deer Valley!” Kristy wins two free tickets to Play! A Video Games Symphony on November 17, 2009.

4. Best Overall Reviewer: We had so many great New Media Music Critics last Saturday, so this was a very difficult decision, but after much discussion by the Social Media Committee, the award goes to Facebooker Robbie Dalley. Robbie wins two free tickets to Play! A Video Games Symphony on November 17, 2009.

Thanks to all those who participated, and stay tuned for details about our next Live Review Night!

From Electric Harpist Deborah Henson-Conant

Dear Utah Symphony Friends —

I’m here in the Salt Lake City airport —  just passing through this time — but knowing I’ll be back at the end of the month for my performance with the Utah Symphony at Deer Valley Resort!  I keep wanting to go up to everyone in the airport and tell them to come to the show!  I love to perform, I love working with great musicians, and I’m so excited about the show we’re performing August 1st.  I’ve never been on a program that paired me with the 1812 Overture, but I have a few ideas of my own about how to live up to that exciting challenge!

My harp is snug in the hold of the plane as I write this.  After years of struggling to tour with a 6-foot concert harp, I feel pretty smug checking my custom-built carbon-fibre electric harp onto the plane!   If harps were cars, then I guess this harp would be the Harley-Davidson of the harp world.  It even has flames on it!  The man who painted it specializes in airbrushing trucks and motorcycles … and now …. electric harps!

I’m so looking forward to my concert with maestro David Lockington and your wonderful symphony!  David and I have a long history together and share a love of both great music and great entertainment.  This is our first chance to work together since our 2006 Grammy-Nominated project, “Invention & Alchemy,”  a huge project that later went on to become a music special on PBS.  If you missed it on PBS, you can see clips of it on YouTube — just go to my website – – and click on the YouTube icon on the home page to get a taste of what you can expect from us on the stage.  Then come join us August 1st at Deer Valley Resort when the 1812 Overture meets “Hip Harp!”

See you there!
Deborah Henson-Conant (


Have you ever dreamed of being a music critic? Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) is thrilled to announce our first ever live-review night on Saturday, July 18 at Deer Valley® Snow Park Amphitheater. New Media Music Critics will be able to live review from their phones during the performance of ABBA the Music: The Symphonic Hits at the Deer Valley® Music Festival, Summer home of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. USUO will reserve a special section for New Media Music Critics at the ABBA performance in the lawn section of the hill. There will be a competition with fabulous prizes in the following categories: Best Overall, Most Updates, Most Responses (quantified by retweets, likes, and comments), and Most Clever. Winners will be announced via USUO’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The first 50 New Media Music Critics who sign up will receive one free ticket to the performance, although all current fans of USUO on Facebook or Twitter may participate as a New Media Music Critic, sit in the reserved section, and participate in the competition.

How to participate:

  1. New Media Music Critics must be a current fan or follower of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. or
  2. Potential New Media Music Critics just need to send an email to to sign-up. ONLY THE FIRST 50 WHO SIGN-UP WILL RECEIVE ONE FREE TICKET TO THE JULY 18 PERFORMANCE, although all who sign-up can sit in the reserved section and participate in the competition.
  3. New Media Music Critics are required to post at least 5 updates during the performances. Use hash #dvmf for tracking purposes.
  4. No video or photography is allowed during the performance due to federal copyright laws. Those who post video or photography from the performance will be disqualified from the competition.
  5. New Media Music Critics must check-in at the marketing table prior to the performance in order to receive their ticket.

Click here for info on the performance. ABBA the Music: The Symphonic Hits features two of the original members of ABBA.

Tatjana Mead Chamis concert

On Thursday, June 18, violist Tatjana Mead Chamis will perform a concert for the Boguslavsky String Scholarship Fund in Libby Gardner Hall on the University of Utah campus. Tatjana is currently principal violist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She also performed as a Salute to Youth soloist with the Utah Symphony in 1989 and 1992. In her recollections of those performances she has written “All of this time, the Salute to Youth events have been a proud part of my artistic biography. I feel fortunate to have had this very unique opportunity, as I know that this is a once in a lifetime, and often life changing event in the life of a musician, as it certainly was for me.”  Her teacher at the time, Mikhail Boguslavsky, was a member of the Utah Symphony.

Ms. Mead Chamis will be joined by members of the University of Utah music faculty and New York-based jazz pianist David Budway. The program looks great and this will be an excellent chance to hear a Salt Lake native who calls her first performance with the Utah Symphony her “debut.”

The concert will be at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are just $15 for adults, $5 for students.