Austrian Guest Conductor Hans Graf Leads Utah Symphony in 19th Century Masters Concert, Today
The evening concerts begin with Dutilleux's evocative musical exploration of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, as the composer attempts to portray the balance between the static emptiness at the bottom of the painting with the whirling busyness of the sky. The orchestration is unique from typical works for symphony orchestra - basically a doubled woodwind section, without violins or violas. The woodwinds represent the stars and sky of the painting. These are the first Utah Symphony performances of "Timbres, Espace, Mouvement ou La nuit étoilée".
The Dutilleux is paired in the first half of the concerts with Schubert's "Unfinished" symphony, which explores the dynamic and lyrical range of the orchestra in only two complete movements and recognized as his first fully Romantic symphony. There is much speculation about why Schubert's Symphony No. 8 is unfinished - he wrote it in 1822, six years before he died. Some think he had bad memories of the time when he was writing it, and discarded it. Others theorize that he wrote himself into a corner with the similarities between the movements, and experienced writer's block with the last movement (there is a third movement that is sketched out in piano score, but not orchestrated). And still others just think the two movements are so perfect together he didn't need to write any others. The "Unfinished" was last performed on Masterworks program in 2009 with Maestro Thierry Fischer on the podium.
The concerts conclude with Tchaikovsky's spirited and lyrical 3rd symphony which is a rare treat on a Utah Symphony Masterworks concert, last performed here in 2000 with Keri-Lynn Wilson conducting. It earned the nickname "Polish" because of its finale in the form of a polonaise.
The Utah Symphony's Finishing Touches Series returns in the 2013-2014 season with a glimpse inside an open rehearsal on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 10 AM. These events are a behind-the-scenes look at the orchestra during the final rehearsals. They will impress upon attendees the diligence and dedication that goes into each performance.
Guest conductor Hans Graf and Vice President of Artistic Planning Toby Tolokan will present a free pre-concert chat each night, one hour prior to the start of the performance on the orchestra level of Abravanel Hall.
Single tickets for Finishing Touches open rehearsal are $15.50. Single tickets for the performance start at $18 and can be purchased by phone at (801) 355-2787, in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office (123 W. South Temple) or online by visiting www.utahsymphony.org. $10 tickets are available to anyone 30 or younger through the USUO Upbeat and Youth Ticket programs. Season subscribers can purchase discounted tickets by contacting (801) 533-6683. Those desiring group discounts should call (801) 869-9046. All ticket prices are subject to change and availability, and will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.
GUEST ARTIST BIOGRAPHY
About Hans Graf, Conductor
Appointed Music Director of the Houston Symphony in 2001, Hans Graf concluded his tenure in May 2013 and is the longest serving Music Director in the orchestra's history. He currently holds the title of Conductor Laureate. Prior to his appointment in Houston, he was the Music Director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and held the same post with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years. He also led the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra from 1984 to 1994.
Hans Graf is a frequent guest with all of the major North American orchestras. His recent and upcoming guest engagements include appearances with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Vancouver, Milwaukee and National symphonies and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra among others. He and the Houston Symphony appeared at Carnegie Hall in January 2010, at which time they presented the New York premiere of The Planets - An HD Odyssey, featuring the orchestra playing Holst's famous work, The Planets, accompanied by exclusive high definition images from NASA's exploration of the solar system. Mr. Graf and the Houston Symphony returned to Carnegie Hall again in May 2012 to participate in Carnegie's Spring for Music festival with an all-Shostakovich program.