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Utah Symphony Presents Grieg's Piano Concerto & U.S. Premiere Inspired by Tim Burton, Now thru 3/1

Utah Symphony Presents Grieg's Piano Concerto & U.S. Premiere Inspired by Tim Burton, Now thru 3/1

Guest conductor Mark Wigglesworth returns to lead Utah Symphony tonight, Feb. 28 and March 1 at 8pm at Abravanel Hall for a special performance of Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto.

Mr. Wigglesworth is joined by piano soloist Alexander Melnikov, the 2013/14 Artist-in-Residence at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam. Known for his often-unusual musical and programmatic decisions, Alexander Melnikov discovered a career-long interest in historical performance practice at an early age.

"I've worked with Alexander Melnikov before," says Wigglesworth, "and I know he will give this much-loved piece all the personal lyricism and public drama it requires." Grieg's Piano Concerto last appeared on Utah Symphony's Masterworks series in 2008, conducted by Stefan Sanderling with Shai Wosner as the guest soloist.

Next weekend's concert at Abravanel Hall will also feature the U.S. premiere performance of "A Freak in Burbank" by Albert Schnelzer. This piece was commissioned by the Stockholm Chamber Orchestra and premiered in 2008.

Written with Burbank-born film director Tim Burton in mind, Mr. Schnelzer explains, "The music of Joseph Haydn has always been a source of inspiration for me ... In this piece I wanted to take a Haydn-size orchestra, preserve the essence of Haydn's music, but place it in a more modern environment. Will the spirit of Haydn survive in an American suburb?"

Mr. Wigglesworth explains his philosophy on conducting contemporary works: "New music has to speak to people, but if the sound world is too familiar, there is no point playing the piece at all. I think Schnelzer achieves an ideal balance between innovation and tradition. Plus it sounds fun."

The closing piece of the concert is Jean Sibelius' Symphony, No. 2 which became a symbol of Finnish pride. Symphony No. 2 was last performed by the Utah Symphony in 2008 with guest conductor Joseph Silverstein on the podium.

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. 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 BIOGRAPHIES

Mark Wigglesworth, Conductor: Born in Sussex, England, Mark Wigglesworth studied music at Manchester University and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. While still a student, he formed The Premiere Ensemble, an orchestra committed to playing a new piece in every program. A few weeks after leaving the Academy, he won the Kondrashin International Conducting Competition in The Netherlands, and since then has worked with many of the leading orchestras and opera companies of the world.

In 1992 he became Associate Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Further appointments include Principal Guest Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Highlights of his time with the BBCNOW include several visits to the BBC Proms, a performance of Mahler's Tenth Symphony at the prestigious Amsterdam Mahler Festival in 1995, and a six-part television series for the BBC entitled "Everything to Play For".

Mr. Wigglesworth has been just as busy in North America having been invited to the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, the Toronto Symphony, and the Boston Symphony. He regularly visits the Minnesota Orchestra and has an on-going relationship with the New World Symphony.

Equally at home in the Opera House, Mr. Wigglesworth started his operatic career with a period as Music Director of Opera Factory, London. Since then he has worked regularly at Glyndebourne ("Peter Grimes", "La Boheme", "Le Nozze di Figaro"), Welsh National Opera ("Elektra", "The Rake's Progress", "Tristan und Isolde"), and English National Opera ("Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk", "Così fan tutte", "Falstaff", "Kát'a Kabanová", "Parsifal"). He has conducted at the Netherlands Opera ("Peter Grimes"); La Monnaie ("Mitridate", "Wozzeck", "Pelléas et Mélisande"); The Sydney Opera House ("Peter Grimes", "Don Giovanni"); The Metropolitan Opera, New York ("Le nozze di Figaro"); and The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden ("Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg").

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