The Utah Symphony to Pay Homage to Vienna and More in New Year's Celebration Concert, 1/2

Music Director Thierry Fischer leads the Utah Symphony in the New Year's Celebration concert on Saturday, January 2 at 7 PM in Abravanel Hall. Kick-off 2016 beautifully with traditional Strauss waltzes, polkas, and other Old World dance hall favorites as the orchestra pays homage to the Vienna Philharmonic's enduring New Year's Day concert. Tickets, priced from $18-$80, are available for purchase through or by calling (801) 355-2787.

The New Year's Concert in Vienna started in 1939, right in the midst of World War II, under the baton of Clemens Krauss. It signified a shift in repertoire for symphonic performances by bringing bourgeois music from private salons to the public concert hall setting. With an entire repertoire from Johann Strauss, the first concert was called "Johann Strauss Concert," and Strauss' music has headlined every show since.

Annually performed in the morning on New Year's Day at the Musikverein Concert Hall in Vienna, the concert highlights polkas, waltzes, and march music. The concert highlights music from the Strauss family because at that time, the Strausses' dance music was the soundtrack of Viennese social life. Johann Strauss II is known as the "Waltz King," and he wrote well-known waltzes including "Artists' Life," "Wine, Women and Song," and "The Blue Danube," which closes the Utah Symphony's concert repertoire.

New Year's Celebration showcases works by Strauss, Rihm, Lehár, and Prokofiev. This energetically-charged repertoire is sure to enchant audiences with stunning waltzes, joyous polkas, marches, and surprise encores. Soloist Celena Shafer will combine her silky voice with the Utah Symphony for an evening of remembrance and celebration.

Celena Shafer is a Utah native soprano who has a long history with Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, first appearing with the orchestra as a high school student. During USUO's 2014-15 season she was the Artist-in-Residence. Ms. Shafer returns during the 2015-16 season for Beethoven Symphony No. 9, the New Year's concert, and Mahler's Symphony No. 8 on February 19-20, 2016. "Opera Now" raves, "Her voice is as clear as running water, with just the right amount of ring to it, and wonderfully sensitive to dynamics. There is a touch of Sutherland about the sound, with a perfect lightness, and an ability to dance her coloratura on point."

Franz Lehár's Overture to "The Merry Widow" will be performed after intermission during the New Year's Celebration concert. The overture gives audience members a taste of the Utah Opera production of The Merry Widow, full of tuneful waltzes and dance music similar in style to Strauss, set to take the stage at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre January 16-24.


The Utah Symphony presents
New Year's Celebration

Abravanel Hall, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
January 2, 2016 | 7 PM

Thierry Fischer, Conductor
Celena Shafer, Soprano
Utah Symphony Orchestra

J. STRAUSS, JR. Overture to Die Fledermaus
J. STRAUSS, JR. "Mein Herr Marquis" from Die Fledermaus
Celena Shafer, Soprano
WOLFGANG RIHM "Drängender Walzer" from Drei Walzer
J. STRAUSS, JR. Perpetuum Mobile, Opus 257
J. STRAUSS, JR. Frühlingsstimmen, Opus 410
Celena Shafer, Soprano
JOSEF STRAUSS Feuerfest! Polka française, Opus 269
J. STRAUSS, JR. Overture to The Gypsy Baron


LEHÁR Overture to The Merry Widow
J. STRAUSS, JR. Pizzicato Polka
PROKOFIEV "New Year's Eve Ball" from War and Peace
LEHÁR "Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiß" from Giuditta
Celena Shafer, Soprano
J. STRAUSS, JR. On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Opus 314

Tickets, priced from $18-$80, are available for purchase through or by calling (801) 355-2787. Tickets increase $2 on the day of the performance.

Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony performs more than 175 concerts each season and offers all Utahns easy access to world class live musical performances of the world's greatest music in the state's top venues. Since being named the orchestra's seventh music director in 2009, Thierry Fischer has attracted leading musicians and top soloists, refreshed programming, drawn increased audiences, and galvanized community support. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including the Mighty 5 Tour of Utah's National Parks, the Utah Symphony has embarked on seven international tours and will perform at Carnegie Hall in Spring 2016 coinciding with the orchestra's 75th anniversary celebrations. The Utah Symphony has released more than 100 recordings, including the new release of Mahler Symphony No. 1 in Fall 2015. Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the orchestra's parent organization, reaches 450,000 residents in Utah and the Intermountain region, with educational outreach programs serving more than 155,000 students annually. In addition to performances in its home in Salt Lake City, Abravanel Hall, and concerts throughout the state of Utah, the Utah Symphony participates in Utah Opera's four annual productions at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and presents the six-week Deer Valley Music Festival each summer in Park City, Utah. With its many subscription, education, and outreach concerts and tours, the Utah Symphony is one of the most engaged orchestras in the nation. For more information visit

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