Utah Symphony Announces 2020-21 Season
Music Director Thierry Fischer and Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and Interim President and CEO Patricia A. Richards today announced the Utah Symphony's 2020-21 season, sponsored by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, with highlights including a cycle of all five Beethoven piano concertos featuring world-renowned pianists in celebration of the composer's 250th birthday. American composer Arlene Sierra will be the Utah Symphony's 2020-21 Composer-in-Association, and in addition to having several works premiered or given their first U.S. performances by the orchestra, she will travel to Salt Lake City to engage with the community as an ambassador for contemporary music.
The orchestra also welcomes a new Artist-in-Association, flutist Emmanuel Pahud, who performs works by Mozart and Nielsen, as well as a U.S. premiere by Philippe Manoury. Additional highlights include the third season of UNWOUND, which offers a more casual alternative to the traditional concert hall experience, and numerous guest artists making their Utah Symphony debuts. The orchestra's Entertainment Series, Family Series, Films in Concert and other special concerts were announced under the banner of "Live with the Utah Symphony."
"For me, the diversity of our 2020-21 season is really exciting. From the International Artists like my good friend, flutist Emmanuel Pahud, to the varied repertoire, we are in store for an inspiring season that showcases what Utah Symphony does best: bring a high level of musical excellence to the stage while interpreting a wide array of musical genres," said Music Director Thierry Fischer, who was appointed in 2009 and will be in his tenth full season with the orchestra. "Whether it's contemporary music by our Composer-in-Association Arlene Sierra or Michael Jarrell's commission, smaller chamber ensembles, or classical masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart, I am proud of the orchestra for mastering an assortment of styles that inspires and engages audiences."
This season, Maestro Fischer will lead a continuation of Beethoven's 250th birthday celebration with a cycle of all five of the composer's piano concertos featuring world-renowned guest pianists. He leads the orchestra in the season opening concert of Beethoven's "Emperor" followed by Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, both with soloist Stephen Hough. He also conducts two works by contemporary composers: the U.S. premiere of Utah Symphony commission "Emergences-Résurgences" by Swiss composer Michael Jarrell, and the world premiere of "Bird Symphony" by composer in association Arlene Sierra. In addition to these works, Maestro Fischer will conduct ten Masterworks programs, including Weber's Overture to Abu Hassan, Mozart's Symphony No. 40, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, Stravinsky's "Song of the Nightingale," Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" Fantasy-Overture, Haydn's Symphony No. 11, Nielsen's Flute Concerto, Fauré's "Requiem," Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances," Bruckner's Symphony No. 9, Strauss's "Ein Heldenleben" (A Hero's Life), Schoenberg's Chamber Symphonies No.. 1 and 2, and Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik."
"The upcoming Utah Symphony season showcases the artistry and versatility of this incredible group of musicians. We are especially proud to highlight two of our own extraordinary violinists as soloists this season in our Masterworks Series, which presents some of the most beautiful and inspiring music ever written," said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Interim President and CEO Patricia A. Richards, who was Board Chair from 2005 to 2014 and is a Lifetime Trustee on the Board of Trustees. "And on the lighter side, from Films in Concert to show-stopping favorites like Cirque de la Symphonie and Pink Martini, to our exciting UNWOUND series, we are offering programs with wide appeal. It is going to be a great year!"
The Utah Symphony's 2020-21 Composer-in-Association, Arlene Sierra, has been recognized by "The New York Times" for her "vividly scored, colorful works," three of which are performed by the orchestra this season. In the fall and winter are two U.S. premieres: a mysterious and evocative orchestral showpiece, "Aquilo" (2001), on November 13, and 14 and "Nature Symphony" (2017), the latter a BBC commission that explores "the mechanics and processes of nature," on January 29 and 30. In the spring, Maestro Fischer conducts the world premiere of Ms. Sierra's Utah Symphony-commissioned "Bird Symphony" on April 23 and 24. Ms. Sierra's planned outreach activities in Salt Lake City as Composer-in-Association range from talks and workshops to performances of her music. She engages with residents of all ages, from elementary school students to high school composers to adults who are interested in the arts.
The Utah Symphony also expands its reach through non-traditional concert formats and through performances beyond Abravanel Hall. The UNWOUND series, a casual classical experience introduced during the 2018-19 season, will return for a third season with two shorter programs led from the stage by Ghostlight podcast co-host Jeff Counts. Each concert is preceded by activities and refreshments in the lobby and on the plaza, as is followed by an opportunity to mingle with fellow patrons and participate in a Q&A with the artists. UNWOUND programs present Beethoven and Brahms featuring the Utah Symphony debut of British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performing Beethoven's "Piano Concerto No. 3" with guest conductor Jun Märkl on October 24, and Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto" with the Utah Symphony debut of Korean violinist Inmo Yang on February 26 with Music Director Thierry Fischer.
As part of its mission to inspire and connect communities throughout the state with great live music, the Utah Symphony performs an eight-part series is presented in Ogden in partnership with Onstage Ogden at Austad Auditorium at Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Weber State University; a six-part series in its second year at The Noorda, the new performing arts center on the campus of Utah Valley University in Utah County; and a performance with German violist Tabea Zimmermann, in her Masterworks Series debut, in partnership with the BRAVO! Series at de Jong Concert Hall at the Harris Fine Arts Center on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo on November 19, 2020.
"As Board Chair, I am very proud to witness firsthand how music changes lives when I attend orchestra performances. We are so fortunate to live in a state with a full time, world-class symphony orchestra and experience the high caliber of talent this group of musicians offers to all Utahns," said Board Chair Tom Love. "This truly is Utah's Symphony! And we can only accomplish this with the generous support of a great many community leaders, patrons and elected officials, for whom we are extremely grateful. The board and I continue to advocate on behalf of this cultural gem so that future generations will continue to have access the transformative power of music."