The Utah Symphony Presents FISCHER'S FAREWELL Celebrating Music Director Thierry Fischer's 14-Year Tenure

Fischer's Farewell on May 26 and 27 features collaboration with The Tabernacle Choir, The Madeleine Choir School, and Mezzo-Soprano Anna Larsson.

By: May. 18, 2023

The Utah Symphony Presents FISCHER'S FAREWELL Celebrating Music Director Thierry Fischer's 14-Year Tenure

As the Utah Symphony prepares to close its 2022-2023 season, the organization celebrates the remarkable achievements of Music Director Thierry Fischer. Throughout his tenure with the orchestra, Fischer has brought a bold and innovative approach to programming, elevating the ensemble to new heights and captivating audiences with his charismatic and insightful leadership.

The final two performances of the season, which include Messiaen's Turangalîla and Mahler's Symphony No. 3, represent a culmination of Fischer's talent and success-and highlight his unquestionable influence on the world-class musicians of the Utah Symphony-all joining together for the perfect conclusion to a truly remarkable season and 14-year tenure.

The end begins with Messiaen's Turangalîla, a monumental work renowned for its impressive proportions and vivid musical imagery. Two 7:30 PM concerts will take place this weekend, Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 at Abravanel Hall in downtown Salt Lake City. Featuring a massive orchestra and a large range of instruments-including the piano solo performed by Principal Keyboard Jason Hardink and the rare ondes Martenot played by French musician Augustin Viard-this masterpiece brings otherworldly sound to life on stage.

Viard is one of the world's only ondes Martenot performers. This rare instrument blends unique electronic elements with classical influences, forging a sonic landscape that pushes the boundaries of musical expression-and fascinated Messiaen. Invented in 1928, only a few of these fragile instruments exist today, making this a nearly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Utah audiences to hear it live. "It has a soul of its own," says Viard, who arrived in Salt Lake City this week with his ondes Martenot. "The sound brings everyone to a really creates something dramatic and magical."

Turangalîla is a true testament to Messiaen's genius-and a particular favorite of Music Director Thierry Fischer. (Throughout his tenure, Fischer has introduced numerous Messiaen works to Utah audiences, including From the Canyons to the Stars, recently released on a Click Here.) "I need to perform Messiaen and to understand him," says Fischer. "For me, he's a very crucial composer...[showcasing] a world of exaggeration and extravagance about love."

Showcasing Messiaen's signature use of intricate rhythms and vivid harmonies, this unique piece offers an exploration of the mystical and divine. In fact, this divine nature is further emphasized with the poetically evocative titles of each movement, including "Joie du sang des étoiles" ("Joy of the Blood of the Stars") and "Turangalîla II" ("Love Song II"). Comprised of ten movements in total, Turangalîla brings new complexities to light while also offering the audience the opportunity to form their own conclusion about the composition and its famed French avant-garde composer.

The week following this extraordinary work, Music Director Thierry Fischer will guide the symphony in a grand finale dubbed "Fischer's Farewell" featuring Mahler's Symphony No. 3. Two 7:30 PM concerts will take place the following weekend, Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27, at Abravanel Hall in downtown Salt Lake City. As Fischer leads the ensemble in this grand farewell performance, audiences can expect a captivating and unforgettable experience, as the full force of the orchestra is unleashed in Mahler's sweeping and majestic score. Fischer is renowned for his insightful and passionate interpretations of Mahler's works, and this performance promises to be a highlight of his time with the orchestra. In addition, this piece features a collaboration with members of The Tabernacle Choir and The Madeleine Choir School bringing the wider Salt Lake City arts community together for this grand finale.

Composed in 1896, Mahler's Symphony No. 3 exemplifies the genius and vision of the composer in a work that is renowned for its all-encompassing nature. Spanning six movements, this composition encapsulates an immense emotional range from delicate themes to thunderous melodies. Like Messiaen's Turangalîla, the six movements of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 are each titled with evocative and poetic names, hinting at the thematic and emotional content of the work, and outlining the large-scale journey the audience will embark on alongside the musicians and conductor.

The first movement, "Pan Awakes. Summer Marches In," is a triumphal promenade that sets the tone for the rest of the symphony. The second movement, "What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me," highlights a delicate and lyrical tone that features a solo post horn (ancestor to the modern French horn). The third movement, "What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me," is a playful and rhythmic scherzo that incorporates various animal sounds into its score showcased by a variety of instruments within the orchestra. "What Man Tells Me"-the fourth and longest movement in the symphony-features mezzo-soprano Anna Larsson singing a text from Nietzsche's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" in a stunning vocal solo. The fifth movement, "What the Angels Tell Me," is serene and ethereal, featuring sopranos and altos from The Tabernacle Choir as well as The Madeleine Choir School-with their voices embodying the angelic melodies of the movement. Finally, the sixth movement, "What Love Tells Me," brings the entire piece to a grand and triumphant finale that slowly fades into a quiet resolve of hope-a fitting message as Thierry Fischer steps down as Utah Symphony Music Director, having made an indescribable impact over his 14 years.

"The piece takes you on an emotional journey," says Second Associate Concertmaster Laura Ha. "It's so fitting for Maestro Fischer's final performance for that reason. It will send both the orchestra and the audience off with resounding hope for the future."

The two upcoming performances promise to be unforgettable experiences, showcasing the power and grandeur of two of classical music's most ambitious works. These programs offer the chance for audience members to not only experience the full force of Messiaen's and Mahler's grand-scale visions, but also to hear this monumental repertoire brought to life by the skill of the Utah Symphony's world-class musicians through Fischer's expert leadership.

For more information, please visit Click Here.


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