Utah Symphony Announces 2019-20 Season
Music Director Thierry Fischer and President & CEO Paul Meecham today announced the Utah Symphony's 2019-20 season, with highlights including multimedia concert experiences featuring the twelve movements of Messiaen's Des canyons aux toiles (From the canyons to the stars), the release of Berlioz and Prokofiev recordings on the Hyperion Records and Reference Recordings respectively, and a celebration of Beethoven's 250th birthday in 2020. Additional highlights include the return of American composer Andrew Norman to present three of his orchestral works and work with young Utah musicians in his second year as Composer-in-Association; a gala concert with violinist Joshua Bell celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Utah Symphony's first-ever performance, which took place on May 8, 1940; and a tribute to Hispanic Heritage that includes music by Latin-American composers conducted by guest artist Carlos Miguel Prieto. For a complete schedule of performances, click here.
Since coming to Utah more than ten years ago, I have often been awestruck by the beauties and majesties of its natural landscapes. This coming season it gives me great pleasure to honor Utah's nature with a masterpiece written in Utah and about Utah by Olivier Messiaen, Des canyons aux toiles, said Music Director Thierry Fischer, who was named Music Director in 2009 and will be in his ninth full season with the orchestra. New creative ideas and innovations in music are important for any orchestra, so I am also looking forward to working for a second year with Andrew Norman as our Composer-in-Association.
This season, Mr. Fischer will conduct all twelve movements of Messiaen's Des canyons aux toiles, four symphonies by Beethoven in celebration of the composer's 250th birthday, and works by Mozart, Gershwin, and Composer-in-Association Andrew Norman (Sacred Geometry and Spiral). Among the celestially inspired and nature-themed works that he will conduct alongside movements of Des canyons aux toiles are Kaija Saariaho's Asteroid 4179 Toutatis, Dutilleux's L'arbre des songes (The Tree of Dreams), Holst's The Planets, Respighi's The Birds and Pines of Rome, Haydn's The World of the Moon Overture, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Handel's Organ Concerto No. 13 ( The Cuckoo & The Nightingale ), and John Williams's Star Wars (main theme). He will also conduct R. Strauss's An Alpine Symphony, Dvo k's Symphony No. 8, Wagner's Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin, Mahler's Totenfeier (Funeral Rites), Barber's Toccata Festiva, Ravel's Daphnis et Chlo , Suite No. 2, Mozart's Overture from Idomeneo, Gershwin's Cuban Overture, Bernstein's Three Dance Episodes from On the Town, and Haydn's Symphony No. 10, among other works.
Los Angeles-based composer and 2017 Grawemeyer Award-winner Andrew Norman, returns for a second season as the Utah Symphony's 2019-20 Composer-in-Association. The Utah Symphony performs three of Mr. Norman's orchestral works: Sacred Geometry, on November 15 and 16; Spiral on January 31 and February 1; and Unstuck on March 6 and 7. The Utah Symphony commissioned Mr. Norman to write Switch, a percussion concerto that was recorded live in November 2015 for Reference Recordings and also performed at the Utah Symphony's 2016 Carnegie Hall concert.
The UNWOUND series, a casual classical experience introduced during the 2018-19 season, will expand to include two shorter intermission-free programs: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with astounding Gershwin interpreter Kevin Cole on November 16, and Orff's Carmina Burana on March 23 under the baton of guest conductor Kazuki Yamada and featuring vocalists Amy Owens (soprano), Brian Stucki (tenor), and Christopher Clayton (baritone).
This season, more than any before, reflects the Utah Symphony's desire to reach new and more diverse audiences -- through creative programming that connects the beauty of art with the beauty of our state, the new UNWOUND series that provides a more casual experience for next-generation concertgoers, and new events for Utah's growing Hispanic and Latino population, said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Paul Meecham. As we look back to celebrate the Utah Symphony's 80th anniversary as one of the nation's premier symphony orchestras, we continue to look forward as a creative, relevant jewel of our state and region.
2019-20 SEASON AT A GLANCE
Release of Berlioz and Prokofiev Recordings
In 2020, Hyperion Records releases the Utah Symphony's all-Berlioz album featuring four of the composer's works, recorded live over two programs in February 2019. The first program, on February 1 and 2, 2019, featured the composer's best-known work, Symphonie fantastique, which Mr. Fischer conducted in his Utah Symphony debut in October 2007 prior to his appointment as Music Director. The second program, on February 8 and 9, 2019, featured three of Berlioz's lesser-known works: Sara la baigneuse for three choruses and orchestra, featuring the Utah Symphony Chorus and University of Utah Choirs; La mort d'Oph lie, the second movement of Tristia for orchestra and chorus, also featuring the Symphony Chorus and University Choirs; and R verie et caprice for violin and orchestra, featuring the Utah Symphony's 2018-19 Artist-in-Association Philippe Quint as soloist.
This all-Berlioz album is the Utah Symphony's second recording project with Hyperion Records. Mr. Fischer and the Utah Symphony first recorded for the label during the 2017-18 season when the orchestra launched its currently in-progress Saint-Sa ns symphony recording cycle, the first ever undertaken by an American orchestra. The first disc in the three-part series was released January 2019, and the second installment is scheduled to be released in spring 2020.
Also during the 2019-20 season, Reference Recordings releases the orchestra's all-Prokofiev album (SACD) focusing on works inspired by the composer's film scores, namely the symphonic suite from Lieutenant Kij and the Alexander Nevsky cantata. The album was recorded live by Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony in Abravanel Hall on November 18 and 19, 2016. This will be the fourth live album by the orchestra and Mr. Fischer to be released on Reference Recordings, following Mahler's Symphony No. 1 ( Titan ) in September 2015; Dawn to Dust, a recording of world-premiere commissions by three American composers Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas released in April 2016; and Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ( Symphony of a Thousand ), recorded with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and The Madeleine Choir School inside the Salt Lake Tabernacle on February 19 and 20, 2016, and released on Reference Recordings in November 2017.
Messiaen's Des canyons aux toiles
Throughout the season, the Utah Symphony blends music and visuals in a series of concerts that explore the natural beauty of Utah, with Oliver Messiaen's Des canyons aux toiles serving as a common thread from program to program. This work by Messiaen was commissioned by Alice Tully in 1971 to mark the American bicentennial, and was inspired by the birds and rugged features of southern Utah, including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. In this concert series, the twelve movements of Messiaen's composition are performed over eight programs, on which they are complemented by additional, nature-inspired works from the baroque to the present day.
Among the works to be performed are Kaija Saariaho's Asteroid 4179 Toutatis, Haydn's The World of the Moon Overture, Holst's The Planets, Respighi's The Birds and Pines of Rome, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 ( Pastoral ), Dutilleux's L'arbre des songes, and Handel's Organ Concerto No. 13 ( The Cuckoo & The Nightingale ). Many of these works will be visually accentuated on the giant screen inside Abravanel Hall with imagery in collaboration with local organizations including the Utah Office of Tourism, Clark Planetarium, Dark Sky Cooperative, KUED, The Nature Conservancy, Tracy Aviary, and the Natural History Museum of Utah.
Beethoven's 250th Birthday
The season includes a celebration of Beethoven's 250th birthday in 2020 with four programs led by Mr. Fischer: Symphony No. 7 on February 21 and 22; Symphony No. 6 on April 24 and 25; Symphony No. 5 and Romance No. 1 with violinist Augustin Hadelich on May 1 and 2; and Symphony No. 3 ( Eroica ) on May 22 and 23.
Additional works by the composer will be featured throughout the season, including The Consecration of the House Overture on September 13 and 14 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the opening of Abravanel Hall; Leonore Overture No. 3 on January 3 and 4, 2020; and the Violin Concerto with soloist Joshua Bell on May 16.
During the 2019-20 season, the Utah Symphony presents its second season of UNWOUND, a casual concert series with shorter, intermission-free performances. Ticket buyers are invited to arrive early for entertainment and food on the plaza, and stay after the performance for Q&A and to mingle with other attendees. Mr. Fischer will lead a performance of Gershwin classics including Rhapsody in Blue with guest pianist Kevin Cole on November 16, and Kazuki Yamada will conduct Carmina Burana on March 28.
Hispanic Heritage Celebrations
The Utah Symphony pays homage to Hispanic Heritage beginning with an evening of celebration on September 16, Mexico's Independence Day (El Grito). Featuring works by such Latin-American composers as Carlos Ch vez, Alberto Ginastera, Arturo M rquez, and Jos Pablo Moncayo, the program is led by Mexican conductor and Musical America's 2019 Conductor of the Year Carlos Miguel Prieto in his Utah Symphony debut. He also conducts a program on November 8 and 9 exploring Afro-Cuban religious culture and the folk traditions of old Spain with Revueltas's Sensemay and Falla's Three-Cornered Hat alongside Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 with pianist Boris Giltburg. On November 1 and 2, the Utah Symphony will present on its Films in Concert Series the computer-animated fantasy Coco, which was inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration and features an all-Latino cast.
80th Anniversary Concert and Gala
Violinist Joshua Bell joins the Utah Symphony's concert and gala May 16, 2020 to mark the 80th anniversary of the orchestra's first performance, which was conducted by Hans Heniot on May 8, 1940 at Kingsbury Hall. Mr. Bell performs Beethoven's Violin Concerto conducted by Associate Conductor Conner Gray Covington, who also directs orchestral works from the Utah Symphony's first concert, including Smetana's The Moldau and J. Strauss Jr.'s Emperor Waltzes.
Guest soloists during the 2019-20 season include violinist Viviane Hagner, who joins the orchestra's principal violist Brant Bayless in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante on September 27 and 28;* pianist Luk Vondr ek performing Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, conducted by Aziz Shokhakimov on October 25 and 26; pianist Boris Giltburg in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 on November 8 and 9, conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto; pianist and Gershwin specialist Kevin Cole appearing in three of the composer's works the Second Rhapsody, I Got Rhythm Variations, and Rhapsody in Blue on November 15;* pianist Till Fellner performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 on November 22 and 23;* violinist Karen Gomyo in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto on January 31 and February 1;* pianist Joyce Yang appearing in Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F on February 7 and 8;* pianist Francesco Piemontesi in Schumann's Piano Concerto on February 21 and 22;* violinist Benjamin Beilman performing in Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, conducted by Fabien Gabel on March 6 and 7; pianist Nicholas Angelich appearing in Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 on April 10 and 11;* organist Paul Jacobs in Handel's Organ Concerto No. 13 ( The Cuckoo and the Nightingale ) and Barber's Toccata Festiva on April 24 and 25;* violinist Augustin Hadelich performing in Beethoven's Romance No. 1 on May 1 and 2;* and violinist Joshua Bell appearing in Beethoven's Violin Concerto, conducted by Associate Conductor Conner Gray Covington on May 16.
Four Utah Symphony principal players perform as featured soloists: Principal Viola Brant Bayless performs in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante on September 27 and 28;* Principal Keyboard Jason Hardink performs two solo piano movements from Des canyons aux toiles on November 22 and 23, and April 24 and 25;* Associate Concertmaster Kathryn Eberle plays Edgar Meyer's Violin Concerto on January 3 and 4, Conner Gray Covington conducting; and Concertmaster Madeline Adkins performs Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending and the world premiere of Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis's The Maze, inspired by the remote area of Canyonlands National Park in Southern Utah, on March 27, conducted by Kazuki Yamada.
*Conducted by Thierry Fischer
Vocalists and Choral Performances
Sopranos and altos of the Utah Symphony Chorus shine in the limelight during the first Masterworks program on September 13 and 14, which features an entire program devoted to the stars and skies above, including Holst's The Planets and John Williams' Star Wars theme. On December 13 and 14, the combined forces of the Utah Chamber Artists, University of Utah Chamber Choir and University of Utah A Cappella Choir perform Christmas carols arranged and conducted by Utah Symphony Chorus Director Barlow Bradford.
Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Ch vez, Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Utah, is the soloist in Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat, led by Carlos Miguel Prieto on November 8 and 9; mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard performs Mozart opera arias on January 10 and 11, Bernard Labadie conducting; and Utah Opera former Resident Artist Amy Owens (soprano) joins Christopher Clayton (baritone), and Brian Stucki (tenor) along with the Utah Symphony Chorus, University of Utah choirs, and choristers of The Madeleine Choir School on March 26 and 27 performing Orff's Carmina Burana, conducted by Kazuki Yamada.
Guest conductors during the Utah Symphony's 2019-20 season include Aziz Shokhakimov, the newly appointed Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein and Principal Guest Conductor at La Verdi Orchestra in Milan, making his debut conducting Mussorgsky / Rimsky-Korsakov's Night on Bald Mountain, Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 on October 25 and 26; Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto making his Utah Symphony debut with two programs a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration featuring classical works from great Latin-American composers on September 16, and a program of works by Revueltas, Rachmaninoff, and Falla on November 8 and 9; Utah Symphony Associate Conductor Conner Gray Covington in his Masterworks Series debut on January 3 and 4, conducting Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, Edgar Meyer's Violin Concerto, Arlene Sierra's Moler and Debussy's La mer; Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie on January 10 and 11 on a mostly-Mozart program with Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 ( Italian ); Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Qu bec Fabien Gabel on March 6 and 7 on a Spanish-influenced program in his Utah Symphony debut; and Kazuki Yamada, the Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, leading the orchestra in Carmina Burana on March 27 and 28.
Entertainment, Family, and Special Event Concert Series
As part of the 2019-20 Entertainment Series, the orchestra will feature The Music of John Williams on September 20 and 21; A Broadway Christmas with vocalist Ashley Brown and The Madeleine Choir School on December 6 and 7; a tribute to female empowerment and the 19th Amendment as part of Better Days 2020 with legendary ladies including the music of Carole King, Holly Knight, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, and Aretha Franklin on Women Rock! on February 14 and 15, 2020; a screening of Singin' in the Rain on February 28 and 29; and 1960s Motown sensation The Temptations on April 17 and 18, 2020.
Family and special event performances announced include Celebraci n Sinf nica! on September 16, 2019; the 60th anniversary Salute to Youth on September 24, 2019; the annual Handel Messiah Sing-in holiday favorite tradition on November 30 and December 1; the annual Here Comes Santa Claus! concert on December 7; Carnival of the Animals featuring Children's Dance Theatre on March 21, and the 80th anniversary gala with Joshua Bell on May 16, 2020.
Additional events including the complete Films in Concert Series, Utah Opera's 2019-20 season, and performances presented in venues other than Abravanel Hall will be announced at a later date.