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Utah Symphony Continues With The Masterworks Series With Copland's APPALACHIAN SPRING and BILLY THE KID

Experience the splendor of Aaron Copland's American masterpieces-the suite from the ballet "Billy the Kid" and Pulitzer Prize-winning "Appalachian Spring" on May 17 at 7:30 PM and May 18 at 5:30 PM in Abravanel Hall. The night also features the Utah premiere of "Transcend" from Chinese-American Zhou Tian in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike as well as violinist James Ehnes, one of the most dynamic and exciting performers in classical music, performing Bruch's beautiful Violin Concerto. With performances conducted by Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer, tickets are priced from $23 to $84 ($15 for students), and are available for purchase through or by calling (801) 355-2787.

As Utahns gather to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike, marking the end of the First Transcontinental Railroad, Utah Symphony will celebrate with two performances featuring beloved American classics. Utah Symphony is part of a co-commission of composer Zhou Tian's multi-movement piece for symphony orchestra entitled "Transcend." The piece is scheduled for premiere in Reno, continuing along the railroad route with performances along the Transcontinental Railroad route.

Born in Hangzhou, China, the distinguished Chinese-American musician Zhou Tian is a pianist, an associate professor of composition at Michigan State University College of Music, and a Grammy-nominated composer. In his music, Mr. Zhou seeks inspiration from different cultures and strives to mix them seamlessly into a musically satisfying combination for performers and audience alike. Described as "absolutely beautiful" and "utterly satisfying" ("Fanfare Magazine"), "lush, neo-impressionistic" ("The Cincinnati Enquirer"), and "a prime example of 21st-century global multiculturalism" ("Broad Street Review"), Zhou's music has been performed by leading orchestras and performers in the United States and abroad, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony, and many more. His recent work, "Concerto for Orchestra," which was commissioned and recorded by the Cincinnati Symphony and Music Director Louis Langrée, was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

American composer Aaron Copland became known as "the Dean of American Composers" later in life largely for earlier accomplishments, such as "Billy the Kid" and "Appalachian Spring." He was born in New York City to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, and when he evinced an early interest in music, his older sister became his first piano teacher. After studying with the talented and blunt Nadia Boulanger in France, Copland developed an American style of music that was uniquely his and found in his early "western ballets" such as "Billy the Kid" and "Appalachian Spring."

Copland's brilliant score of "Appalachian Spring," is both naïve and sophisticated, and premiered in 1944 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The premiere in the D.C. is considered a milestone in American cultural history and the piece won the Pulitzer Prize for music the following year. In the movements of "Billy the Kid," we hear quotes from traditional western songs including "Great Granddad" and "Goodbye Old Paint."

According to violin aficionados, Max Bruch's compositions are foundational works in the violin repertory. Widely popular now and throughout his life was Violin Concerto No. 1, which captured audiences' fascination as soon as they heard it, and remains a public favorite to this day. "The G-minor concerto again!" exclaimed Bruch, after receiving yet another request to conduct it. "I could not bear to hear it even once more. My friends, play the second concerto or the Scottish Fantasy for once!"

Bruch's Concerto No. 1 was performed throughout Europe and America in Bruch's own lifetime, offering audiences precisely what they wanted in a violin concerto: singing lines, passionate phrasing, extreme dynamics, overarching drama, double- and triple-stops. The concerto is marked by Bruch's characteristic alternation of moods: simmering, soulful melodies build to explosive outbursts of passion. Its opening prelude, in a march rhythm marked allegro moderato, scarcely hints at the energy and drama of the finale, marked allegro energetico. If you've only heard Bruch on recording, watch the soloist dig into the strings: this is music to play while tossing your hair.

Pre-concert lecture
A pre-concert lecture free to all ticketholders will take place at all Masterworks Series performances in Abravanel Hall's First Tier Room 45 minutes prior to each performance.

Chinese Railroad Worker Lobby Display
A traveling display about Chinese railroad workers from the Chinese Cultural Celebration Center will be on exhibit in the lobby of Abravanel Hall. Descendants of the Chinese workers will be available for discussion before the concert and during intermission.

Related Golden Spike Events
During its 2018-19 season, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera joins the long list of Utah organizations commemorating the 150th anniversary of the laying of the Golden Spike which includes many events on the May 10, including the "O.C. Tanner Gift of Music Night," the Gateway Mall's "150th Golden Spike Anniversary Celebration," the "May 10th Celebration Ceremony Broadcast," and many other events found at

Utah Opera Ten-minute Operas
Utah Opera is pleased to premiere four projects selected for its Commissioned Opera project for 10-minute operas on themes related to the Golden Spike. The operas will be premiered May 20 in Brigham City, May 21 in Ogden, and May 22 in Salt Lake City, and then performed in community concerts and random acts of opera over the next few seasons.

The Utah Symphony presents
Copland's "Appalachian Spring" and "Billy the Kid"
May 17, 2019 | 10 AM | Abravanel Hall (Finishing Touches)
May 17, 2019 | 7:30 PM | Abravanel Hall
May 18, 2019 | 5:30 PM | Abravanel Hall

Thierry Fischer, conductor
James Ehnes, violin

Copland "Appalachian Spring"
Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1
Zhou Tian "Transcend"
I. Pulse
II. Promise
Copland Suite from "Billy the Kid"

Concert Sponsors:
Guest Artist Sponsor: Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation
Conductor Sponsor: The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation
Zhou Tian Commission Sponsor: Beatrice and Po Chang
Concert Sponsor: STRUCK
Symphony Season Sponsor: George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation

Tickets, priced from $23 to $84 ($15 for students), are available for purchase through or by calling (801) 355-2787. Tickets increase $5 on the day of the performance.

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