Utah Symphony Forges Presents Two World Premieres Performed From Home

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The Utah Symphony is making waves in the music industry with being among the first orchestras around the globe to create a fresh way to continue to release new music through modern technology and recently held two world premieres of new compositions through the Utah Symphony's YouTube channel and Facebook page.

"We've found a new method that meets the audience's expectations of progressing with the times and keeping up with modern technology that a symphony is not typically known for delving into," said Thierry Fischer, Utah Symphony's Music Director. "It's exciting and absolutely crucial to be able to continue to deliver completely new compositions created specifically for the symphony to not only our patrons, but an even larger group reached on our YouTube channel."

One of the new compositions is entitled, "Fanfare of Hope and Solidarity" by American composer Augusta Read Thomas. Only two weeks after being invited to write a new, four-minute fanfare to be performed by the Utah Symphony, Thomas delivered a full orchestral score and set of orchestra parts having been given the stipulation that each musician would be performing alone from their homes. The composition, which features brass, is majestic, optimistic, blazing, and passionate, with an expressive and lyrical middle passage that unfolds a range of emotions. The music ends as if reaching skyward with affirming bells' resonance hanging in the air like sunlight ripples.

The second world premiere is entitled "Longing from Afar" by composer Dai Fujikura and was written to be tele-performed performed by the symphony with 22 musicians via Zoom. The open score is unique in that it is performed with a conductor that happened to be in Europe while the musicians remained in their homes in America. Because of lag time and other variables of online platforms like Zoom, Fujikura embraced the challenge and created a piece that accepts physical separation while the musicians are wanting to play together and was intended to sound almost more like a digital echo chamber than a perfectly synchronized orchestra.

"Both pieces are of extreme importance and offer things entirely different to the music world," continues Maestro Fischer. "Fujikura's piece was designed specifically for musicians during the pandemic who are intentionally caught in the act of trying to be together and are reacting to each other in a spontaneous and beautiful way, even being thousands of miles apart. The composer was in London, the musicians in Salt Lake and I was in Geneva. We had to properly rehearse. Two days later, we recorded the piece. It was a completely new experience and feeling to actually work LIVE with your colleagues, not being on the same part of the planet. The result is extraordinarily moving. Thomas's piece transcends times with wanting to provide hope and unity, but also has taken on even more meaning in light of many recent world events."

"Symphonic music continues to expand and include composers of varying backgrounds who bring fresh, more modern sounds," said Jon Miles, VP of marketing and public relations, Utah Symphony Utah Opera. "Composers like Fujikura and Thomas are carving out a new place for symphonic music in our current world and infusing it with innovative sounds. We couldn't be more pleased with the appreciative responses from our audience. We look forward to providing more new, cutting-edge compositions and seeing how symphonic music adapts in the future."

To watch both world premieres, visit the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera YouTube channel.


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