Supported by Signature Sponsor the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, this “Great American Road Trip” tour comprises three full orchestra concerts and two chamber performances at state parks and national monuments. Maestro Fischer conducts symphonic works that complement the natural beauty of Utah, as well as music by Native American composer Brent Michael Davids, who performs in his own work as a wood flute soloist. The tour’s educational outreach includes in-school assemblies and pre-concert interactive presentations revolving around the role of wind in music making and the region’s natural sciences, while post-concert “star parties,” hosted by local astronomy groups and park rangers, allow visitors to experience and learn about Utah’s night sky. Utah Symphony’s “Great American Road Trip” tour builds on the successes of the orchestra’s 2014 Mighty 5® Tour and its collaboration with KUED on the 2015 Emmy Award-winning documentary National Park Symphony.
The tour is presented in collaboration with Utah’s National and State parks and is also part of the Utah Office of Tourism’s Road to Mighty campaign, which encourages visitors to explore not only the Parks, but other scenic locations around the state. Educational programming is provided in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Utah, and the post-concert “star parties” are held in collaboration with the University of Utah’s Consortium for Dark Sky Studies and the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative. In addition to funding from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, support for the tour is provided by: FJ Management Inc., Presenting Sponsor; State of Utah, Lead Sponsor; Zions Bank, Community Sponsor; and is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
“What better way to connect great live music with the unparalleled natural beauty and heritage of our state than for the Utah Symphony to perform outdoors in the heart of our dramatic landscape!” said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Paul Meecham. “Through generous partnerships with the Utah Office of Tourism, the Utah State Legislature, the Natural History Museum of Utah, and the private sector, we are able to present unique free concerts to rural communities and visitors to Utah, and so promote a greater understanding and appreciation of Utah’s natural and cultural history. Touring is a core part of the Symphony’s commitment to our state, and it’s something I’m very proud to be a part of.”
The orchestral program, conducted by Maestro Fischer, includes Debussy’s “Clair de lune,” Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, the first movement of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 (Allegro con brio), and two works by Brent Michael Davids. Mr. Davids performs the second movement from his concerto “Fluting Around” on a traditional wooden flute, and his vocal work “Spirit Woman Song” is sung by Utah Opera Resident Artist soprano Abigail Rethwisch. Andrew Paulson, a baritone who is an Emerging Artist with Virginia Opera, also performs. Chamber concerts feature a quintet of Utah Symphony brass musicians led by Principal Trumpet Travis Peterson. Performances take place at Springdale – OC Tanner Amphitheater near Zion National Park (146,597 acres), Cedar Breaks National Monument (6,155 acres), Bluff – near Natural Bridges National Monument (7,636 acres) and Hovenweep National Monuments (784 acres), Goblin Valley State Park (3,654 acres), and Vernal – Split Mountain in Dinosaur National Monument (210,844 acres).
“We are honored to once again travel across our magnificent landscape and bring great live music to communities throughout the state,” said Maestro Fischer. “This time, we will focus not only on the natural beauty of Utah but also the cultural beauty, and the human beauty, we find around us. We are so proud to include a Native American performer and composer on the tour and hope our concerts will strengthen the connection between all of the wonderful people who call this special place home.”
“Concert locations were selected due to their proximity to State Parks, National Monuments, and other cultural and historical icons in an effort to fulfill our desire to connect with communities, including our Native American communities, throughout Utah,” explained Mr. Meecham. “We wish to align with and enhance the Utah State Office of Tourism’s goals, the mission of the Natural History Museum of Utah, and also to serve more rural and isolated parts of Utah that do not have easy or frequent access to live, professional classical music.”
"The Great American Road Trip will strengthen Utah's tourism economy by connecting two of the state's greatest assets: spectacular scenery and our cultural heritage," said Vicki Varela, Managing Director for the Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding. "Visitors are hungry for more than spectacular landscapes, they want to excite all their senses. It's no secret that we are home of some of the world's most stunning geography, and now we have the inspiring sounds to complement the views."
Conducted in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Utah, educational outreach for the “Great American Road Trip” complements the parks’ own nature-centric programming and engages local communities and schools through assembly-style presentations that explore the role wind can play in music making. In these presentations, the natural sciences, inclusion of local Native American heritage, and the musical arts combine to create a new lens through which to view the parks and National Monuments, allowing fresh insights and experiences.
"Natural history is something we all can explore, discover, and share," said Sarah George, Executive Director of the Natural History Museum of Utah. “We are delighted to be a part of this unique state-wide partnership to encourage Utah residents to enjoy their natural surroundings in such a spectacular way. We are very excited to add the natural sciences to the team’s outreach efforts and provide engaging, cool, science-based activities for all ages to highlight the truly fascinating natural history that surrounds us in our state.”
Attendees also have access to post-concert “star parties” that will demonstrate the importance of limiting light pollution and introduce them to the magnificent night skies of rural Utah. These educational star-gazing events are presented in partnership with the University of Utah’s Consortium for Dark Sky Studies and the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative. At each party, the National Parks Service and Utah State Parks will help people explore the night sky through lectures provided by parks rangers and local astronomers, as well as viewing opportunities on high-powered telescopes.
“The Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative and the University of Utah’s Consortium for Dark Sky Studies are honored to partner with the Utah Symphony to merge the splendor of symphonic and chamber music with the wonder of the stars,” said Bettymaya Foott, coordinator at Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative. “The star party venues are near or in accredited or aspiring International Dark Sky Parks. Indeed, Utah will soon be home to 25 International Dark Sky Parks, the greatest number of any state, province or non-U.S. country in the world. Please join us for a spectacular evening under the best quality night skies in the developed world: those over the majestic public lands of Utah.”
Tickets for all performances are free. Evening outdoor concerts with the full orchestra conducted by Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer will headline the tour. Attendance at each concert will be ticketed and free-of-charge. Tickets will be available through the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera ticket office starting at 10:00 am on May 31st by calling (801) 533-6683. Based on availability, walk-up tickets on the night of each concert may be offered. Visit utahsymphony.org/tours/GART for more information on obtaining tickets for performances.
BRENT MICHAEL DAVIDS, composer/flutist
Brent Michael Davids is a professional Concert and Film Composer, an American Indian citizen of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation, and founder of music company Blue Butterfly Group (BBG). He has received awards from ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Park City Film Music Festival, and National Symphony Orchestra. His work “Powwow Symphony (for Powwow M.C. and Orchestra)” was premiered to rave reviews in 1999, with repeat performances in 2002, and 2011. A majority of Mr. Davids’ work employs traditional Native American instruments and often those of his own design. He is an inventor, composer, and educator. His composition, “Spirit Woman Song,” will be performed by soprano Abigail Rethwisch during the Utah Symphony’s “Great American Road Trip” tour.
ANDREW PAULSON, baritone
Andrew Paulson is currently an Emerging Artist singing with Virginia Opera. Along with many other roles, he has been featured as the title role in “II barbiere di Siviglia,” Prince Ottokar in “Der Freischütz,” and the mandarin in “Turandot.” Recognized as a winner in the Pittsburgh District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Mr. Paulson was featured as Paul Jobs in the world premiere workshop of Mason Bates’ “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs”, and has sung on the concert stage with the Jacksonville Symphony.
ABIGAIL RETHWISCH, soprano
Abigail Rethwisch is from Iowa City, Iowa, and is a full time Resident Artist at Utah Opera, where she sang the lead role of Lucia in the March 2017 production of “Lucia di Lammermoor.” During Utah Opera’s 40th Anniversary Season, she will be featured as Adele in the May 2018 production of “Die Fledermaus.” She has also gained recognition in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, having been chosen as a regional finalist three times, most recently in the Great Lakes Region, where she won Second Place. Ms. Rethwisch’s young artist training includes three summers as an apprentice with Des Moines Metro Opera, a Fellowship at the CoOPERAtive Program, and performing as a Resident Artist with Tri-Cities Opera. Prior to joining the Utah Symphony’s “Great American Road Trip” tour, she will join The Santa Fe Opera as an Apprentice artist for their 2017 season.
UTAH SYMPHONY’S “GREAT AMERICAN ROAD TRIP” TOUR
Full orchestra performances:
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 | 8 p.m. | Springdale, UT – O.C. Tanner Amphitheater near Zion National Park
Thursday, August 31, 2017 | 8 p.m. | Bluff, UT – near Natural Bridges National Monument and Hovenweep National Monument
Saturday, September 2, 2017 | 8 p.m. | Vernal, UT – Split Mountain in Dinosaur National Monument
Thierry Fischer, conductor
Abigail Rethwisch, soprano
Andrew Paulson, baritone
Brent Michael Davids, wood flute
Bernstein Overture to Candide
Copland “The Promise of Living” from “The Tender Land”
Brent Michael Davids “Spirit Woman Song”
Brent Michael Davids “Fluting Around, II”. Wooden Flute
Dvořák Symphony No. 8, I. Allegro con brio
Mussorgsky (arr. Rimsky-Korsakov) “Night on Bald Mountain”
Debussy (arr. Caplet) “Clair de lune” from “Suite Bergamasque”
Dvořák “Song to the Moon” from “Rusalka”
Mozart “Là chi darem la mano” from “Don Giovanni”
Rodgers & Hammerstein “People Will Say We’re in Love” from “Oklahoma”
Offenbach “Fly Duet” from “Orpheus in the Underworld”
Rossini Overture to “William Tell”
Chamber music performances:
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 | 6:30 p.m. | Cedar Breaks National Monument
Friday, September 1, 2017 | 2 p.m. | Goblin Valley State Park
Signature Sponsor: George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation
Presenting Sponsor: FJ Management Inc.
Lead Sponsor: State of Utah
Community Sponsor: Zions Bank
Education Sponsors: Charles & Annaley Redd Foundation
Education Outreach Partner: Natural History Museum of Utah
Partnering Organizations: Utah Office of Tourism
Consortium for Dark Sky Studies at University of Utah
Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative
National Parks Conservation Association
Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts
About the Utah Symphony
Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony performs more than 175 concerts each season and offers all Utahns easy access to world-class live musical performances of the world’s greatest music in the state’s top venues. Since being named the orchestra’s seventh music director in 2009, Thierry Fischer has attracted leading musicians and top soloists, refreshed programming, drawn increased audiences, and galvanized community support. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including the Mighty 5® Tour of Utah’s National Parks, the Utah Symphony has embarked on seven international tours and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra’s 75th anniversary celebrations. The Utah Symphony has released more than 100 recordings, including, most recently, two albums for Reference Recordings: Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Dawn to Dust, which features three Utah Symphony-commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas. With its many subscription, education, and outreach concerts and tours, the Utah Symphony is one of the most engaged orchestras in the nation. For more information visitwww.utahsymphony.org.
Season Sponsor for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.