Starting the evening off is Smetana’s Overture to “The Bartered Bride,” which reflects the composer’s excitement for the opera and has an amazing string build up to the main theme. The themes that are present in the piece contribute a great deal to the character of Czech Romantic music. Though not his most famous work, it is one that meant a great deal to Smetana.
One of the highlights of the night is Dvořák’s “Violin Concerto” which will be performed by 16-year-old guest violinist Karen Lela Ferry. The concerto is considered one of the masterpieces of the composer’s so-called Slavic period and includes compelling folkloric melodies. The piece is one of Dvorak’s most frequently performed works and is today an essential part of the international violin repertoire.
Following Dvořák is Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E major. Though he composed many symphonies, this was his most widely circulated composition. With its singular directness, it impacts the audience in a way that can only be felt in person and is why it remains among the most loved of his symphonies.
Fourth is Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances, No. 5” from a set of 21 lively dance tunes that are based mostly on Hungarian themes and are among Brahms’ most popular. The Hungarian Dance No. 5 is the most famous of his Hungarian Dances and is based on a violin tune that has become universally familiar with appearances in popular films like “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
Ending the night is Sibelius’ “Finlandia” a tone poem which was originally composed for the Press Celebrations of 1899, a covert Finnish protest of increasing censorship from the Russian Empire. It was the last of seven pieces depicting episodes from Finnish history. Considered Jean Sibelius’ most famous composition, it is a work of deep beauty and a heartfelt expression of national identity.
The concert is an annual Utah Symphony tradition providing an outstanding opportunity for Utah’s best and brightest young musicians. The soloist is selected at the preceding fall’s Salute to Youth auditions. The selection of youth orchestra students is a collaborative process with youth orchestra directors. Leading up to the concert, students participate in rehearsals with Associate Conductor Rei Hotoda and a sectional led by a Utah Symphony musician providing a new level of insight into analysis of the interpretive differences in style called for in music by the different composers on the program.
Rei Hotoda is rapidly becoming one of America’s most sought after and dynamic artists after assuming the titled position of Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony in 2015. She has appeared as a guest conductor with many of today’s leading ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Colorado, and St. Louis, among others. Her repertoire spans the masterful staples of the classical canon to works by the leading composers of today and she is equally at home leading the orchestra from the piano as well as from the podium.
Karen Lela Ferry at just 16 is on the fast track to greatness. Beginning violin at age 3, making her orchestral debut with the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra at age 7, and having already soloed with the Utah Symphony 3 times she is no stranger to Abravanel Hall’s stage. Ms. Ferry is a full-scholarship student of the Gifted Music School and has collaborated with world renowned artists like Roberto Diaz, Jenny Oaks Baker, Leon Fleisher, and many others. She has performed on NPR’s “From the Top,” recorded with Alex Boye, and been a three-time winner of the Utah Symphony Youth Guild competition.
The Utah Symphony presents
May 23 | 7 PM
Abravanel Hall, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
Rei Hotoda, Conductor
Karen Ferry, violin
Musicians selected from area youth orchestras
Utah Symphony Orchestra
Smetana Overture to “The Bartered Bride”
Dvořák Concerto in A minor
Bruckner Symphony No. 7 in E Major
Brahms Hungarian Dances No. 5
Symphony Season Sponsor: George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation
Tickets, priced at $12, are available for purchase through utahsymphony.org or by calling (801) 533-6683. Tickets increase $2 on the day of the performance.
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 visit www.utahsymphony.org.
Season Sponsor for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.