2024-25 Season Highlights Virtuosity of Utah Symphony’s Musicians, Building Orchestra’s Connection to the Community

Yo-Yo Ma Joins for One-Night Event; Music Director Emeritus Thierry Fischer Returns for Three Weekends; Creative Partner David Robertson Leads Film Festival Including Celebration of John Williams; Concertmaster Madeline Adkins Performs Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons; Elim Chan and Stephanie Childress Make Masterworks Conducting Debuts; Favorite Guests Markus Poschner and David Danzmayr Return to the Podium

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (March 20, 2024)—The Utah Symphony’s 2024-25 season stands as a testament to the exceptional caliber of its musicians—most of whom have come from across the country, and some from around the globe, to be here as part of one of the top professional orchestras in the nation. These 87 accomplished artists make their homes in Utah, often teach budding young musicians when they are not at their full-time job with the symphony, and elevate the cultural landscape of our state.

Our orchestra is really one of the best in the country, and I hope everyone in our audience realizes that we’re not just performing on stage—we’re your friends and neighbors,” says Concertmaster Madeline Adkins.

This season showcases our musicians’ talents on another level, as they’re challenged by new guest conductors each week, collaborate with each other in continuing to bring their ensemble sound to new artistic heights, and are spotlighted as soloists—in turn, brightening their visibility and deepening their connections with our community,” says Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President & CEO Steve Brosvik. “Life is Elevated in Utah by our majestic National Parks, unparalleled skiing and hiking, arts and culture, entrepreneurial spirit, and professional sports. Amidst the conversations about new professional sports franchises, Utahns can take pride in the fact that their Utah Symphony is also a ‘major league team’ that is part of what makes the state special. Our musicians have each prevailed through grueling auditions against hundreds of other musicians to achieve a spot on this team—and collectively, they form the foundation of music and music education across our state.”

Providing a clear example of the exceptional skill of the orchestra’s musicians, Concertmaster Madeline Adkins will do double-duty as both soloist and leader of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, which will reverberate in Maurice Abravanel Hall for the first time in 10 years. “Performing this without a separate conductor, The Four Seasons becomes almost like a piece of chamber music with all the musicians collaborating. It’s something very special and unique, to have the whole orchestra moving and breathing together in this way,” says Adkins, who is also featured as soloist in the Glazunov Violin Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise (conducted by audience favorite David Danzmayr) in the 2024-25 season. Toward the end of the season, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra gives every musician a chance to shine—spotlighting not just one instrument, but displaying the virtuosity and versatility of each section in the orchestra with its difficult solo parts. The work is extraordinarily challenging and is only performed successfully by the most accomplished ensembles.

“There are so many great moments that highlight the orchestra during this new season,” says Jessica Danz, Principal French Horn, adding that a performance with cellist Yo-Yo Ma “has to be at the top.” Indeed, an undeniable highlight of the season—and confirmation of the symphony’s promise to bring the world’s best artists to Utah—is a one-night-only appearance in December by arguably the most recognizable figure in classical music, Yo-Yo Ma, who is treasured by audiences worldwide for his unparalleled musicianship and dedication to promoting humanitarian efforts through music. This will be the legendary cellist’s first performance in Salt Lake City since the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 Olympics. “He’s one of the biggest superstars in the classical music world, and for him to come here to play with our musicians speaks to the caliber of talent and skill that we have here,” agrees Alex Purdy, Principal Tuba.

Other highly anticipated guest artists include one of the great violinists of our time, Augustin Hadelich, performing the Brahms Violin Concerto (programmed together with Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and led by high-demand conductor Elim Chan making her Utah Symphony debut); and pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performing the same work that brought him worldwide renown at the 2011 BBC Proms—Britten’s Piano Concerto (paired with Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony and led by popular return conductor Markus Poschner).

Affirming its stature as one of America’s major symphony orchestras (and one of only 17 year-round orchestras in the country), the Utah Symphony has been selected to host the 2025 National Conference of the League of American Orchestras. The conference will bring more than 1,000 orchestra leaders from across the U.S, who will experience the excitement and beauty of Salt Lake City—including the artistic excellence of its symphony. Music Director Emeritus Thierry Fischer will return to conduct two performances featured during the conference week, which concludes the 2024-25 season in June. To showcase the orchestra for a national audience, he has developed a program that echoes the richness of Utah’s cultural heritage and diverse population by featuring composers of multifaceted backgrounds, along with South Korean-German violinist Clara-Jumi Kang as soloist in the Korngold Violin Concerto.

Fischer will present back-to-back Mahler weekends earlier in the season, beginning with Mahler’s Fifth Symphony—a program that also features Haydn’s Symphony No. 13, continuing the orchestra’s exploration of the symphonies of Haydn over many years. The following weekend, Fischer conducts Mahler’s “Tragic” symphony, a deeply introspective journey into the composer’s inner thoughts and premonitions—aspects Fischer and the orchestra will expertly coax from the score.

While the symphony continues the search for its next music director, David Robertson continues his three-year term as USUO’s inaugural Creative Partner—and in the 2024-25 season, he has crafted four diverse concert experiences to excite existing audiences and attract newcomers. Robertson’s first program builds on his dynamic artistic chemistry with the orchestra by inviting another artist with whom he has a special connection: his wife and world-renowned pianist Orli Shaham, who will share the timeless elegance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17. At the beginning of 2025, in the first of a two-year exploration of film scores, Robertson envisions a festival celebrating the power of orchestral music in movies—including a special one-night screening of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (Hollywood’s final silent movie) with the symphony performing the score live, followed by weekend Masterworks concerts dedicated to five decades of masterful film music by John Williams. In the current season, Robertson has expanded the expectations of Masterworks programming by offering orchestral arrangements of music by The Beatles and Frank Zappa—and this curation of iconic music from John Williams’ scores on a Masterworks program furthers the effort next season.

“Creative Partner David Robertson is such an asset to our community—and we love working with him,” says Danz. “He’s so capable of breaking down barriers between music and the audience.”

For his final week, Robertson pushes the boundaries of sound and sensation. In an inspired pairing, the hypnotic minimalism of Steve Reich’s The Desert Music (a debut performance for the Utah Symphony), featuring the haunting vocals of London-based vocal group Synergy Vocals (an ensemble known particularly for their performances of Reich’s music), is followed by the explosive energy of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Primal rhythms will collide to depict the raw power of nature in all its untamed glory—emphasizing the stark difference between creation and destruction in a way only Robertson can evoke.

“Working with David Robertson as our Creative Partner has been an incredible journey,” Adkins states. “His mind is amazing in the way he understands the structure of very complicated works and is able to help us, as musicians, build sounds that are very easy to understand as a listener.”

The symphony strives to speak to all Utah communities through its programming, representing the breadth of our world. Nearly three-quarters of the 2024-25 Masterworks programs feature women or people of color, as guest artists, conductors, or composers—including two works by Jessie Montgomery, who will also be composer-in-residence at Westminster College; two works by Florence Price performed by violinist Randall Goosby and bringing the Masterworks debut of Stephanie Childress, a conductor known for her clear and focused musical intention; Please let there be a paradise… by Angel Lam, presented by the Utah Symphony as part of a 30-orchestra consortium performing works by women composers commissioned by the League of American Orchestras; and works by Gabriela Ortiz to open and close the season; among numerous others.

For many years, the Utah Symphony has begun its season and celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with Celebración Sinfónica. The 2024-25 season continues that tradition, this time placing the popular concert on the Masterworks Series—encouraging the featured works by renowned Latin American composers to be more widely experienced by subscription audiences. The concert will see the highly anticipated return of vivacious conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez and Costa Rican trumpet soloist José Sibaja.

Throughout the season, the symphony continues its legacy of innovation with programs curated in unique ways and presented in imaginative formats. Audience-favorite conductor Markus Poschner leads the orchestra in two programs, including a journey into self-reflection featuring Berlioz’ semi-autobiographical Symphonie fantastique and a violin concerto, For A Younger Self, by film composer Kris Bowers (an Emmy Award winner and recent Academy Award winner), which explores the anxieties and excitement of youth—and the gradual development of self-assurance. Conductor Fabien Gabel, praised for his sensitive approach on the podium, returns to the Utah Symphony with an evocative sea-themed program, including Tchaikovsky’s The Tempest (a musical odyssey based on the Shakespeare play, weaving tales as enchanting as a siren song), Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, and Korngold’s suite from the 1940 film The Sea Hawk. On the same program, 2018 Gold Medal winner of Salt Lake City’s Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition Changyong Shin presents Shostakovich’s delightful Piano Concerto No. 2.

Three Masterworks weekends feature the Utah Symphony Chorus, including Mozart’s Requiem on an all-Mozart exploration; and Poulenc’s Gloria (with rising-star soprano Lindsay Reynolds and veteran maestro Hans Graf) and choral works by Fauré on a program that concludes with Mussorgsky’s poignant Pictures at an Exhibition, inspired by the loss of his dear friend. The women of the Utah Symphony Chorus enjoy a mystic moment in the haunting Neptune from Holst’s The Planets—with the entire work presented in a multimedia format that includes NASA footage from the latest space voyages projected on a giant HD screen above the orchestra, bringing a visual element to the symphonic experience.

Building on the success the new Masterworks Magnified concerts, which debuted in the current season, the symphony will continue to present three Masterworks programs through a new lens, as immersive events—bringing in visual projections during the performances, a host to introduce the music and moderate chats with musicians, themed activities and learning opportunities in the lobby, and more. Masterworks Magnified details will be announced at a later date.

The symphony pushes boundaries of traditional classical repertoire and implements new ways to engage audiences in Masterworks programs—and the Pops Series, Films in Concert Series, Family Series, and Special Events are also expected to draw new audiences, while confirming the remarkable versatility of the orchestra’s musicians. World-class aerial artists, contortionists, and ballet dancers will join the symphony on stage, performing stunning acrobatics set to film music in the Pops Series headliner, Cirque Cinema, featuring the Los Angeles-based circus arts performers of Troupe Vertigo. Fans of musical theatre will have the chance to return to showtune favorites with Bravo Broadway; and REVOLUTION: The Music of The Beatles will bring back Beatlemania, sharing some of the band’s biggest hits with the full power of the orchestra, together with never-before-seen photos projected in sync with the songs. Five popular movies will be shown on the big screen as the orchestra plays every note live—including Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the 1991 animated Disney classic Beauty and the Beast, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, led by Creative Partner David Robertson.

“The Films in Concert allow us to be part of the action” says Adkins. “It’s music you know and love—and it’s a relaxed and easy way to be introduced to the orchestra and our musicians.”

The Utah Symphony has a long history of bringing our community together through musical traditions at the holidays and will start the seasonal celebrations with the annual Messiah Sing-In presented together with Utah Opera, inviting the audience to sing along in the choruses of Handel’s beloved oratorio; the return of a new tradition, the Holiday Pops Extravaganza!, highlighting festive tunes in a dazzling spectacle; and the Family Series mainstay Here Comes Santa Claus!, which will delight audiences of all ages with favorite carols, a magical story played out by actors, and an appearance by the jolly man himself!

Following Here Comes Santa Claus!, the Family Series—which introduces kids ages three to ten to the symphony and its musicians—continues with Gold Rush: An American Musical Adventure. Children will delight in the race across America with Rico “the Roughrider” to stake a claim for gold in the Wild West, punctuated with American music by Copland, Sousa, and more. Written by best-selling author Dan Brown, Wild Symphony will enchant children as they embark on a journey of discovery and friendship with an interactive picture book and live concert experience detailing the adventures of Maestro Mouse and his companions from the animal kingdom. Just before Halloween, the symphony brings back a program that was a family favorite for many years—a frightfully fun evening filled with spooky surprises and hair-raising harmonies, aptly titled Halloween Spooktacular.

“You can always hear the kids clapping and cheering throughout our family performances,” says Danz. “It’s special to be able to feel that kind of excitement from a child’s perspective.”

Beyond the family-friendly programs presented on the main stages of the symphony and opera (including Hansel and Gretel at Utah Opera in the 2024-25 season), USUO engages more than 130,000 students throughout the state annually with a wide range of educational performances and interactive opportunities. Each year, the symphony reaches more than 62,000 K-12 students and teachers through in-school performances and a 40-year tradition of welcoming nearly every fifth grader in the Salt Lake Valley to Abravanel Hall; online materials are provided to teachers and students to spark curiosity and learning ahead of the concert experience. Open rehearsals and tours of Abravanel Hall offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into life in the arts, while side-by-side concerts invite student musicians to perform orchestral repertoire together with Utah Symphony mentors. Students of all ages develop their skills with Performance Classes taught by orchestra musicians and guest artists, and the 64-year Salute to Youth tradition offers young musicians the opportunity to become soloists with the symphony in a once-in-a-lifetime evening.

With a commitment to making classical music accessible to the entire community, Access to Music—a long-held tradition—is designed for those with sensory sensitivities and other disabilities. The one-hour performance is welcoming and inclusive of individuals of all ages and abilities, provides special accommodations and services for audience members, and has a relaxed attitude toward movement and noise in the concert hall, encouraging those with differing needs to fully enjoy and express themselves.

Altogether, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera reaches students in every school district in the state on a three-year rotation—leading one of the most extensive performing arts education programs in the U.S.

Other important initiatives that expand access to classical music and increase the symphony’s presence include summer orchestra performances in communities along the Wasatch Front, many with free or low-cost tickets. Finishing Touches Open Rehearsals offer behind-the-scenes opportunities to witness the process of refining a performance (and light breakfast fare!) for less than $15.

The Utah Symphony will additionally present three Masterworks programs on its series at The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University, the orchestra’s home in Utah County (dates are noted in the listings below).Other select programs are performed at the Brigham Young University School of Music Concert Hall in Provo; Utah State’s Daines Concert Hall in Logan (noted in the listings below); and at the Austad Auditorium at the Val A. Browning Center in Ogden (to be announced this spring). Each summer, the orchestra and popular guest artists perform against the magnificent backdrop of the Wasatch mountains at the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley® Music Festival in Park City. Programming for the summer 2024 festival will be announced this spring.

In total, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera performs for more than 400,000 Utahns annually, with additional programs announced throughout the year.

USUO’s flexible Design-a-Series packages go on sale to new subscribers May 30 and tickets to individual performances go on sale August 1.

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