Deseret News – Is it acceptable to wear jeans to a symphony concert? Here’s what the Utah Symphony thinks


SALT LAKE CITY — As many orchestras throughout the country battle a dip in attendance, the Utah Symphony is getting ready to test one potential solution: wear jeans.

To drive that idea home, the symphony musicians will soon be swapping tuxes and dresses for casual wear — but not all the time. The first wardrobe experiment comes Saturday, March 23, when the symphony performs Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring Ukrainian-born pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, and contemporary composer Andrew Norman’s work, “Play.”

“I think the symphony business … industry-wide is wrestling with declining attendance over the long term,” said Jeff Counts, former general manager of the Utah Symphony who will be the host for Saturday’s concert. “We’ve had a pretty good year certainly since the calendar changed to 2019, but we’re always looking for more people, and these days, artistic institutions have to be a little bit more creative about the way they offer up their work.”

The Utah Symphony’s “Unwound” concert on Saturday, March 23, will feature Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, performed by Ukrainian-born pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk.

For the Utah Symphony, that creativity comes most recently in the form of its new concert series “Unwound,” which features more than musicians and concertgoers mingling in jeans — on Saturday, the Utah Symphony will host a Fatty Tuna food truck and pre-concert activities including trivia (hosted by Jimmy Martin and Shannon Barnson of the “Geek Show” podcast) as attempts to liven up its classical music concerts.

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