Elijah Is the 40th Anniversary Tanner Gift of Music Concert

Presented by The Tabernacle Choir, Utah Symphony, and Renowned Soloists and Conducted by Thierry Fischer, Music Director of the Utah Symphony

 SALT LAKE CITY – Felix Mendelssohn’s monumental oratorio Elijah will be the 40th anniversary program in the O.C. Tanner Gift of Music series. The work will be performed in two concerts on Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

Thierry Fischer will conduct Utah’s two premiere musical institutions—the Utah Symphony and The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square—joined by renowned soloists Susanna Phillips, soprano; Sasha Cooke, alto; Matthew Polenzani, tenor; and Kyle Ketelsen, bass. The soloists are no strangers to Salt Lake City, having appeared previously with the Choir, the Symphony, or both in previous engagements. A boy soprano from the Cathedral of the Madeleine Choir School will round out the performers. This will be Maestro Fischer’s final Gift of Music performance as he completes his tenure with the Utah Symphony with the close of this concert season.

Composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1846 and substantially revised in 1847—nearly at the same time the pioneers were entering the Salt Lake Valley—Elijah was the last of the celebrated German composer’s works to be premiered in his lifetime. The oratorio about the Old Testament prophet Elijah is based on a German libretto by Julius Schubring and translated by William Bartholomew for its premiere to an English audience at the Birmingham (England) Music Festival in 1846. Writing to his brother, Mendelssohn said of this oratorio, “No work of mine ever went so admirably the first time of execution, or was received with such enthusiasm, by both the musicians and the audience.” Since its premiere, Elijah has enjoyed a level of popularity among English audiences exceeded only by Handel’s Messiah. This is the second time Elijah has been featured in the Tanner Gift of Music series, with the prior performance in 1987 conducted by Jerold Ottley, music director of The Tabernacle Choir.

Speaking of his opportunity leading the combined forces of these organizations, Maestro Fischer said, “I am incredibly honored to conduct The Tabernacle Choir and Utah Symphony one more time before the end of my tenure as music director. Leading these two premiere ensembles in these performances of Elijah.is one of the capstones of my time here in Salt Lake City. I am so grateful to the O.C. Tanner Gift of Music for enabling both the performers and our audiences to experience this monumental work.”

The O.C. Tanner Gift of Music concert series began in 1983 following discussions between Obert C. Tanner and his friend and neighbor, Gordon B. Hinckley, then an Apostle and later President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Obert and his wife, Grace, endowed a trust as a gift to the community that would present these two Utah musical icons—the Utah Symphony and The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square—on an ongoing basis. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always generously hosted the concert on Temple Square and this year’s performances will be the 19th installment in this very successful series.

Tabernacle doors will open at 6:30 p.m. the evening of the concerts. Tickets are required but are free to the public and are limited to those 8 years of age and older. Due to limited seating, patrons may request only two tickets for a given performance. Tickets will be available beginning at 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 20, at TabChoir.org/2023tannergift or by calling 801-570-0080 or toll-free 1-866-537-8457.

Press Contacts:

Utah Symphony: Megs Vincent | (801) 869-9021 | [email protected]

The Tabernacle Choir: Kelly Smoot | (801) 240-9472 | [email protected]

Tanner Gift of Music: Scott Barrick | (801) 718-2949 | [email protected]