Salt Lake Magazine – The Utah Symphony REIMAGINED.
by Jen Hill
One year ago, I was invited to sit on stage and in very close proximity to the entire Utah Symphony orchestra during a rehearsal: On Stage with the Utah Symphony. What a difference a year can make. The 2020 season came with COVID, and our beloved Utah Symphony was forced into exile. What was to be their 80th Anniversary Gala on May 16, 2020, at Abravanel Hall was canceled. The concert was to include two original selections from the Utah Symphony’s inaugural 1940 concert: Johann Strauss, Jr.’s majestic “Emperor Waltzes” and “Moldau” from Smetana’s Má Vlast, as well as Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, to be performed by Joshua Bell, one of the most celebrated violinists of this generation.
With six months of silence, the road back to Abravanel has been a slow and thoughtful one. Much had to happen to ensure everyone’s safety, confidence and ultimately bring back to us the reason we attend a Utah Symphony performance in the first place: To enjoy it. Hired in the midst of the pandemic their newly appointed president and CEO Steven Brosvik says, “In our preparation and evaluation to reopen, we took in the recommendations of several experts including epidemiologists and a chemical engineering team from the U, analyzing airflow and optimum safe distancing.” The plans also have included the scaling back of the size of the orchestra to 40 members (strings-only) until a larger stage expansion can take place and limiting the audience to 400 max. “The ticket office has been extremely busy in accommodating to subscribers, Brosvik says, “All people involved have been incredibly patient and understanding.”