Thierry Fischer Announces Plans to Conclude Tenure as Utah Symphony Music Director Following 2021–22 Season

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (May 23, 2019) — Thierry Fischer today announced plans to conclude his tenure as Music Director of the Utah Symphony in August 2022. Upon stepping down at the end of the 2021–22 season, he will have led the Utah Symphony as Music Director for thirteen years, during which time he has revitalized the orchestra and raised its national and international profile through creative programming, renewed excellence in performance, and ambitious tours and recording projects. In September 2022, he will assume the title of Music Director Emeritus, in which capacity he will continue his musical relationship with the orchestra through regular return engagements.

Mr. Fischer made his Utah Symphony debut in October 2007, leading the orchestra in Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, and in 2009, after a return invitation, he became the seventh Music Director in the orchestra’s then-70-year history. In this capacity, he has taken the orchestra to new musical heights and at the same time embraced and bolstered the orchestra’s Utahn identity by engaging with the people of Utah and by sharing the beauty of their state with the wider world.

“I am deeply grateful for the rich musical partnership I have enjoyed with the members of this outstanding orchestra, and for the experiences we’ve shared as musical ambassadors to the people of Utah,” said Mr. Fischer. “My journey with the Utah Symphony has been remarkably fulfilling, and I am incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished together, whether in concert at Abravanel Hall, on recording, or on tour across the beautiful state of Utah and to Carnegie Hall. Though this musical journey is far from over, with additional projects planned for seasons to come, I have decided to step down as Music Director upon the conclusion of my current contract in August 2022. I feel that the time will be ripe then for me to explore new musical horizons and for the orchestra to embrace a new vision that continues the extraordinary growth we have already achieved. It will be a great honor to assume the title of Music Director Emeritus at that time and a true pleasure to reunite with the orchestra in that capacity for many years to come.”

“Thierry has been the driving force behind the incredible artistic growth of this orchestra,” said Paul Meecham, President and CEO of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. “Under his leadership the orchestra has risen to be truly exceptional and has become well known among prominent guest artists and conductors for its excellence and professionalism. Thierry has built a legacy here that will continue to benefit us for years to come.”

“We are so proud of what Thierry has done for Utah Symphony,” said Kem Gardner, Chair of the USUO board.  “With his vision and energy, he has brought highly talented musicians into the orchestra, excited our audiences, and built support throughout the state with his outreach. The orchestra under his tenure has been the perfect embodiment of Utahns’ passion for the arts.”

Milestones of Thierry Fischer’s tenure with the Utah Symphony include:

  • Two statewide, outdoor-concert tours to major Utah landmarks and their surrounding communities: the 2014 Mighty 5® Tour to Utah’s five iconic national parks, and the 2017 “Great American Road Trip” Tour to six Utah landmarks, including national parks, state parks, and national monuments.
  • An acclaimed 75th anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall, which included the New York premiere of Andrew Norman’s percussion concerto, Switch, commissioned by the Utah Symphony.
  • A new period of recording activity, including an ongoing, three-volume cycle of Saint-Saëns’s complete symphonies, the first by an American orchestra and part of a new relationship with Hyperion Records; albums dedicated to music by Mahler, Prokofiev, and living American composers, released by Reference Recordings; forthcoming discs on the Hyperion label featuring Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles…, inspired by the Utahn landscape, and works by Berlioz; and the curation and recording of the soundtrack for a documentary on Utah’s five national parks that won five regional Emmy Awards.
  • The championing of music by leading composers of our time, including commissions from American composers Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas, which appear on the orchestra’s 2016 album Dawn to Dust; newly commissioned works by European composers including Tristan Murail, Simon Holt, and Michael Jarrell; and an ongoing partnership with Andrew Norman as Utah Symphony’s Composer-in-Association.
  • Performance cycles of the complete symphonies by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Mahler, Nielsen, and Ives.
  • Collaborations with Utah Opera (The Rake’s Progress, Candide, The Magic Flute), the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8), Ballet West (Jeux), and the Utah Shakespeare Festival (Romeo and Juliet).
  • The appointment of 41 new musicians to the orchestra since 2010, including 15 Principal and titled positions.
  • Deep commitment to and involvement in Utah Symphony’s extensive education programs and the Musicians of the Utah Symphony’s ongoing service project in Haiti.

Mr. Fischer is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he began his tenure in March 2017, and Honorary Guest Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, which he led as Chief Conductor from 2008 to 2011. Additionally, he served as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Ulster Orchestra (2001–06) and Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (2006–12), which he led annually at the BBC Proms and on international tours.