Utah Arts Review – Strings to the fore with Zukerman leading Utah Symphony

by Rick Mortensen

The efforts of performing arts organizations, which have been forced to find ways to create beauty under the extreme constraints of the pandemic, have been met with awe and profound gratitude – both for the resourcefulness of the performances themselves as well as the pains they have taken to ensure the safety of all involved.

However, as the masked audience members found their socially-distanced seats for Thursday night’s Utah Symphony performance – featuring Pinchas Zukerman as both violinist and conductor – the mood was more akin to war-weary refugees waiting for UN rations. With the pandemic currently surging in Salt Lake City—-and many other places across the country— Abravanel Hall was mostly empty.  Bereft of live-concert energy with so few bodies to absorb the sound, the pre-concert tuning of the roughly 30 string players spread across the large stage sounded unusually stark and dissonant.

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