Utah Symphony and Music Director Thierry Fischer Announce 2021-22 Season

 Highlights of the Utah Symphony’s 82nd season include:

Thierry Fischer’s Thirteenth Season as Music Director

Thierry Fischer conducts nine weeks of performances including Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances,” John Adams’ “Slonimsky’s Earbox,” Stravinsky’s “The Fairy’s Kiss” and Haydn’s Symphony No. 11, among others.

“Soundscapes” highlights music inspired by landscapes and nature, including movements from Olivier Messiaen’s southern Utah-inspired “Des canyons aux étoiles,” Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis’ “The Maze” violin concerto and Arlene Sierra’s “Nature Symphony” and “Bird Symphony.”


Internationally Acclaimed Guest Artists

Three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn performs works by Brahms, Ginastera and Sarasate as Artist-in-Association.

Andrei Korobeinikov, Inmo Yang, Benjamin Grosvenor, Daniel Lozakovich and Anthony McGill make their Utah Symphony debuts.

Stephen Hough, Vadim Gluzman, Ingrid Fliter, Joyce Yang, Louis Schwizgebel, Augustin Hadelich, Steven Osborne and Veronika Eberle return as soloists.


Commissions and Premieres

World premiere of Composer-in-Association and Latin Grammy Award-nominee Arlene Sierra’s “Bird Symphony,” commissioned by the Utah Symphony, and the U.S. debuts of her works “Aquilo” and “Nature Symphony.”

U.S. premiere of Brazilian composer Paulo Costa Lima’s “Ojí – Storm and Drive.”

Western U.S. premiere of Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis’ “The Maze” for Violin and Orchestra, commissioned and performed by Concertmaster Madeline Adkins.

Utah Symphony first-time performances of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Fairy’s Kiss,” Nino Rota’s suite from “La strada,” George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 4 “Strands,” John Adams’ “Slonimsky’s Earbox,” Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Escaramuza,” Carlos Chávez’ orchestration of Dietrich Buxtehude’s “Chaconne,” Alberto Ginastera’s Violin Concerto and Carl Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto.


Exceptional Guest Conductors

Eight visiting conductors make their Utah Symphony Masterworks Series debuts: Enrique Mazzola, Rune Bergmann, Shiyeon Sung, Case Scaglione, Robert Trevino, Francesco Lecce-Chong, Tito Muñoz and Eivind Gullberg Jensen. Utah Symphony welcomes back guest conductor David Robertson.


Entertaining, Family-friendly Events

Films in Concert Series returns with the Utah Symphony performing the scores live to picture for “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” “Back to the Future,” “Home Alone” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

Entertainment Series featuring Pink Martini with China Forbes, Jodi Benson, Cirque de la Symphonie and a celebration of the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Family Series features the annual Here Comes Santa Claus! performance, “Carnival of the Animals” with Children’s Dance Theatre and “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Maestro.”

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (March 23, 2021) – Music Director Thierry Fischer and Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Steven Brosvik today announced plans for the Utah Symphony’s 2021-22 season, sponsored by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. The Utah Symphony returns to full-scale performances and continues its mission to “connect the community through great live music” with concerts that draw the community together to experience classical and popular favorites, adventurous new works and premieres, internationally renowned conductors and soloists and family-friendly events.

“We are so pleased to provide a wide range of live music to our faithful audience next season. Let’s step away from our screens and return to enjoy music together again. Live art will help save the world,” said Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer. “I am happy to be performing a wide range of music from Tchaikovsky to Haydn and Rachmaninoff to John Adams and Arlene Sierra, along with relaunching our fantastic Messiaen project that was interrupted by the pandemic. It is also my pleasure to welcome so many guest conductors from across the globe to help continue our work of building the brightest future for Utah and USUO. I am grateful for the musicians, guest artists, staff, board members and community of music lovers who have encouraged us to persevere. It’s going to be a very special season!”

Thierry Fischer, who extended his contract with the Utah Symphony through the 2022-23 season in fall 2020, conducts nine weeks of programs during his thirteenth season as the Utah Symphony’s Music Director. During his penultimate season, he collaborates on two weekends of concerts with Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn, continues to promote contemporary composers with a series of premieres, invites audiences to immerse themselves in the natural world with music inspired by southern Utah’s stunning landscapes and conducts Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances,” John Adams’ “Slonimsky’s Earbox,” Stravinsky’s “The Fairy’s Kiss” and Haydn’s Symphony No. 11, among others.

“Over the past year, music in its many forms has continued to help us navigate through challenging times. Much like everyone else around the globe, we repeatedly embraced the word “pivot.” We learned, grew, took on new challenges and brushed ourselves off to move forward again,” said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Steven Brosvik. “And so, it’s with great excitement that we announce this new Utah Symphony season that will once again fill the concert hall and our lives with music while vibrantly bringing us together. Thanks to our loyal supporters, our avid fans, our musicians, staff, guest artists, board members and government advocates whose unwavering encouragement and support has allowed us to weather this storm. Join us for a new season of celebration, connection and exciting music making. We can’t wait to see you at Abravanel Hall and across the state!”

Hilary Hahn, Artist-in-Association

Three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn returns to Utah for two weeks as Artist-in-Association, opening the Masterworks Series with Brahms’ Violin Concerto and returning again in April to perform Argentine-composer Alberto Ginastera’s fiendishly difficult 1963 Violin Concerto and Pablo de Sarasate’s audience favorite Fantasy on Bizet’s “Carmen.” Hahn’s barrier-breaking attitude towards classical music and commitment to sharing her experiences with a global community have made her a fan favorite. She has performed regularly in Utah, consistently drawing sell-out audiences, since making her Utah Symphony debut at a New Year’s Eve performance in 1992 as a 13-year-old prodigy.

“I am thrilled to be able to be back on stage with our musicians and incredible guest artists, including our Artist-in-Association Hilary Hahn,” said Fischer. “She is a world-class, American icon with whom we have had a long relationship, and we know is an audience favorite. Her performances of Brahms, Ginastera and Sarasate will be exciting, exactly what we need for coming back to live musical events.”

Soundscapes: Music Inspired by Utah and the Natural World

Audiences are invited to immerse themselves in music with connections to Utah and the natural world, including Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis’ violin concerto “The Maze,” inspired by The Maze district of Canyonlands National Park, and Composer-in-Association Arlene Sierra’s works “Aquilo,” “Nature Symphony” and “Bird Symphony.”

Fischer leads two programs with movements from Olivier Messiaen’s “Des canyons aux étoiles,” a 12-movement work inspired by the birds, sweeping celestial vistas and rugged features of southern Utah, including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. The movements “The Wood Thrush” and “Omao, leiothrix, elepaio, shama,” paired with Smetana’s “The Moldau,” are performed on May 20 and 21, 2022. The season closes the following weekend with stardust and red rock imagery in “The Resurrected and the Song of the Star Aldebaran” and “Zion Park and the Celestial City.” The other eight movements of Messiaen’s work were performed during the 2019-20 season.

Internationally Renowned Guest Artists

In addition to Hilary Hahn, fourteen renowned soloists – five of whom making their Utah Symphony debuts – perform on the Masterworks Series, including seven pianists, six violinists and a clarinetist.

Artists making their Utah Symphony debuts are Russian pianist Andrei Korobeinikov performing Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”; Korean violinist Inmo Yang playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto; British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, winner of Gramophone’s 2012 Young Artist Award, performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto; Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich, who in 2016 signed at age 15 with Deutsche Grammophon as its youngest artist, playing virtuosic Violin Concerto by Tchaikovsky; and New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill, one of classical music’s most recognizable and brilliantly multifaceted figures, performing Nielsen’s emotionally complicated Clarinet Concerto, the last major work the Danish composer would write.

Returning guest artists include British piano sensation Stephen Hough performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1; Globe-trotting Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman playing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 on his incredible 1690 “ex-Leopold Auer” Stradivarius; Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2; Korean-born pianist Joyce Yang, praised for her “technical and emotional prowess,” returning to perform Lizst’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Swiss pianist Louis Schwizgebel playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12; Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich, called “an intimate performer whose self-effacing quality allows the music to soar” (Los Angeles Times) returning for his sixth appearance with the orchestra to perform Sibelius’ Violin Concerto; two-time Gramophone Award-winning Scottish pianist Steven Osborne, also 2013 Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year, performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2; and German violinist Veronika Eberle playing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto on final concerts of the season.

Utah Symphony Concertmaster Madeline Adkins is a featured Masterworks soloist performing the Western U.S. premiere of American composer Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis’ “The Maze” for violin and orchestra, which she commissioned.

Premieres and Commissions

Fischer and the Utah Symphony continue to introduce new works and composers to the community with five premieres on the 2021-22 Masterworks Series.

Composer-in-Association Arlene Sierra has been recognized by “The New York Times” for her “vividly scored, colorful works,” three of which are performed by the Utah Symphony this season. Her 2001 mysterious and evocative orchestral showpiece “Aquilo” receives its U.S. premiere under the baton of Shiyeon Sung. Premiered by Susanna Mälkki and the Tokyo Philharmonic, “Aquilo” takes its name from a classical Roman term for the Northeast wind and is a musical interpretation of the wind and its elemental interactions. Sierra’s “Nature Symphony,” a joint commission of the BBC Philharmonic and BBC Radio 3, receives its U.S. premiere in April. “The Guardian” wrote that the work “nods to everything from bees to the dark landscapes of Georgia O’Keeffe” and that “the symphony does what Sierra sets out to do with impressive economy and a succession of striking orchestral ideas.” Also in April, Thierry Fischer conducts the world premiere of Sierra’s Utah Symphony-commissioned “Bird Symphony.” Sierra’s planned community involvement activities in Salt Lake City as Composer-in-Association range from talks and workshops to performances of her music. She engages with residents of all ages, from elementary school students to high school composers to adults who are interested in the arts.

The Utah Symphony also gives the Western U.S. premiere of American composer Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis’ “The Maze” for violin and orchestra, commissioned and performed by Utah Symphony Concertmaster Madeline Adkins. In February, Fischer conducts the U.S. premiere of Brazilian composer Paolo Costa Lima’s “Ojí – Storm and Drive” (“Ojí – Chegança e Ímpeto”), a commission for the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra where Fischer began his tenure as music director in 2020.

Utah Symphony’s 2021-22 season also includes the orchestra’s first performances of Igor Stravinsky’s full ballet music for “The Fairy’s Kiss”; Nino Rota’s suite from “La strada”; George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 4 “Strands”; John Adams’ “Slonimsky’s Earbox,” in honor of John Adams’ 75th birthday; Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Escaramuza”; Carlos Chávez’ orchestrations of Dietrich Buxtehude’s “Chaconne”; Alberto Ginastera’s Violin Concerto, performed by Hilary Hahn; and Carl Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto, performed by Anthony McGill.

Guest Conductors

The Utah Symphony welcomes a distinguished roster of guest conductors on the 2021-22 Masterworks Series, most of whom make their Utah Symphony debuts. Italian conductor and Lyric Opera of Chicago Music Director Enrique Mazzola, instantly recognizable in his signature red glasses, makes his Utah Symphony debut with the warm but tragic final symphony of Brahms; Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann, Music Director of Canada’s Calgary Philharmonic and Artistic Director & Chief Conductor of Poland’s Szczecin Philharmonic, leads the orchestra in Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable”; South Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung, the first woman to win top prize in the Sir Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition in 2006, conducts Tchaikovsky’s profound and often heartbreaking exploration of fate in his Symphony No. 4; American conductor Case Scaglione leads Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7; Mexican-American conductor Robert Trevino, who now holds posts in Sweden and Spain, makes his debut with the orchestra with Stravinsky’s “Pétrouchka”; American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong conducts Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Escaramuza” and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5; American conductor and The Phoenix Symphony Music Director Tito Muñoz conducts Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6; and Norwegian conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen, artistic and general director of the Bergen National Opera, makes his debut with the orchestra leading Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique” and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. American conductor David Robertson, who made his Utah Symphony debut in October 2020, returns to lead the orchestra in a performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.

Film, Entertainment, Family, and Special Event Concerts

The Films in Concert Series makes a highly anticipated return featuring the Utah Symphony performing the scores live to picture for four blockbuster motion pictures on the big screen at Abravanel Hall. “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” in Concert will launch the season, followed by “Back to the Future” in Concert, and the holiday classic, “Home Alone” in Concert. The film series concludes with the sixth installment of the Harry Potter™ Film Concert Series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™” in Concert.

Portland’s favorite little orchestra, Pink Martini, returns to Abravanel Hall with China Forbes to kick off the 2021-22 Entertainment Series; Jodi Benson, who earned worldwide recognition as the original voice of Ariel in the Academy Award-winning Disney film “The Little Mermaid” performs in a Holiday Pops concert in December; Former Principal Pops Conductor Jerry Steichen returns to lead Broadway stars William Michals, Hugh Panaro and Scarlett Strallen with the Utah Opera Chorus in Bravo Broadway: A Rodgers and Hammerstein Celebration; and Cirque de la Symphonie returns with acrobatic feats of athleticism soaring above the orchestra to conclude the series.

The 2021-22 Family Series features “Here Comes Santa Claus!,” “Carnival of the Animals” with Children’s Dance Theatre and “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Maestro. Children of all ages are welcome at these performances.

Special events include the third annual ¡Celebración Sinfónica! honoring Hispanic heritage with guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, the 62nd annual Salute to Youth, Handel’s “Messiah” Sing-in and the return of holiday fiddling and singing sensations Celtic Woman.

Utah Opera

The Utah Symphony continues its four-decade relationship with Utah Opera and performs on the company’s four productions during the 2021-22 season: Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” with conductor Gary Thor Wedow from October 9 through 17; Jonathan Dove and April de Angelis’ “Flight” with conductor Robert Tweten from January 15 through 23; Puccini’s “Tosca” with conductor Steven White from January 15 through 23; and Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” with conductor Gary Thor Wedow from May 7 through 15. Utah Opera’s performances take place at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre in downtown Salt Lake City.

Concerts in Orem, Ogden, and Beyond

As part of its mission to inspire and connect communities throughout Utah with great live music, the Utah Symphony performs for audiences throughout the state. In addition to its extensive in-school education concerts, the orchestra performs regularly in Orem, Ogden, Provo, Logan, St. George and Cedar City.

In the 2021-22 season, the orchestra returns to The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts on the Utah Valley University (UVU) campus in Orem, Utah for a series of five concerts. It will open its season at UVU with Music Director Thierry Fischer conducting Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6 and Hilary Hahn performing Brahms’ Violin Concerto. The series continues with Enrique Mazzola leading Rota’s suite from “La strada” and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. Jodi Benson, original voice of Ariel in the Academy Award-winning Disney film “The Little Mermaid,” performs a Holiday Pops concert in December and Francesco Lecce-Chong conducts Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 with Louis Schwizgebel. The Utah Symphony at the Noorda Series concludes with a family-friendly performance of “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Maestro.”

In addition to the concerts in Orem, the Utah Symphony performs a six-concert series in Ogden in partnership with Onstage Ogden at the Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Weber State University and a concert on the BRAVO! Series at the de Jong Concert Hall at the Harris Fine Arts Center on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo. The orchestra also plans to travel and perform in St. George, Cedar City and Logan as part of its 2021-22 season. Details for these events will be released at a later date.

Tickets and Subscriptions

Subscription renewals and purchases are available online at https://utahsymphony.org/ starting March 23, 2021. Current season subscribers have until April 22, 2021 to renew their subscriptions or request seat changes for the 2021-22 season before seats are released to new subscribers and subscribers requesting seat changes. Subscriptions may also be renewed or purchased by calling (801) 533-6683.

To request a printed 2021-22 Utah Symphony season schedule, please call Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Patron Services at (801) 533-6683, email [email protected], or write to ATTN: USUO Patron Services, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.

Single tickets for 2021-22 Utah Symphony season will be available starting June 15, 2021 through Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Patron Services and ArtTix outlets.