Utah Symphony Celebrates Extraordinary Tenure of Music Director Thierry Fischer in Monumental 2022-23 Season
Star-Studded Season Includes Returns by Stephen Hough, Bernadette Peters, and Emmanuel Pahud with a U.S. Premiere; Appearances by Dynamic Guest Conductors Including David Robertson and Kevin John Edusei; Collaborations with The Tabernacle Choir; and Ambitious Programs Affirming Artistic Excellence
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (March 24, 2022) – The Utah Symphony’s 2022-23 season will be a monumental celebration of the extraordinary tenure of Thierry Fischer—whose 14th season will be his final as Music Director—with grand-scale repertoire that affirms the artistic heights the orchestra has reached under his leadership.
The season culminates Fischer’s defining accomplishments during his many years with the symphony. Since 2009, he has embraced the organization’s mission of connecting the community through great live music, and his unique chemistry with the orchestra’s musicians has continued to push the ensemble’s artistry ever higher. Fischer has been instrumental in building partnerships that create unique live music experiences—both in and outside of the concert hall—and has carried on the Utah Symphony’s legacy of sharing its music-making far and wide with recording projects and performances throughout the state of Utah and beyond. He has consistently crafted forward-thinking programs that give voice to new art and bring vibrancy to repertoire staples, and this will be on full display in 2022-23.
“In my final season as Music Director of this splendid orchestra, it will be my privilege to push the limits of our artistry and hear the insights that the extraordinary musicians of the Utah Symphony will bring to the grand-scale repertoire we’ve programmed,” says Fischer. “In crafting this season’s programs and inviting our impressive guest artists, my hope is to give a gift back to our audiences who have given so much to us over these years. I want to explore musical moments to celebrate the orchestra’s creativity and it is my belief that this season will allow our community to feel the unparalleled power of live music like never before.”
“The many exceptional soloists taking the stage and the monumental works programmed in the 2022-23 season speak to the artistic caliber to which Thierry has elevated the Utah Symphony during his tenure,” says President & CEO Steve Brosvik. “This season celebrates Thierry and the legacy of his work and musicianship, but true to form, his focus is on a celebration of masterful repertoire and the musicians who bring it to life. For Thierry, it continues to be about the music and the impact it has on everyone who listens in our community.”
After a season-opening party, Toast to Thierry, Fischer starts the season boldly with Strauss’ heroically virtuosic Ein Heldenleben (“A Hero’s Life”) on a program with the Berlin Philharmonic’s Principal Horn Stefan Dohr as soloist in Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3. Fischer will lead lush symphonic favorites such as Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Andrei Korobeinikov) and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 and Finlandia (on a program that also includes new works by Danish and Estonian composers), and will showcase the orchestra’s excellence with Bruckner’s larger-than-life Symphony No. 5. He builds the season to a dramatic close with grand-scale statement pieces by composers who have been trademarks of his tenure and seem to capture the entirety of the human experience: Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony and Mahler’s massive Symphony No. 3 with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and Choristers of the Madeleine Choir School. With Fischer and the Utah Symphony having honed their musical partnership for well over a decade, this is the perfect moment to undertake these exceptionally ambitious programs.
Fischer is thrilled for returns by guest soloists who have become close collaborators during his tenure, including one of the season’s brightest stars, Stephen Hough (whom Fischer hails as “the perfect soloist”), with Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; and two appearances by one of today’s most adventurous musicians, Berlin Philharmonic Principal Flute Emmanuel Pahud, with Nielsen’s Flute Concerto, Mozart’s Magic Flute Fantasy, and a U.S. premiere by Erkki-Sven Tüür, an Estonian rock star.
Emmanuel Pahud will also serve as the Utah Symphony’s 2022-23 Artist-in-Association, echoing the symphony’s commitment to music education with numerous community engagement activities during his two visits to Utah. The symphony’s Artists-in-Association partner with organizations such as the El Sistema@Salty Cricket after-school music program, Utah Youth Symphony, and school districts across the state, creating unique opportunities and experiences for students.
In addition to welcoming stunning soloists, the Utah Symphony will showcase the virtuosity of its own musicians, including Concertmaster Madeline Adkins performing Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, and Principal Clarinet Tad Calcara and Principal Bassoon Lori Wike sharing Strauss’ rarely-performed Duet Concertino. Another rare treat, Schumann’s Konzertstück, will feature symphony horn players Jessica Danz (Principal), Edmund Rollett (Associate Principal), and Stephen Proser— together with Berlin Philharmonic Principal Horn Stefan Dohr—on the season-opening program.
Supporting the creation of new masterworks, the Utah Symphony regularly programs music by some of the most acclaimed composers of our time, striving to represent the diversity of our world. More than half of the new works programmed on the 2022-23 Masterworks Series are by women (Augusta Read Thomas, Helen Grime, Unsuk Chin, Kaija Saariaho, and Ana Sokolović). Four Masterworks Series pieces are by composers of color, including two works by Unsuk Chin, Joshua Cerdenia’s Feuertrunken (Fire-Drunk)—which is paired with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite—and Florence Price’s Neo-Romantic 1932 Piano Concerto in One Movement, rediscovered in recent years and championed by Michelle Cann, who will perform it with Anja Bihlmaier conducting.
Renowned guest conductors throughout the Masterworks Series will balance new or lesser-known works with beloved masterpieces—including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (Markus Poschner), Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 (David Danzmayr), Elgar’s Enigma Variations (Douglas Boyd), Orff’s Carmina Burana (Fawzi Haimor), and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (Jiří Rožeň with the thrilling young violinist Randall Goosby, just named a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant). The Utah Symphony will bring back David Robertson, who enjoys a special artistic rapport with the orchestra’s musicians, to conduct Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and John Adams. One of the world’s fastest-rising conductors, Kevin John Edusei, Chief Conductor of the Munich Symphony Orchestra, leads a program of Ravel, Rachmaninoff, and Strauss.
In addition to the ever-popular repertoire presented on the Masterworks Series, the Entertainment Series, Films in Concert Series, and Special Events are also expected to draw new audiences to the Symphony. Three-time Tony Award-winning chanteuse Bernadette Peters will dazzle with familiar songs from musicals past and present; America’s Got Talent sensation Storm Large introduces her new love-themed show on Valentine’s weekend; two-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist Sylvia McNair and Kevin Cole, praised as “the best Gershwin pianist since Gershwin himself,” will share an evening of Gershwin hits to celebrate nearly 100 years of Rhapsody in Blue; and the symphony continues its annual celebration of Hispanic culture with food, arts and crafts, and music by Latin American composers, led by spirited conductor Enrique Lopez-Yañez, at ¡Celebración Sinfónica!. Perfect for families and symphony newcomers, five popular movies will play on the big screen—including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, The Goonies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, An American in Paris, and The Nightmare Before Christmas—as the symphony plays every note live.
The Utah Symphony has a long history of bringing its community together through music at the holidays, and—in addition to the Films in Concert performance of The Nightmare Before Christmas—will share in seasonal celebrations with the return of the community-favorite Messiah Sing-In tradition with Utah Opera, inviting the audience to sing along with Handel’s beloved oratorio; Broadway star and Postmodern Jukebox member Morgan James for a soulful twist on holiday classics; and Here Comes Santa Claus, a delightful show for all ages with an appearance by the jolly man himself!
Here Comes Santa Claus is the first of a series of three family concerts—with a completely re-imagined, fun-filled, and full-of-surprises format for the 2022-23 season—that welcome children, parents, and grandparents to experience music together. Offering family fun while introducing musical concepts, FLY Dance Company’s Breakin’ Classical interprets classical music through high-octane hip-hop and street dance; and Philharmonia Fantastique: Inside the Orchestra is a multimedia performance that teaches the audience how the orchestra makes sound, with music by Mason Bates and animated projections and video going inside the instruments. Sound designer Gary Rydstrom is known for his work on Toy Story and Jurassic Park; and screenwriter and animator Jim Capobianco has credits on favorite animated films including The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and many more.
With a commitment to making classical music accessible to the entire community, the Utah Symphony’s 83 professional musicians perform for hundreds of thousands of Utahns every year, with many performances presented free of charge—including the O.C. Tanner Gift of Music concert, which has made spectacular programs by the Utah Symphony and The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square available at no cost to the public for more than 30 years. Thierry Fischer is planned to lead this season’s performance; details will be announced at a later date.
Also a long-held tradition, Access to Music is designed for those with sensory sensitivities and other disabilities. The one-hour performance, scheduled for January 19, 2023, is welcoming and inclusive of individuals of all ages and abilities, provides special accommodations and services for audience members, and has a relaxed attitude toward movement and noise in the concert hall, encouraging those with differing needs to fully enjoy and express themselves.
In addition to performing mainstage concerts for families, the Utah Symphony engages students in our state with a wide range of education performances and opportunities. The symphony’s 35 in-school concerts for students K-12 and 10 additional special performances for fifth graders at Maurice Abravanel Hall serve more than 52,000 students and teachers annually; each of these performances is accompanied by preparatory learning materials. At the middle, high school, and college levels, advancing instrumentalists work directly with Utah Symphony artists and perform for its audiences, including at the annual Salute to Youth concert (this year scheduled for November 22), which for more than 60 years has invited talented students to become soloists with the symphony for a once-in-a-lifetime evening. Altogether, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera reaches more than 155,000 students each year, leading the most extensive performing arts education program in the U.S.
Other important initiatives expanding access to classical music and increasing the Symphony’s presence in the community include chamber music concerts at Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center in Taylorsville and St. Mary’s Church in Park City, and full-orchestra summer performances in communities along the Wasatch front, many with free or low-cost tickets. The symphony’s Finishing Touches Rehearsals offer behind-the-scenes access to witness the process of refining a performance for less than $10.
Dedicated to serving all of Utah, select programs throughout the season are presented at The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts in Orem, Austad Auditorium at the Val A. Browning Center in Ogden, and other locations throughout the state; please see the complete concert listing below for dates and times. The summer 2022 schedule for the Deer Valley Music Festival in Park City is available here.
Complete details on the Toast to Thierry season-opening party at Abravanel Hall on September 8, 2022, will be announced in the coming months.