Utah Symphony Teams Up with Utah’s Hogle Zoo and Tracy Aviary to Bring Feathered and Four Legged Guest Artists to the Abravanel Hall Stage

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (April 1, 2019) – For the first time ever, Utah Symphony is going for the birds next season featuring feathered and four-legged guest artists joining the orchestra on stage at Abravanel Hall during several special animal-themed Masterworks performances. For more information, visit us here.

In order to pay tribute to the beautiful animal sounds on the 2019-20 Masterworks season, the orchestra wanted to invite animal guest artists to show off their musical talents. Several species of birds from the Tracy Aviary will be on the percussion and woodwind sections. The elephants at Utah’s Hogle Zoo will also be joining the orchestra on Pines of Rome and Carnival of the Animals.

“We couldn’t be happier with this collaboration with the Utah Symphony. Bird songs and classical music go hand in hand,” said Lauren Wester, marketing and communications coordinator at the Tracy Aviary.

The Tracy Aviary’s curious and social kea birds will make their symphony debut on percussion and woodwinds. “The birds are big classical music fans! They’re thrilled to show off their talents to the world,” said Allie Connair, Primary Aviculturist at The Tracy Aviary. Chip Dance, Utah Symphony stage and production manager, is taking no risks and has outfitted the orchestra with umbrella hats and ponchos

Throughout the season, the Utah Symphony blends music and visuals in a series of concerts that explore the natural beauty of Utah, with Olivier Messiaen’s “Des canyons aux étoiles” serving as a common thread from program to program. This work by Messiaen was commissioned by Alice Tully in 1971 to mark the American bicentennial, and was inspired by the birds and rugged features of southern Utah, including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. In this concert series, Music Director Thierry Fischer conducts the twelve movements of Messiaen’s composition over eight programs, on which they are complemented by additional, nature-inspired works from the baroque to the present day.

Maestro Fischer also will conduct a nature-themed works on September 27 and 28, including Respighi’s “The Birds” and “Pines of Rome,” featuring the kea soloists.

On March 21 Carnival of the Animals, one of the most recognizable and beloved pieces by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, brings the joy and magic of the animals to life with elephant soloists sharing the stage with the orchestra. Go on a journey through the animal kingdom from the graceful swan to the majestic lion featuring dancers from the Children’s Dance Theatre.

The zoo’s Christie, the elephant, will have a harmonica solo. “Christie the elephant has been practicing day and night for her harmonica solo. We really think it will add an extra something special to the symphony,” said Lauren Lecoque, The Hogle Zoo’s elephant handler.

Many of these nature-inspired Masterworks will be visually accentuated on the giant screen inside Abravanel Hall with imagery in collaboration with local organizations including the Utah Office of Tourism, Clark Planetarium, Dark Sky Cooperative, KUED, The Nature Conservancy, Tracy Aviary, and the Natural History Museum of Utah.