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The Utah Symphony Orchestra is a full-time symphony orchestra located in Salt Lake Citymarker, Utahmarker.


The first attempt to create a symphony group in the Utah area occurred in 1892, before Utah was a state. The Salt Lake Symphony was created and presented just one concert before disbanding. In 1902 the Salt Lake Symphony Orchestra was formed, and it remained in existence until 1911. In 1913 the Salt Lake Philharmonic was formed, and it remained in existence until 1925.

During the Great Depression, the Federal Music Project (an employment-assistance program which formed part of Federal Project Number One, an arm of the Works Project Administration) hired Reginald Beales to create a musical group in Utah. He formed the Utah State Sinfonietta with a core of 5 members. That group grew rapidly and toured extensively, presenting concerts in all corners of the state.

By 1940 federal funding for arts projects had ceased, so local enthusiasts formed the Utah State Symphony Orchestra on 4 April 1940, with Fred E. Smith as president. They scheduled their first concert for 8 May 1940 and asked Hans Henriot to conduct it. He accepted the challenge, and the resulting concert was so successful that the group offered Henriot a contract to remain at the helm.. This symphony group functioned until the 1960s as a part-time orchestra. Its most prominent conductor was Maurice Abravanel, who built it into a full-time orchestra which gained national respect. He recorded and toured extensively with the orchestra. Under Abravanel, the orchestra first recorded with Vanguard Records and then with Vox Records; many of these performances, including a complete set of the symphonies of Tchaikovsky, have been reissued on CD.

The orchestra received added luster by the appointment of Joseph Silverstein as conductor in 1983. Mr. Silverstein's experience as concertmaster of the esteemed Boston Symphony Orchestra served him well in guiding the Utah Symphony during his tenure.

Its former music director and principal conductor was Keith Lockhart (his contract with the orchestra expired in May 2009). The assistant conductor is Korean-born David In-Jae Cho. In January 2009 the Orchestra named Gerald Steichen as its principal pops conductor. In September 2009, USUO selected Thierry Fischer as the new music director.


In 2002, the institution merged with the Utah Opera to form Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. The orchestra performs in Abravanel Hallmarker in downtown Salt Lake City near Temple Squaremarker.

Utah Symphony

Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony has become a vital presence on the American music scene through its distinctive performances worldwide and its well-known recording legacy.

The orchestra became recognized as a leading ensemble largely through the efforts of Maurice Abravanel, its Music Director from 1947 to 1979. Under his direction, the orchestra made its first recordings of works by Varese, Milhaud, Gottschalk, Honegger and Satie, as well as the first complete cycle of Mahler Symphonies.

Under Keith Lockhart, whose tenure as Music Director began in 1998, and Joseph Silverstein, Music Director from 1983 to 1998, the orchestra has continued its commitment to the music of our time, recording and premiering a number of American works.

The Utah Symphony has its home in Abravanel Hallmarker, which is acclaimed as one of the world's great concert halls - having won awards for both its architecture and its extraordinary acoustics. In addition to performing more than 70 subscription concerts in Abravanel Hall, the Symphony regularly travels around the Intermountain West serving communities in Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and Idaho. In April 2005, the orchestra embarked on its first European Tour in 19 years, visiting concert halls in Austria and Germany.

The orchestra accompanies the Utah Opera in four productions per year at Salt Lake's Capitol Theatre. In addition, the Utah Symphony performs numerous concerts as part of Utah Symphony & Opera's Deer Valley Music Festival, held each summer in the Park City mountain community. Funding from the Utah State Legislature makes it possible for the Symphony to perform for over 55,000 students each year, both in Abravanel Hall and traveling to schools throughout the state.

Utah Opera

In 1978, the Opera presented its first production of Puccini's La Bohème. Founding General Director, the late Glade Peterson, refined the vocal and dramatic skills of Utah Opera artists during the initial twelve seasons. Under his leadership, the number of performances for each opera was set at five - an outstanding achievement among the majority of regional companies, which only present one to three performances of each production. New dimensions, such as symposia, lectures, concerts and educational programs, were added to enhance the public's experience of opera.

Fresh energy and artistic direction came to Utah Opera in 1991 with the appointment of General Director Anne Ewers. Ms. Ewers continued to visualize the future of opera in rising young stars including singers, composers, directors, lighting and costume designers. It is the dynamic collaboration of all these talents which produces great opera and sells tickets. The growing popularity of Utah Opera's performances prompted the company to expand in 1996-97 from a three-production to a four-production season. Then in 2002, the fiscal success of Utah Opera prompted the merging of the company with Utah Symphony, creating a new paradigm in arts administration with Ms. Ewers as President & CEO.

Deer Valley Music Festival

The Deer Valley Music Festival (DVMF) is Utah Symphony | Utah Opera's (USUO's) summer home in the mountain resort town of Park City, Utah. The 2009 Festival is its sixth season of providing chamber music, classical, opera, and pops offerings in four venues: the Deer Valley Snow Park Amphitheater, St. Mary's Church, Temple Har Shalom, and salons in private homes in the Park City area.

The goal of the DVMF is to be renowned for consistently delivering a high quality and musically diverse experience in casual settings of unparalleled natural beauty.

Music Directors

See also


  1. Utah Symphony History
  2. Deseret News, 1 February 2009, "Symphony names Steichen principal pops conductor", p. E15
  3. Deseret News ibid.

External links


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