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Utah Symphony Orchestra

Salt Lake City, Utah, is the leading city of the U.S. Inter-Mountain West, and possesses a unique setting and history. It was settled by members of the Latter-Day Saints (or Mormon) church, who traveled there by wagon train in the 1840s in search of a livable, isolated location where they could pursue their religion in peace. Singing their music of faith sustained them on the trip, and one of their first actions on settling in the Great Salt Lake Valley was to form a choral group, which became the Mormon Tabernacle Chorus. While many of the settlers had musical instruments, they did not have a local orchestra until 1892, when the Salt Lake Symphony gave its one and only concert. In 1902, a Salt Lake Symphony Orchestra Association was formed, lasting for nine years. The next group, the Salt Lake Philharmonic, formed by an autonomous group of musicians, survived from 1913 to 1925.

The Great Depression forced many musicians on the relief rolls. The Federal Music Project of the Works Progress Administration appointed Reginald Beals to form an organization to employ indigent musicians. He started with a core of five players to form the Utah State Sinfonietta in 1935. It grew in size and in five years gave over a thousand concerts to a combined audience of nearly 350,000. When the temporary Depression project was phasing out, Salt Lake leaders decided to keep the orchestra as a going concern, and formed the Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association on April 4, 1940, which gave its first concert five weeks later. Hans Heniot was the first music director.

The name was changed to the Utah Symphony in 1946. Werner Janssen was hired as conductor, but lasted only a year due to financial difficulties and the desire of the board to continue using predominantly Utah talent, and to find a conductor who would commit to the orchestra wholly for as long as it took to build it into a solidly professional group. Maurice Abravanel, a pupil of Gustav Mahler, was that man. Hired to a one-year contract in 1947, he remained with the symphony for 32 years.

Despite periodic funding crises, the orchestra survived and grew. It made history when it became the first orchestra to record a complete Mahler symphony cycle, accomplishing that feat in just one year. This was part of the Utah Symphony's treasured series of nearly 120 recordings for Vanguard Records. The orchestra also recorded a remarkable range of music, little-known works, and works by Milhaud, Varése, Honegger, Satie, Gottschalk, and many others.

Abravanel was succeeded by Varujan Kojian (1979-1984), then by Joseph Silverstein (1983-1998). In 1998 Keith Lockhart became music director.

From 1946 to 1979 the orchestra performed in the Mormon Tabernacle. Seeking a venue to call its own, the orchestra succeeded in building a new Symphony Hall, completed for the 1979-1980 season. The acoustically superb building was renamed Abravanel Hall in 1993. ~ Joseph Stevenson
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Grieg: Works For Orchestra

Disc 1
Title: Symphonic Dances (4) For Orchestra (Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 64

1. Symphonic Dances (4) For Orchestra (Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 64: I. Allegro Moderato E Marcato

2. Symphonic Dances (4) For Orchestra (Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 64: II. Allegretto Grazioso

3. Symphonic Dances (4) For Orchestra (Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 64: III. Allegro Giocoso

4. Symphonic Dances (4) For Orchestra (Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 64: IV. Andante - Allegro Molto E Risoluto

Title: Fra Holbergs Tid (From Holberg’s Time), For String Orchestra ("Holberg Suite"), Op. 40

5. Fra Holbergs Tid (From Holberg’s Time), For String Orchestra ("Holberg Suite"), Op. 40: I. Praludium: Allegro Vivace

6. Fra Holbergs Tid (From Holberg’s Time), For String Orchestra ("Holberg Suite"), Op. 40: Sarabande: Andante

7. Fra Holbergs Tid (From Holberg’s Time), For String Orchestra ("Holberg Suite"), Op. 40: III. Gavotte: Allegretto

8. Fra Holbergs Tid (From Holberg’s Time), For String Orchestra ("Holberg Suite"), Op. 40: IV. Air: Andante Religioso

9. Fra Holbergs Tid (From Holberg’s Time), For String Orchestra ("Holberg Suite"), Op. 40: V. Rigaudon: Allegro Con Brio

Title: I Høst (In Autumn), Concert Overture For Orchestra, Op. 11

10. I Høst (In Autumn), Concert Overture For Orchestra, Op. 11: In Autumn, Concert Overture, Op. 11

Title: Elegiac Melodies (2) For Orchestra (Or Piano), Op. 34

11. Elegiac Melodies (2) For Orchestra (Or Piano), Op. 34: Elegiac Melodies For String Orchestra, Op. 34

Title: Sigurd Jorsalfar, Suite For Orchestra (or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 56

12. Sigurd Jorsalfar, Suite For Orchestra (or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 56: I. Introduction: In The King's Hall

13. Sigurd Jorsalfar, Suite For Orchestra (or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 56: II. Borghild's Dream

14. Sigurd Jorsalfar, Suite For Orchestra (or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands), Op. 56: III. Triumphal March

Disc 2
Title: Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 1, Op. 46

1. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 1, Op. 46: I. Morning Mood

2. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 1, Op. 46: II. Aase's Death

3. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 1, Op. 46: III. Anitra's Dance

4. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 1, Op. 46: IV. in the Hall of the Mountain King

Title: Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 2, Op. 55

5. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 2, Op. 55: I. The Abduction and Ingrid's Lament

6. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 2, Op. 55: II. Arabian Dance

7. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 2, Op. 55: III. Peer Gynt's Return Home

8. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 2, Op. 55: IV. Solveig's Song

Title: Norwegian Dances (4) For Piano, 4 Hands (Or Solo Piano), Op. 35

9. Norwegian Dances (4) For Piano, 4 Hands (Or Solo Piano), Op. 35: I. Allegro Marcato

10. Norwegian Dances (4) For Piano, 4 Hands (Or Solo Piano), Op. 35: II. Allegretto Tranquillo E Grazioso

11. Norwegian Dances (4) For Piano, 4 Hands (Or Solo Piano), Op. 35: III. Allegro Moderato Alla Marcia

12. Norwegian Dances (4) For Piano, 4 Hands (Or Solo Piano), Op. 35: IV. Allegro Molto

Title: Brudefølget Drager Forbi (Bridal Procession), For Piano (Or Piano, 4 Hands)(scenes From Folk Life No. 2), Op. 19/2

13. Brudefølget Drager Forbi (Bridal Procession), For Piano (Or Piano, 4 Hands)(scenes From Folk Life No. 2), Op. 19/2: The Bridal Procession Passes By, Op. 19

Title: Bryllupsdag På Troldhaugen (Wedding Day At Troldhaugen), Lyric Piece For Piano, Op. 65/6

14. Bryllupsdag På Troldhaugen (Wedding Day At Troldhaugen), Lyric Piece For Piano, Op. 65/6: Wedding Day At Troldhaugen, Op. 65

Title: Aften På Højfjeldet (Evening In The Mountains), Lyric Piece For Piano, Op. 68/4

15. Aften På Højfjeldet (Evening In The Mountains), Lyric Piece For Piano, Op. 68/4: Evening In The Mountains: At The Cradle, Op. 68 Nos. 4 & 5

Title: Lyric Suite For Orchestra (orchestration Of Op. 54)

16. Lyric Suite For Orchestra (orchestration Of Op. 54): I. Shepherd Boy. Andantio Espressivo

17. Lyric Suite For Orchestra (orchestration Of Op. 54): II. Bell-Ringing. Andante

18. Lyric Suite For Orchestra (orchestration Of Op. 54): III. Norwegian March. Allegretto Marcato

19. Lyric Suite For Orchestra (orchestration Of Op. 54): IV. Notturno. Andante

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