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Monday, September 20, 2010

Utah Symphony Presents Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (SLC: Oct 8-9)

Contact: Jana Cunningham, (801) 869-9027

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                    
September 17, 2010                                                                                                                                

The Utah Symphony Presents Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

The concerts feature Maestro Mario Venzago and pianist Conrad Tao

SALT LAKE CITY – Guest conductor Mario Venzago leads 16-year-old Chinese-American pianist Conrad Tao (who replaces Horacio Gutiérrez) and the Utah Symphony in Rachmaninoff’s romantic and hugely popular Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The program also includes Sibelius’ Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island and Finlandia as well as Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 in D Minor. The performances will be held at Abravanel Hall on Friday, October 8 and Saturday, October 9 at 8:00 p.m.

            Pianist Horacio Gutiérrez was originally scheduled to perform, but was forced to cancel due to significant back and shoulder pain.

            The program opens with Sibelius’ emotionally expressive Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island followed by the composer’s Finlandia. Then, Tao joins the orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s famous Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini featuring wit, charm, romance and rhythmic verve. The evening concludes with Schumann’s 4th Symphony with its unprecedented cohesion and structural unity.

            Mario Venzago was born in 1948 in Zürich, Switzerland. He began playing piano at age five, attended the conservatory and the university in Zurich and continued his studies with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. After seven extremely successful years as Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra he resigned in 2009. In 2004 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (the National Orchestra of Sweden). He has previously held posts as Music Director of the Basel Symphony Orchestra (1997-2003), the Basque National Orchestra in Spain (1998-2001), the Graz Opera House in Austria (1990-95), the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Frankfurt/Bremen (1989-92), the Heidelberg Opera (1986-1989), the Winterthur City Orchestra (1978-86), the Lucerne Opera House and he served as principal conductor for the broadcast recordings of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva until 1986.

In 2010 he became principal conductor of the Northern Sinfonia in Newcastle and was announced Chief Conductor of the Bern Symphonie Orchestra. A regular visitor to the world’s leading orchestras and opera houses, Mr. Venzago's distinguished conducting career has included engagements with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the BBC London, the Scala di Milano, the Boston and Philadelphia Orchestras as well as the Tapiola Sinfonietta which he will join as "Artist in Association" from autumn 2010 on.

Born in Urbana, Illinois, 16-year-old American pianist Conrad Tao began showing an interest in music at a very early age, when he was found playing children’s songs on the piano at about 18 months of age. Conrad started violin lessons at age 3 and formal piano lessons at 3 1/2, gave his first public piano recital at age 4, and performed a recital at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Orlando, Florida at age 7. At age 8, he made his concerto debut with the Utah Chamber Music Festival Orchestra performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major, K414. At age 10, Conrad was featured on the national radio program “From the Top” as both pianist and composer, and he was featured again on PBS’s “From the Top - Live from Carnegie Hall” TV series in September 2006 as violinist, pianist and composer. Conrad’s recital performance has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”. In 2008 Conrad was named a Davidson Fellow Laureate by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

As a pianist, Conrad has performed with many symphony orchestras throughout the United States, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony and the Russian National Orchestra, among others.

Conrad is currently enrolled in Juilliard’s Pre-College Division and studies piano with Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky.

 Tickets for the evening’s performances start at $15 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall box office, or by visiting www.usuo.org. Subscribers and those desiring group or student discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). Ticket prices will increase $5 day of performance.

Press photos available at http://www.utahsymphony.org/media.php. (Username: usuoimages, password: media).

Jean Sibelius                          “Lemminkäinen and the Maidens of the Island” No.1 from Legends, op. 22
                                    Finlandia, op. 26, No. 7

Sergei Rachmaninoff             Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43

Robert Schumann                  Symphony No. 4 in D Minor, op.120
I.  Ziemlich langsam - Lebhaft
II.  Romanze:  Siemlich langsam
III.  Scherzo: Lebhaft
IV.  Langsam - Lebhaft


Jana Cunningham
Public Relations Manager
801.869.9027 office
801.244.1892 cell

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