FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2011
MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR ORGANIST JOINS UTAH SYMPHONY FOR SAINT-SAËNS’ “ORGAN SYMPHONY”
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Symphony welcomes Mormon Tabernacle Choir organist Richard Elliott to Abravanel Hall, only a stone’s throw from his home performance venue, for an anticipated concert of the most iconic and commonly performed work for organ and orchestra – Saint-Saëns’ “Organ Symphony.”
Elliott will also perform Poulenc’s organ concerto with the Utah Symphony under the direction of promising young American conductor Andrew Grams, Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7 at 8 p.m. in the hall (123 West South Temple).
The haunting beauty and simplified instrumentation of Poulenc’s organ concerto, featuring a string orchestra and timpani as accompaniment, will serve as a delicate pairing with Saint-Saëns’ dynamic and powerful “Organ Symphony,” featuring virtuosic piano passages, a musical style characteristic of the Romantic period and the stately presence of a large pipe organ. Also on the program is “Scherzo Fantastique,” an early work by Igor Stravinsky.
On Friday, May 6 at 10 a.m. the general public is invited to attend a Finishing Touches dress rehearsal, where audience members can witness the diligence and dedication that goes into rehearsing for each performance. Tickets for the rehearsal are $15.
Tickets for the evening performances range from $15 to $85 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office or by visiting www.usuo.org. Students can purchase discounted tickets with a student ID. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). Ticket prices will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.
Grams and Toby Tolokan, Utah Symphony Vice President of Artistic Planning, will present a free pre-concert lecture each night, 45 minutes prior to the start of the performance in the First Tier Room of Abravanel Hall.
Press photos available by logging in at http://www.utahsymphony.org/about/press-and-reviews/itemlist/category/35-media-kit. (Username: usuoimages, Password: media).
Andrew Grams, Conductor
As one of America’s most promising and talented young conductors, Andrew Grams has already appeared with many of the great orchestras of the world including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., and the orchestras of Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey and others in the United States. On the international arena, he has conducted the Montreal Symphony, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Melbourne Symphony, the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia Rome, the Residentie Orchestra of the Hague, the Hamburg Symphony, and the Malmo Symphony to name a few.
Maestro Grams was a protégé of Franz Welser-Moest and served as Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra from 2004 to 2007.
The 2010-11 season witnesses a major debut for Grams with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London alongside debut appearances with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Beethovenhalle Bonn. Grams returns to the podium with the Residentie Orchestra several times this year as well and also makes welcome repeat visits with the Hamburg Symphony, the Malmo Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa and the Utah Symphony.
A Maryland native raised in Severn, Andrew Grams began conducting at the age of 17, when he directed the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. In 1999 he received a bachelor of music degree in violin performance from the Juilliard School, and in 2003 he received a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he worked with Otto-Werner Mueller. Also an accomplished violinist, Mr. Grams was a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra at Lincoln Center from 1998 to 2004, serving as acting associate principal second violin in 2002 and 2004. In addition, he has performed with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the New Jersey Symphony.
Richard Elliott, Organ
Richard Elliott is right at home at the massive console of the Tabernacle organ, having previously served as an assistant organist for the world's largest functioning pipe organ in Philadelphia's Lord and Taylor (formerly John Wanamaker) department store. His background in jazz and popular music has likewise prepared him well for his role as accompanist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with its broad range of repertoire.
As Principal Tabernacle Organist, Elliott performs, tours and records with the Choir. He also plays for the weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts and joins with his fellow organists in presenting daily 30- minute organ recitals in the Tabernacle. He works alongside the rest of the Choir's musical staff to ensure perfect balance among the singers' voices, the organ and the Orchestra at Temple Square, thus producing the Choir's signature sound. In addition, Elliott performs widely as an organ recitalist and has recorded on the Tabernacle organ for several record labels.
Prior to his appointment in 1991 as a Tabernacle organist, Elliott was an Assistant Professor at Brigham Young University, where he taught courses in organ and music appreciation. His early musical studies were undertaken at the Peabody Conservatory and the Catholic University of America. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the famed Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and later received Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Elliott is a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and was a featured performer in the Guild's national convention held in 1992 in Atlanta. He is a published composer and has also written articles for several music journals. Elliott currently sits on the advisory boards for the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ and for the Eccles Organ Festival at Salt Lake's Cathedral of the Madeleine.
Igor Stravinsky Scherzo Fantastique, op. 3
Francis Poulenc Concerto in G Minor for Organ, String Orchestra, and Timpani
Richard Elliot, Organ
Camille Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, op. 78 ("Organ Symphony")
I. Adagio - Allegro moderato - Poco adagio
II. Allegro moderato - Presto - maestoso
Richard Elliot, Organ
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