Welcome to UCA's new events blog!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Media Contact:
Hilarie Ashton | Public Relations Manager
hashton@usuo.org | (801)869-9027
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2011


SALT LAKE CITY—The Utah Symphony will be sharing holiday cheer with a concert for all ages, filled with Christmas favorites and a visit from Santa Claus.

Assistant Conductor Vladimir Kulenovic will be directing the orchestra in this fun-filled holiday performance, “Here Comes Santa Claus!” on Saturday, December 17 at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in Abravanel Hall.

Each year, the festive concert is attended by families and holiday concertgoers excited to celebrate the Christmas season. Utah Opera Resident Artists Jennie Litster (Soprano), Sishel Claverie (Mezzo-Soprano) and Andrew Penning (Tenor) will also be joining the Utah Symphony, performing holiday favorites such as “O Holy Night,” “Silver Bells,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “White Christmas.”

Families are invited to bring along bells or parents’ keys for children to jingle during one of the program pieces. Santa Claus will also be in the lobby prior to each performance to consider any last minute requests from eager children.

Tickets for the performances range from $6 to $10 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office or by visiting www.usuo.org. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). Ticket prices will increase $2 when purchased on the day of the performance.

Press photos available by logging in at http://www.utahsymphony.org/about/press-and-reviews/itemlist/category/35-media-kit. (Username: usuoimages, Password: media).

Artist Bios

Jennie Litster, Soprano
She has been charming audiences with her “coquettish sparkle and suppleness” in the San Francisco Bay Area for years. Recently seen with Livermore Valley Opera and Opera San Jose, Litster has also traveled eastward to sing with the Ash Lawn Festival Opera in Charlottesville, Virginia and returned to join The Virginia Consort as the soprano soloist in “Carmina Burana.” Other recent accolades include being named a Utah District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2011 and competing regionally in Denver, Colorado. This summer she performed with Utah Festival Opera. As Utah Opera’s Soprano Resident Artist, she will sing Gianetta in Donizetti's “L'Elisir d'Amore” in 2012.

Sishel Claverie, Mezzo-Soprano
She was born in Mexico City and is an Alumna of S.I.V.A.M., Mexico’s most prestigious Young Artist Program. Sishel holds a Master's degree in music from Rice University. Her operatic roles include Komponist in “Ariadne auf Naxos,” the title role in “Chérubin,” Dorabella in “Così fan Tutte,” and Meg in “Little Women,” among others. Claverie has been a Studio Artist at Wolf Trap, and at Renata Scotto Opera Studio in Rome, Italy. She was also a member of Houston Grand Opera’s outreach program, Opera to Go! Her future engagements include the role of Secretary (cover) in Menotti's “The Consul” at Opera New Jersey.

Andrew Penning, Tenor
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, he holds the degrees of M.M in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati: College-Conservatory of Music, and a B.M in Vocal Performance from Lawrence University.  Joining Utah Opera this fall as a Resident Artist, he will sing the role of Borsa in “Rigoletto” and cover the role of Nemorino in “The Elixir of Love.”  Penning spent the summer of 2011 as a Fellow at Tanglewood Music Festival singing, among other assignments, the Second Tenor in Stravinsky’s “Renard.”  Recently he has performed the roles of the Male Chorus in Benjamin Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia,” The Chevalier in Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” and Monsieur Lacouf in “Les Mamelles de Tiresias.”  Penning has also been an active concert soloist in a variety of works including: Monteverdi’s “Vespers,” Handel’s “Messiah” Saint-Saëns’ “Christmas Oratorio,” J.S Bach’s “Magnificat,” J.S Bach’s “Cantata 12,” Haydn’s “Grosse Orgelmesse” in E Flat, and Bruckner’s “Te Deum.”

Vladimir Kulenovic, Utah Symphony Assistant Conductor
Since his professional conducting debut in 2006 with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, Mr. Kulenovic has conducted performances with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, Beethoven-Orchester Bonn, Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein, Aspen Music Festival AACA Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, Indian Hill Orchestra, Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra, Juilliard Conductors' Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra, Peabody Institute Symphony Orchestra and Boston Conservatory Orchestra.                         

Mr. Kulenovic studied with Kurt Masur at the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar in New York in 2008 and 2009, as well as at the Beethoven-Orchester Bonn and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, where his final performance with the Verbier Festival Orchestra was internationally televised on Medici TV.  Mr. Kulenovic spent the summer of 2010 as a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, and has also conducted in other prestigious music festivals worldwide, including the National Arts Centre Conducting Programme, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and the Mozarteum Internationale Sommerakademie in Salzburg.                                                                                                  
Mr. Kulenovic was awarded the prestigious Alfred B. Whitney Prize for the highest scholastic achievement at the Boston Conservatory where he graduated summa cum laude, as valedictorian, earning degrees in Conducting and Piano Performance.  As a pianist, Mr. Kulenovic was awarded the Second Prize at the Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Paris.


Leroy Anderson                         A Christmas Festival

John Rutter                               Shepherd’s Pipe Carol
                                                Andrew Penning and Utah Opera Resident Artists
Adolphe Adam
Arr. Arthur Harris                        O Holy Night
                                                Jennie Litster

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky              The Nutcracker
Dance of the Reeds

Jay Livingston
Arr. Bob Lowden                       Silver Bells
                                                Sishel Claverie and Utah Opera Resident Artists

Felix Bernard
Arr. Calvin Custer                      Winter Wonderland
                                                Jennie Litster and Andrew Penning

Sergei Prokofiev                       Lieutenant Kije; Troika

Irving Berlin
Arr. Roy Ringwald                     White Christmas
                                                Utah Opera Resident Artists

Leroy Anderson                         Sleigh Ride

Johnny Marks
Arr. James D. Ployhar               Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Utah Opera Resident Artists

John Rutter                               We Wish You a Merry Christmas
                                                Utah Opera Resident Artists


Hilarie Ashton
Public Relations Manager
801.869.9027 office
801.335.9387 cell

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