Welcome to UCA's new events blog!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Media Contact:
Hilarie Ashton | Public Relations Manager
hashton@usuo.org | (801)869-9027


SALT LAKE CITY—Music Director Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony will begin a season-long presentation of Felix Mendelssohn’s five symphonies with his glorious Symphony No. 2 “Hymn of Praise,” in a concert also featuring the popular Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by J.S. Bach. 

Guest vocalists Twyla Robinson, Priti Gandhi and Colin Balzer along with the Utah Symphony Chorus will also be featured in this performance, Friday, September 28 and Saturday, September 29 at 8 p.m. in Abravanel Hall. The program will also include Igor Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks.”

Mendelssohn’s “Lobgesang” (“Hymn of Praise”) was written in 1840 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Gutenberg printing press and the first major publication the 42-line Latin Bible. Fittingly Mendelssohn chose text from the Luther translation for his masterpiece. The emotion of the text shines through the tension, drama and romance of his music. This piece will mark the beginning of the Utah Symphony’s 2012-2013 Season Mendelssohn Cycle conducted by Music Director Thierry Fischer. It will be sung in German with English text translations projected on stage.

Bach composed the six Brandenburg Concerti for the Margrave Christian Ludwig von Brandenburg and they are among the most beloved compositions from the Baroque era. The striking rhythms and robust harmonies swirl melodically throughout the three movements of his “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3,” the selection the Utah Symphony will perform in this concert.

Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks” is named after the 19th century estate in Washington, D.C. which was home to Robert and Mildred Bliss. In preparation for their 30th wedding anniversary, Bliss commissioned Stravinsky to compose a new piece for their celebration. The instrumentation of this delightful modern concerto captures the energy of Bach, while creating a unique texture and style. 

Fischer and Toby Tolokan, Utah Symphony Vice President of Artistic Planning, will present a free pre-concert chat each night, one hour prior to the start of the performance on the orchestra level of Abravanel Hall.

Single tickets for the performance range from $18 to $53 and can be purchased by phone at (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office (123 W. South Temple) or online by visiting www.utahsymphony.org. Discounted student tickets will be available on the date of the performance. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). All ticket prices are subject to change and availability. Ticket prices will increase $5 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).

About Twyla Robinson, Soprano
Making her Utah Symphony debut this week, Twyla Robinson’s incisive musicianship, ravishing vocal beauty, and dramatic delivery have taken her to the leading concert halls and opera stages of Europe and North America. She has been heard in performance with the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Berlin Staatskapelle, The Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. She has worked with conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Alan Gilbert, Bernard Haitink, Pierre Boulez, Franz Welser-Möst, Donald Runnicles, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Hans Graf and Michael Tilson Thomas.

This season, Robinson will be heard in performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Der Rosenkavalier with Donald Runnicles. Further performances include a gala concert with the Shreveport Symphony and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem at the Kennedy Center with Washington Choral Arts Society in honor of Norman Scribner’s final concert.

Recent performances for Robinson include debuts with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra. She also made her Opera Colorado debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro last season.

In high demand for concert performances, Robinson regularly performs with top orchestras in the United States and Europe. She made her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, which she has also sung with the San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall and the Barbican Centre in London. The performance in London was released on the LSO Live label. A frequent soloist with The Cleveland Orchestra, her performances include Strauss’ Four Last Songs, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Verdi’s Requiem, and Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff. She debuted with the National Symphony in performances of Grieg’s Peer Gynt, and with the St. Louis Symphony in Rossini’s Stabat Mater.

Her recordings include Brahms’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Pierre Boulez and the Berlin Staatskappelle, Schubert’s Fierrabras with Franz Welser-Möst on DVD with EMI, and Strauss’ Elektra and Daphne with Semyon Bychkov and the West German Radio Orchestra on the Decca label.

About Priti Gandhi, Soprano
A native of Mumbai, India, Gandhi has been praised by the New York Times for her “creamy sound and agile coloratura technique.” Opera News described her as “languid, sensuous... her voice never lost its velvety character.” 

Recent engagements have included Carmina Burana with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra; the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with San Antonio Opera; and the Fourth Maid in Elektra with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Charles Dutoit. In concert, she has been a featured soloist with the San Diego Symphony in works such as Mozart’s Mass in C-minor, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Luciano Berio’s Folksongs, and Mozart’s Mass in C, Spatzen-Messe. Mendelssohn’s “Lobgesang” marks the debut of Priti Gandhi with the Utah Symphony.

Her recordings include Anthony Davis’ contemporary opera Tania (based on the abduction of Patty Hearst), available on Koch International Classics; and the PBS broadcast/ DVD release of Los Angeles Opera’s Mahagonny.

Gandhi’s career spans the soprano repertoire with houses including the Théâtre du Châtelet, New York City Opera, Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, the Caramoor International Music Festival, UNAM in Mexico City, San Diego Opera, the Estates Theatre in Prague, Opera Pacific, and Michigan Opera Theatre.

About Colin Balzer, Tenor
Colin Balzer made his Utah Symphony debut 2012 April in Mozart’s Requiem. Balzer's current season includes concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, RIAS Kammerchor, Museumsorchester Salzburg, Radio Kamer Filharmonie (Amsterdam Concertgebouw), Les Musiciens du Louvre under Marc Minkowski (Salzburg Music Weeks), Philharmonischer Chor Berlin, Estonian Chamber Choir and Musik Podium Stuttgart.  In North America he is heard with the Ann Arbor Symphony (Händel's Messiah), Toronto's Tafelmusik (Händel's Hercules), and Calgary Philharmonic (Bach's St. Matthew Passion under Music Director Roberto Minczuk).  He sings recitals in Paris and New York (the latter his first Winterreise) and performs in Mozart operas at the Bolshoi (Don Giovanni), France's Aix-en-Provence and Spain's Castell de Perelada festivals (La finta giardiniera).
Particularly esteemed as a recitalist, he has been welcomed at London’s Wigmore Hall (accompanied by Graham Johnson), the Britten Festival in Aldeburgh, the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, the Wratislavia Cantans in Poland, and at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.  Recordings to date include Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch and Eisler and Henze song anthologies.   A prizewinner of  Holland’s  ‘s-Hertogenbosch Competition,  the U.K.’s Wigmore Hall Song Competition, Stuttgart, Germany’s Hugo Wolf Competition and Munich's 55th International ARD Competition, Balzer also holds the rare distinction of earning the Gold Medal at the Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau with the highest score in 25 years.   Born in British Columbia, he received his formal musical training at the University of British Columbia with David Meek and with Edith Wiens at the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg/Augsburg.


Johann Sebastian Bach
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
I.  [Allegro]
II. Adagio
III. Allegro
Igor Stravinsky
Concerto in E-flat major for Chamber Orchestra, "Dumbarton Oaks"
I. Tempo giusto
II. Allegretto
III. Con moto


Felix Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major, Opus 52, "Lobgesang"
I.  Allegro
II.  Allegretto un poco agitato
III.  Adagio religioso
IV. Lobgesang
Twyla Robinson, Soprano
Priti Gandhi, Soprano
Colin Balzer, Tenor


Hilarie Ashton
Public Relations Manager
801.869.9027 office
801.335.9387 cell

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