The Utah Symphony is growing more youthful every year. If that isn’t already apparent from your seat in Abravanel Hall, peek inside Westminster College’s Vieve Gore Concert Hall some Monday evening this summer. That’s where the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series gives concertgoers a closer listen to individual orchestra members and other prominent local musicians — many of whom are newcomers to the state.
David Porter, a Utah Symphony violinist since 1997 and president of Intermezzo since he co-founded the series with pianist Vedrana Subotic and local music lovers Rachel and Rocky Navarro in 2003, hopes the relationship benefits both organizations. “The individual players working together enhances their playing in the symphony,” he said, “and without the symphony, there would be no players to feature.”
In addition to bringing in as many newcomers as he can, Porter’s aim this season is to “celebrate color, timbre and contrast,” he said. In 2008, to celebrate Elliott Carter’s 100th birthday, Intermezzo musicians sneaked unannounced performances of the avant-garde composer’s works into the concert programs. “After that, [the scheduled performance of] Mendelssohn sounded totally different,” Porter said. “The texture and transparency of the writing became more clear.” He hopes to achieve similar effects this year by juxtaposing quintets by Prokofiev and Brahms, for example, or pieces by Kurtág and Mozart.
Another anticipated highlight is the July 28 concert featuring two popular new Utah Symphony percussionists, Keith Carrick and Eric Hopkins, along with baritone Michael Chipman and “three wonderful pianists” — Karlyn Bond, Kimi Kawashima and Intermezzo music director Subotic.
The 2014 season opens Monday night with Josef Suk’s Piano Trio in C Minor, Schumann’s Violin Sonata and Dvorak’s Piano Quartet No. 2. Porter had planned to mix things up a little more with the inclusion of Krysztof Penderecki’s Violin Sonata, but the scheduled pianist, Heather Conner, had a baby earlier than expected. Pianist Hyunsoon Whang, sister of Utah Symphony cellist Pegsoon Whang, will play the Schumann sonata with Porter instead; she’ll also join her sister and violinist Lun Jiang in the Suk trio. The four musicians will then team up for the Dvorak quartet.
The opening performance will be dedicated to Rocky Navarro, who died shortly after the series’ founding. The Intermezzo family suffered another loss in January when series treasurer and longtime patron Gene Scoggins died. This season will be dedicated to Scoggins, who Porter said “illustrates the role the average arts supporter plays in this community, which is huge.”
Mixing it up
P The Intermezzo Chamber Music Series opens its summer season with music of Suk, Schumann and Dvorák.
When • Monday, 7:30 p.m.
Where • Vieve Gore Concert Hall at Westminster College, 1250 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $18; $15 for seniors (season tickets $80 and $65); free for students with ID
July 14 • Music of Gioachino Rossini, Sergei Prokofiev and Johannes Brahms
July 28 • Music of Nikolai Kapustin, Iannis Xenakis and Béla Bartók
Aug. 4 • Music of Jacques Ibert, Sergei Prokofiev, György Kurtág and Wolfgang Mozart
Aug. 11 • Music of Richard Strauss and P.I. Tchaikovsky