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Utah Symphony’s 2021-22 season, starting in September, to feature nature-inspired music and violinist Hilary Hahn

Music director Thierry Fischer will split podium duties with nine guest conductors.

(Courtesy photo) Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn will be an artist-in-association with the Utah Symphony during the 2021-2022 season, performing at Abravanel Hall in September and again in April 2022.

The Utah Symphony has ambitious plans for its first full season back after the COVID-19 pandemic: A world premiere of a symphony inspired by birds, acclaimed violinist Hilary Hahn performing two programs months apart, and nine guest conductors.

“Live art will help save the world,” music director and conductor Thierry Fischer said in a statement announcing the 2021-22 season Tuesday. “Let’s step away from our screens and return to enjoy music together again.”

Fischer, who extended his contract with Utah Symphony last fall to the end of the 2022-23 season, will conduct nine weeks of programs in what will be his penultimate season. Eight of the nine guest conductors scheduled to lead the symphony throughout the season will conduct the Utah Symphony for the first time.

A spokesman for Utah Symphony would not comment on whether any of the guest conductors are auditioning to succeed Fischer, who started his new job this month leading the São Paulo Symphony. The search committee that is looking for a new music director, the spokesman said, does not release candidates’ names, “so anyone you see on the podium may or may not be a candidate for the position.”

The season’s Masterworks Series will kick off Sept. 16-18 with Hahn — a three-time Grammy winner who will be an artist-in-association with the symphony next season — performing Brahms’ Violin Concerto, featuring solo violin cadenzas written by composer Jessie Montgomery.

Hahn will return in April 2022, performing Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera’s 1963 Violin Concerto, which the symphony describes as “fiendishly difficult,” and Pablo de Sarasate’s Fantasy on Bizet’s “Carmen.”

Fischer called Hahn “a world-class, American icon with whom we have had a long relationship, and we know is an audience favorite.” Hahn, 41, made her Utah Symphony debut on New Year’s Eve 1992, as a 13-year-old prodigy, and has returned to Abravanel Hall frequently.

Also in April 2022, Utah Symphony will perform the world premiere of a work it commissioned, Arlene Sierra’s “Bird Symphony.” Sierra is a composer-in-association with the symphony, a role that will include talks and workshops in Salt Lake City. Two of Sierra’s other works, “Aquilo” and “Nature Symphony,” will have their U.S. premieres with Utah Symphony next season.

Sierra’s compositions are among several works scheduled that are inspired by the natural world. In January 2022, the symphony will play the western U.S. premiere of Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis’ work “The Maze,” inspired by The Maze area of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. Utah Symphony’s concertmaster, Madeline Adkins, commissioned the work and will perform it.

Another Utah-inspired work on the schedule is the completion of Olivier Messiaen’s 12-movement “Des canyons aux étoiles,” which the composer wrote in 1974 after seeing the birds and starry skies of southern Utah. The symphony performed eight movements during the 2019-2020 season, but was unable to finish the piece when concerts were canceled at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic began. The last four movements will be split between two concerts in May 2022.

On the lighter side, the retro-pop band Pink Martini, with vocalist China Forbes, plays with the symphony on Nov. 12 and 13. And Jodi Benson, best known for giving voice to Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” is the headliner for the symphony’s “Holiday Pops” concerts, Dec. 16 at Orem’s Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, and Dec. 17 and 18 at Abravanel Hall.

Subscription renewals and purchases are available online, at utahsymphony.org, starting Tuesday. Current season subscribers will have until April 22 to renew their subscriptions or request seat changes. After that, seats will be released to new subscribers and to those requesting seat changes. Single tickets go on sale June 15, through ArtTix outlets or Utah Symphony ! Utah Opera patron services.

Here are the concerts scheduled for the Utah Symphony’s 2021-2022 season. All concerts are at Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, unless otherwise noted.

Sept. 8 • ¡Celebración Sinfónica! (Special Event) • Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor.

Sept. 9-10 • “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” (Films in Concert Series) • Screening with musical score performed live by the Utah Symphony.

Sept. 16-18 • Hilary Hahn Plays Brahms (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor; Hilary Hahn, violin. Program: Beethoven’s “Egmont” Overture, Brahms’ Violin Concerto, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. (Sept. 16 at Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Orem; Sept. 17-18 at Abravanel Hall.)

Sept. 24-25 • Thierry Fischer Conducts Stravinsky & Rachmaninoff (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor; Andrei Korobeinikov, piano. Program: Stravinsky’s “The Fairy’s Kiss,” Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini.”

Oct. 21-23 • Enrique Mazzola Conducts Brahms 4, Verdi & Rota (Masterworks Series) • Enrique Mazolla, guest conductor. Program: Verdi’s Overture to “La forza del destino,” Rota’s Suite from “La Strada,” Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. (Oct. 21 at Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Orem; Oct. 22-23 at Abravanel Hall.)

Oct. 29-30 • “Back to the Future” (Films in Concert Series) • Screening with musical score performed live by the Utah Symphony.

Nov. 2 • 62nd Annual Salute to Youth (Special Event)

Nov. 5-6 • Stephen Hough Plays Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 (Masterworks Series) • Rune Bergmann, guest conductor; Stephen Hough, piano. Program: Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable,” Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1.

Nov. 12-13 • Pink Martini with the Utah Symphony (Entertainment Series) • Steven Reineke, conductor; China Forbes, vocalist.

Nov. 19-20 • Shiyeon Sung Conducts Tchaikovsky 4, Arlene Sierra & Prokofiev (Masterworks Series) • Shiyeon Sung, guest conductor; Vadim Gluzman, violin. Program: Arlene Sierra’s “Aquilo” (U.S. premiere), Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

Nov. 27-28 • “Messiah” Sing-In (Special Event)

Dec. 3-4 • Inmo Yang Plays Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (Masterworks Series) • David Robertson, guest conductor; Inmo Yang, violin. Program: Stravinsky’s “Song of the Nightingale,” Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.

Dec. 7 • Celtic Woman (Special Event)

Dec. 10-11 • Ingrid Fliter Plays Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Masterworks Series) • Case Scaglione, guest conductor; Ingrid Fliter, piano. Program: Wagner’s “Prelude” and “Liebestod” from “Tristan and Isolde,” Chopan’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Dvorák’s Symphony No. 7.

Dec. 16-18 • Utah Symphony’s Holiday Pops Starring Jodi Benson (Entertainment Series) • Jodi Benson, vocalist. (Dec. 16 at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Orem; Dec. 17-18 at Abravanel Hall.)

Dec. 18 • Here Comes Santa Claus! (Family Series)

Dec. 21-22 • “Home Alone” (Films in Concert Series) • Screening with musical score performed live by the Utah Symphony.

Jan. 7-8, 2022 • Robert Trevino Conducts Walker, Grieg & Stravinsky (Masterworks Series) • Robert Trevino, guest conductor; Benjamin Grosvenor, piano. Program: Walker’s Sinfonia No. 4 “Strands,” Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Stravinsky’s “Pétrouchka” (1947 revision).

Jan. 28-29, 2022 • Thierry Fischer Conducts Rachmaninoff, Honegger & Nathan Lincoln de Cusatis (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor; Madeline Adkins, violin. Program: Honegger’s Symphony No. 3 “Liturgique,” Lincoln de Cusatis’ “The Maze” for violin and orchestra (western U.S. premiere; commissioned by Madeline Adkins), Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances.”

Feb. 4-5, 2022 • Thierry Fischer Conducts Ravel, Liszt & John Adams (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor; Joyce Yang, piano. Program: John Adams’ “Slonimsky’s Earbox,” Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Ravel’s “Une Barque sur l’océan,” “Valses nobles et sentimentales” and “La Valse.”

Feb. 11-12, 2022 • Bravo Broadway! A Rodgers and Hammerstein Celebration (Entertainment Series) • Jerry Steichen, conductor; William Michals, Hugh Panaro and Scarlett Strallen, vocalists; Utah Opera Chorus, Michaella Calzaretta, chorus master.

Feb. 18-19, 2022 • Daniel Lozakovich Plays Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor; Daniel Lozakovich, violin. Program: Paulo Costa Lima’s “Oji — Storm and Drive (Cheganca e impeto)” (U.S. premiere), Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Prokofiev’s Selections from “Cinderella”: “Introduction,” “Mazurka,” “Cinderella Goes to the Ball,” “Cinderella’s Waltz,” “Midnight,” “The Prince and Cinderella,” “Waltz,” “Amoroso.”

Feb. 24-26, 2022 • “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (Films in Concert Series) • Screening with musical score performed live by the Utah Symphony.

March 3-5, 2022 • Louis Schizgebel Plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 (Masterworks Series) • Francesco Lecce-Chong, guest conductor; Louis Schwizgebel, piano. Program: Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Escaramuza,” Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. (March 3 at Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Orem; March 4-5 at Abravanel Hall.)

March 19, 2022 • “Carnival of the Animals” with Children’s Dance Theatre (Family Series) • Program: Saint-Saens’ “The Carnival of the Animals.”

March 25-26, 2022 • Tito Muñoz Conducts Beethoven 6, Sibelius & Buxtehude (Masterworks Series) • Tito Muñoz, guest conductor; Augustin Hadelich, violin. Program: Buxtehude’s “Chaconne” (arranged by Carlos Chavez), Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral.”

April 8-9, 2022 • Hilary Hahn Plays Ginastera and Sarasate (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor; Hilary Hahn, violin. Program: Debussy’s “Prélude à l’Aprés-midi d’un Faune,” Arlene Sierra’s “Nature Symphony” (U.S. premiere), Ginastera’s Violin Concerto, Sarasate’s Fantasy on Bizet’s “Carmen.”

April 15-16, 2022 • Thierry Fischer conducts Arlene Sierra, Nielsen & Elgar (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor; Anthony McGill, clarinet. Program: Haydn’s Symphony No. 11, Arlene Sierra’s “Bird Symphony” (world premiere, Utah Symphony commission), Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto, Elgar’s “In the South.”

April 19 and 23, 2022 • Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Maestro (Family Series) • (April 19 at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Orem; April 23 at Abravanel Hall.)

April 22-23, 2022 • Cirque de la Symphonie (Entertainment Series)

April 29-30, 2022 • Steven Osborne Plays Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (Masterworks Series) • Elvind Gullberg Jensen, guest conductor; Steven Osborne, piano. Program: Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” and Piano Concerto No. 2, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique.”

May 20-21, 2022 • Thierry Fischer Conducts Messiaen, Smetana & Sibelius 2 (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor. Program: Messiaen’s “The Wood Thrush” and “Omao, leiothrix, elepaio, shama” from “Des canyons aux étoiles,” Smetana’s “The Moldau,” Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.

May 27-28, 2022 • Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Messiaen & Ravel (Masterworks Series) • Thierry Fischer, conductor; Veronika Eberle, violin. Program: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Messiaen’s “The resurrected and the song of the star Aldebaran” and “Zion Park and the Celestial City” from “Des canyons aux étoiles,” Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé” Suite No. 2.

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