Letter: Observations from a thirty-eight-year-member of the Utah Symphony: Here’s hoping home will always be Abravanel Hall

Abravanel Hall is one of the acoustically best and most beautiful halls in the world. It is a monument to what can happen when there is shared purpose and appreciation of cultural values, as Richard Eyre documented. Additional observations from a retired, thirty-eight-year-member of the Utah Symphony follow.

Having sat and played on the stages of great halls throughout the world, I never looked out on a hall as beautiful as ours or enjoyed playing in those halls as much. Proposals for changes to the interior of the hall are, I believe, without merit. The likelihood of improvement in acoustics is slim. Acoustics is more art than science, attested to by the controversy over the very costly, supposedly acoustically perfect hall, in Hamburg, Germany. Other changes may be needed, but changes to the interior hall are not, and could easily backfire. Renovation costs would be much lower with only essential upgrades.

The option of tearing down this monument to architecture, music and vision, seems shortsighted and foolish.

The Utah Symphony under Abravanel put Utah on the map world-wide. In 1967 in Bogota, Colombia, (then two million population) I sought out a recording of Mahler’s First Symphony. The available recording was by the Utah Symphony! Through recordings and international tours, Utah and Salt Lake City became a shining example of support for what could be our legacy: beauty — in the form of great music, great dance, great architecture and art. These are what civilizations and cultures are best remembered for. The arts promote the uplifting of the human soul and unify people in a unique way through love and collaboration, not opposition.

Symphony orchestras cannot be bought and sold or moved to a different city. Home will always be Salt Lake City and, let’s hope, Abravanel Hall.

Bonnie Mangold, Teasdale

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