Utah national parks to serve as the setting for symphony performances

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of five parks that will host the Utah Symphony in August.
Bryce Canyon National Park is one of five parks that will host the Utah Symphony in August.
(Tom Till / Visit Utah)

The Utah Symphony next month will bring its music to the state’s Mighty 5 national parks: Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon and Zion.

As a prelude to the symphony‘s 75th anniversary celebration next year, the full orchestra will perform in the parks the nights of Aug. 12, 14, 15 and 16; the concert on Aug. 14 will take place at Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, near Arches and Canyonlands.

Programs will begin at 8 p.m. and include music from Dvorak’s “From the New World” Symphony No. 9; the orchestral suite from Bizet’s “Carmen”; and several pieces by George Gershwin.

Utah native Celena Shafer, a soprano who sings with the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera, also will perform.


Besides the full-orchestra concerts, starting Aug. 11, there will be evening chamber music programs, performed by the Utah Symphony’s brass and string ensembles and by Aspen Winds.

Educational activities--such as demonstrations of bird songs and lessons on reproducing them--also will be offered at the various parks during the day.

“When I first visited Utah’s national parks, I was awestruck by the pristine beauty of the landscape,” said Thierry Fischer, a Swiss conductor who was named the symphony’s music director in 2009.

“One could almost imagine an accompaniment of classical music echoing off the red rocks and canyons. The ‘Mighty 5' tour is a great opportunity to combine the beauty of nature and transcendent energy of sound.”

Composer Nico Muhly, who has been commissioned to write a work using these national parks as inspiration for the symphony’s 75th anniversary season, will travel with the orchestra on the tour and be joined by a video designer who will film a video installation that will accompany his commission.

All performances during the tour will be free, though tickets will be required for admission to the four full-orchestra concerts. Tickets may still be available; standby tickets also will be available the night of each performance starting at 7:30 p.m.

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