2018-19 SuperOrchestra

Thierry Fischer speaking at Cottonwood High School

Thierry Fischer speaking with students at Cottonwood High School

Utah Symphony and Music Director Thierry Fischer announced a new Education Outreach project, “Adopt A School,” that highlights the value and significance of classical music for high school students, culminating with an opportunity for all high school musicians state-wide to join a “SuperOrchestra” conducted simultaneously via live stream by Maestro Fischer in May.

Adopt A School brings high school orchestra students into direct tutelage with Thierry Fischer in an opportunity designed to engage them and inspire their continued musical path. “Our goal is to raise a broad awareness that in addition to superb concerts on weekends in Abravanel Hall, the Utah Symphony is incredibly active in providing music education programs for students in our statewide community,” said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Education and Community Outreach Director Paula Fowler. “We want to create support and encouragement from Utah Symphony and its Music Director for classical music education in schools. We hope high school orchestras across the state will start rehearsing the same piece now, and make plans to play along with us in a statewide SuperOrchestra the morning of May 20, 2019.”

The school chosen for the 2018-19 Adopt A School program was Cottonwood High School. Each year, more than 100 Cottonwood orchestra students attend several Utah Symphony masterworks concerts with their music teach Amber Tuckness. Also, each year Cottonwood hosts the Utah Symphony in education concerts for schools in Granite School District.

“We are honored to be chosen by Utah Symphony to be directed by and to learn from Maestro Fischer as musicians, and be a part of Utah Symphony’s new Adopt A School program that inspires high school music students’ passion for classical music,” said Ms Tuckness. “Our student orchestra musicians get to listen to the Utah Symphony numerous times in a year at Abravanel Hall. Now it is our chance to create the music through their commitment to educational outreach. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students to work side by side with a professional music director.”

This unique project will draw attention to the Utah Symphony’s devotion to music education. The Utah Symphony performs approximately 60 concerts for students each season; more than 70,000 students each year get the opportunity to hear the Utah Symphony live in their schools or in Abravanel Hall.  The orchestra also offers family concerts, provides young musicians with professional performing opportunities, and features programs for special population audiences.

Paula Fowler, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Education and Community Outreach Director

At a preliminary meet and greet with the Cottonwood High School orchestra students in October, Maestro Fischer described a “transcendent feeling” when he first played a recorder, and in years following, as he trained to become a professional flute player. Describing music as an “invisible energy,” he spoke with a rapt room filled with 100 orchestra students about how it has the ability to transform your life through the impact it has on your soul. “I can only encourage you to continue to study music and work with your instruments. Learn about the notion of effort and discipline,” Maestro Fischer told the students, many of them nodding in agreement. “Studying music is not easy, but to be honest, what is easy in life? Mastering a sport is the same. If you want to run faster than your friend you have to train.”

As part of the program, Maestro Fischer will work with the students in an orchestra class setting in TWO teaching opportunities at the school on January 29, 2019 and March 14, 2019 to prepare Merle Isaac’s arrangement of Berceuse and Finale from Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite” which he will conduct on May 20, 2019 at Cottonwood High School.

“What I love about music is you practice something invisible…. You see your instrument but your instrument without your effort doesn’t produce anything. As you cannot see what you produce, all you can do is listen,” said Maestro Fischer. “You start feeling that invisible energy that I like to compare to wind. You go outside and because the wind is touching your face, you smile differently, you look differently. And when you go inside you are different because you had this invisible energy touching your soul.”

Occurring concurrently is an invitation to other high school orchestras to prepare Merle Isaac’s arrangement of Stravinsky’s Berceuse and Finale, and join in a final “Super Orchestra” performance conducted on May 20, 2019 by Thierry Fischer live at Cottonwood High School. It will be broadcast via the Utah Symphony’s Facebook Live to classrooms throughout the state.

This was a special project for the 2018-19 school year. However, if you are interested in participating in a future SuperOrchestra please contact Paula Fowler at pfowler@usuo.org or 801-869-9090.