10 May 2016

Media Highlights – Utah Symphony's Return to Carnegie Hall

The Utah Symphony’s return to Carnegie Hall was widely covered by both local and national media. Here is some highlights from the coverage of that evening’s concert.
Daniel Stephen Johnson, Musical America: Utah Symphony’s Impressive Carnegie Hall Comeback (login required)

“Ranking symphony orchestras is ultimately a useless little parlor game, but it can be difficult to resist, especially when a concert as breathtaking as the Utah Symphony’s recent visit to Carnegie Hall prompts a mental rearrangement of the scoreboard of modern American orchestras. …Thierry Fischer and his Salt Lake City band gave a performance as transporting as anything America’s more widely acknowledged cultural capitals have to offer. …Throughout the concert, the sound was beautifully balanced, from never-shrill violins and woodwinds to bass fiddling you could feel in your bones. Fischer managed to hint at the brutality lurking in these two scores without ever sacrificing control.”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times: Review: Premieres, a Tribute and an Anniversary at Carnegie Hall

“For this concert, the orchestra’s 75th anniversary, the mood in the hall was celebratory. Gary Herbert, the governor of Utah, as well as Mitt Romney attended. Crews from two Utah television stations came to report the big news. The inspired players excelled in an ambitious program that featured the New York premiere of Andrew Norman’s “Switch,” one of several recent Utah Symphony commissions. …Perhaps wanting to make up for lost decades of playing Carnegie, Mr. Fischer and the orchestra played two demanding early 20th-century works after intermission: selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and Bartok’s Suite from “The Miraculous Mandarin.” Both received exciting, colorful and fervent performances.”

Kurt Gottschalk, New York Classical Review: Utah Symphony shows versatility in return to Carnegie Hall

“The Utah strings dominated the textures throughout the evening. …The lines were clear and played with spirit in the opening movement and in the alternating dance and battle march of the Andante second movement. …After the light and jaunty first half, a set of five selections from Prokofiev’s beloved ballet Romeo and Juliet hit like a wrecking ball. Conductor Fischer put special emphasis on the dark, tragic tones of the lower register, steering in broad strokes in “Montagues and Capulets.” …The emotional import throughout seemed almost a transcription of Shakespeare’s play and the precision in their performance again made one wonder why rose the orchestra hadn’t played New York’s most famous hall for 40 years.”

Jack Angstreich, Film Festival Traveler: Utah Symphony Celebrates 75th Anniversary at Carnegie Hall

“On the evening of Friday, April 29th, an excellent concert was given at Carnegie Hall by the fine musicians of the Utah Symphony… under the assured direction of Thierry Fischer… The program opened with a graceful account of Franz Joseph Haydn’s appealing Symphony No. 96, “The Miracle”. …The concert reached its apotheosis at the outset of its second half with a thrilling performance of a selection of excerpts from Sergei Prokofiev’s dazzling ballet score, Romeo and Juliet, displaying to the fullest the superior musicianship of this orchestra.”

Djurdjija Vucinic. Berkshire Fine Arts: Utah Symphony Celebrates at Carnegie Hall

“…while Haydn was composer in residence with the famous German Mannheim Orchestra, the first dynamic signs such as crescendo and diminuendo appeared in his symphonic pieces. Consequently, this symphony (also known as Symphony of Surprise) is the prototype of that practice. The Utah orchestra depicted this masterfully, through the balance between wide-ranging dynamics. …Following Fischer’s conducting technique, you witness him following the sound picture he imagines, how he listens to the orchestra and guides them with no needless movements, but yet with precision.”

Thomas Burr, The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Symphony earns ovations at New York’s Carnegie Hall

Thunderous applause rang out at Carnegie Hall on Friday as patrons rose to their feet in celebration of the Utah Symphony’s performance at the storied venue. Fifty years after Maurice Abravanel first brought the company to the New York stage, the orchestra returned, playing four pieces that filled the ornate hall with colorful harmonies. …Music director Thierry Fischer delighted the crowd, guiding the orchestra through three classic pieces and a new offering that featured famed percussionist Colin Currie. The symphony opened with Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 96 in D Major, “The Miracle,” performed with most musicians standing the entire 21-minute set. The audience rewarded them with sustained applause.”

Gregory Walz, 15 Bytes, Utah Symphony returns to Carnegie Hall and elevates its national profile

The concert at Carnegie Hall was an unalloyed triumph, with a deeply probing yet lithe and witty Haydn Symphony No. 96, a raucous, rugged, densely textured, colored and propelled Switch, stunning in its evocations of cityscape verve; an intensely controlled yet exuberantly emotional set of five selections from Romeo and Juliet, and a dexterous yet fundamentally menacing and truly redemptive Suite from “The Miraculous Mandarin.””

Christopher Johnson, ZealNYC: Utah Symphony’s Triumphal Return to Carnegie Hall

Thierry Fischer… is the real thing: clear, direct, unfussy, totally into the music, and able to take you there with him. The new piece on the program seemed completely under control and fully expressive, and the classics were not just played, but inhabited—you felt that Fischer was specifically alive in every note, and that every member of the orchestra was, too. In practice, this meant, among other good things, that the dance-rhythms were nicely sprung and connected, and that rests were given their full rhetorical value. Some of the most familiar passages were especially fresh and powerful—the scene at Juliet’s tomb felt like a real funeral march, for once, and the pounding timpani-strokes in the “Death of Tybalt” were truly wrenching, because each one was individually considered, articulated, and colored. Though Fischer plainly takes no nonsense, the players seem truly fond of him, and insisted that he take a solo bow—honestly achieved and richly deserved—at the end.”

ABC4 News Coverage – Utah Symphony celebrates 75 years with Carnegie Hall concert
The concert day kicked off with Utah Symphony representatives joining Utah Governor and First Lady Herbert, as well as the President of the New York Stock Exchange, to ring the opening bell at the NYSE.