Instrumental Players – Mark Davidson
“Instrumental Players” is a blog series that aims to highlight Utah Symphony musicians as part of the Deer Valley® Music Festival and discover what they love most about Park City, the orchestra’s summer home. This piece features Utah Symphony trombonist Mark Davidson.
“The Utah Symphony has a unique spirit… a lively, hopeful, positive spirit. It’s very uplifting and energetic. It’s something you want to be around. I’m very happy to call the Utah Symphony my job and Utah my home. I see it as a very positive place and collaborative environment.”
– Mark Davidson
Utah Symphony Principal Trombonist Mark Davidson is not only an accomplished musician, but also an enthusiastic mountain biker and hiker. A native of Dallas, Texas, Mark was most surprised by Utah’s flourishing outdoor scene when he moved to Salt Lake City in 2013. “There is an outdoor scene here that I’ve never really experienced anywhere else,” Mark says, “Not just that it’s pretty and there’s scenery, but there’s such a wide variety of things you can do outdoors here…. That’s probably been the biggest thing to get acclimated to… using that as kind of a new way of life. It’s definitely been a great thing.”
Fortunately Mark didn’t have to familiarize himself with Utah’s outdoor scene on his own. Many people in the symphony participate in Utah’s outdoor activities, and were more than happy to introduce Mark to new hobbies. “It seems like there’s an expert in the orchestra in every possible sport or hobby you can imagine, from fly fishing to kayaking, canoeing to mountain biking, or hiking,” said Mark. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve been lucky enough to go out with a few of them in their expertise.” He has enjoyed exploring many outdoor activities with orchestra members, but says that his biggest developing passions are mountain biking, road biking, and hiking.
Sometimes Mark will take the time to explore hikes and trails in Park City before or after the orchestra’s rehearsals and concerts for the Deer Valley® Music Festival. His favorite mountain biking trails include Flying Dog Trail and Jenni’s Trail.
In discussing his favorite hiking trails, Mark said, “One of my favorite hikes (not just in Park City, but anywhere) is Summit Park Peak. It’s in Park City West and about six miles. It’s up in the pine trees and it’s just absolutely beautiful. The best time to do it is starting around 4pm so you’ll finish up around 8pm. That is a really special time for me to be in Park City. There’s an ambiance there that I’ve just never experienced in other places.”
Mark not only enjoys participating in the outdoor activities that Park City offers, but also appreciates the opportunity to perform music in the magnificent scenery as part of the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley® Music Festival. He says, “Deer Valley is probably one of the most unique venues I’ve ever played in. Sometimes you’re playing in concert and briefly looking out at the conductor from the music and you’ll spot a deer in the distance.”
He also enjoys the festival’s capacity to reach out to new audiences. He feels that the festival’s lineup of guest artists and popular music attract new audiences that might not usually attend a symphony concert. This year, Mark is most looking forward to performing in “The B52s” concert on July 9, “The Music of David Bowie” concert on July 23, the “DreamWorks Animation” concert on July 29, and “The Music of John Williams” concert on August 6. He especially enjoys playing the pieces by John Williams due to the famous and distinct brass melodies. Mark says, “It’s a heavier concert in the brass department. It has a lot of great music that features the orchestra and is very popular music. I think the musicians enjoy playing it since it’s music they’re very familiar with. For audiences, it’s very attractive to all ages.”
Mark’s Park City Restaurant Recommendation
Ritual Chocolate (1105 Iron Horse Dr, Park City, UT 84060) –
“They make their own artesian chocolates and they have specialty coffee drinks like cortados.”
Windy Ridge Bakery (1255 Iron Horse Dr, Park City, UT 84060) –
“I’ve tried all the bakeries in town and I think they’re one of the best.”
Deer Valley Grocery Café (1375 Deer Valley Dr, Park City, UT 84060) –
Sometimes Mark likes to come here for a quick bite or cup of coffee before concerts. It is conveniently located near the Deer Valley® Snow Park Amphitheater.