11 Jul 2020

Behind the Music

By Abby Shemwell

During the last few months when live music has seemed an impossible luxury to obtain, musicians around the globe have used technology to create equally incredible music experiences that you can watch and listen to from anywhere—including your living room and headphones. 

Four of our Utah Symphony musicians found ways to connect the community through music virtually when they formed a task force near the end of March. Concertmaster Madeline Adkins, Principal Trumpet Travis Peterson, Principal Keyboard Jason Hardink, and violinist David Porter have each led different play-from-home video projects to share with the USUO audience on online platforms.

Beethoven No. 7 Second and Fourth Movements:


For these videos, Concertmaster Madeline Adkins decided to pair iconic locations in Utah with previous concert recordings to create a visually stunning experience. These were first shared during USUO’s 80th Anniversary Celebration on May 19, 2020.

“We filmed everybody over the course of one day—morning on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to evening sunset at the Salt Flats, and everywhere in between,” Adkins said. “I decided I’d just figure it out as we went along and everything fell into place over the course of the two weeks we worked on the project.”

“Fanfare of Hope and Solidarity” by Augusta Read Thomas:

Music Director Thierry Fischer asked Augusta Read Thomas to create a new four-minute piece for the Utah Symphony to perform from home. Within two weeks, she sent back this lively fanfare. The musicians recorded themselves playing their parts and Andrea Peterson edited a video to accompany it. Principal Trumpet Travis Peterson reached out to his friend Stoker White, an audio engineer who helped edit the sound of this and other USUO play-from-home videos.

“More than anything right now, I think it’s really important that we are creating content while we’re not performing,” Principal Trumpet Travis Peterson said. “People need this sort of access to the performing arts and to live music.”

The Beethoven and Thomas projects followed a similar process, with at-home recordings being compiled into a cohesive video performance. While similar in nature, our next play-from-home project used a slightly different approach: video conferencing software.

“Longing from Afar” by Dai Fujikura:

Principal Keyboard Jason Hardink spearheaded this project, which we shared on Facebook and YouTube on May 30, 2020. Led by Conductor Thierry Fischer, 22 musicians played this piece together on a Zoom call. Their performance was recorded live, edited, and shared. For more information about this project, check out our previous article about its premiere here.

While we certainly miss connecting the community through great live music, these play-from-home videos have provided an accessible and exciting alternative for musicians and listeners alike. We thank our talented and adaptable musicians for stepping into new roles and continuing to share their art when it is needed most.