Displaying items by tag: Utah Philharmonia

University of Utah’s Utah Philharmonia will channel the mystique of supernatural folklore at this year’s “Haunted Orchestra: Myths and Legends,” Oct. 24-25 in Libby Gardner Concert Hall. 

For 18 years the Utah Philharmonia has delighted audiences with its annual Halloween concert. In previous years the orchestra performed scores from "The Phantom of the Opera” and “Star Wars,” becoming an anticipated favorite and family tradition. This year the orchestra will perform selections from the movie “Thor,” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” plus other Halloween favorites.  

U School of Dance has been collaborating with the Haunted Orchestra since 2004 featuring a variety of works over the years including excerpts from “Star Wars” and “The Firebird.” 

Student choreographers Emma Furukawa and Sana Tepley have been working on developing choreography to accompany "Uranus, The Magician" from Holst's “The Planets” as part of the concert. Seven dancers will make use of the spectacular space in LGCH to entertain the audience with Harry Potter-inspired choreography.  

The entire orchestra will be dressed in costume including the conductors. Attendees are encouraged to wear their costumes too. The annual costume parade will showcase audience members of all ages. Concert starts at 7:30 p.m. 

Admission is $12.50 for adults and $6.50 for students and children/faculty and staff/seniors. The event is free for U students through Arts Pass a.k.a their Ucard. Tickets may be purchased from Kingsbury Hall Ticket Office, at the door, or by calling (801) 581-7100. For more info visit, tickets.utah.edu.

Published in Finer Points Blog

On September 19th, the University of Utah’s premiere orchestra, the 85-member Utah Philharmoniarob baldwin4 will perform with students from the prestigious Wuhan University in China in a concert that explores cultural musical traditions and builds international student relationships.

To gain insight into this exciting program, we spoke with Director of Orchestral Activities and School of Music professor Robert Baldwin about his inspirations surrounding this collaboration and what most excites him about bringing Wuhan University’s students to the U campus.

Can you tell us about the program’s selections and what inspired them?

We are going to truly share this concert with our friends from Wuhan, China. This means we will be sitting side by side, making music together.

The first half of the program will feature two American and two Chinese selections. George Chadwick’s “Jubilee” and Charles Ives’s “Fugue from Symphony No. 4” will represent the American works. I wanted to share music that was not too cliché (so no “Stars and Stripes” or Cowboy music for example), but still quintessentially American in sound.

We will contrast that with two orchestral works that Dr. Bo Wu is bringing from China. On the second half, we will play one of the monuments of the repertoire, Camille Saint-Saëns’s “Organ Symphony.” It’s a massively powerful work that will utilize the combined forces and showcase the organ in Libby Gardner Hall. School of Music alumni, David Fox, will be the featured organist.

What is most exciting about this meeting of students from the U and Wuhan University?

I feel it is important anytime we can bring people together. The arts do this better than almost anything else because it relies on collaboration and sharing. We all need to work together to make a concert happen, and in doing so we concentrate on the goal rather than our differences.

From my experience, in the end, we realize that we are all essentially the same at the core. I believe the audience picks up on this as well. This generation of students represents the future. I know that sounds cliché, but I also know that coming together like this will be something they remember for the rest of their lives. Who knows where it might lead?

Another exciting element of this concert is the return of one of our alums, Dr. Bo Wu to the Libby Gardner Concert Hall stage. Dr. Wu will be sharing the conducting podium with one of his former classmates, Dr. Lawrence Spell. Both are exciting and capable young conductors. It is very gratifying for me as a teacher to watch their careers develop. The U of U is producing some very promising careers in the Arts!

Finally, we hope this is not a one-time shot,. The students of the Utah Philharmonia hope to be able to travel to China next year and return the favor of their stage, renewing these friendships that have formed over music. More than just a “trip,” this is the path towards future understanding.

What musical traditions do you feel the students share, and what major differences do you see?

The western classical music tradition is solidly established in the U.S. and becoming more readily seen in China as well.

I’ve had the good fortune to conduct in two Chinese cities and was amazed at the depth and enthusiasm for western classical music there. Classical music is everywhere. I’ve been amazed that the concerts I’ve conducted in China have been sold out. I’m sure that’s because of the music. Whether it is curiosity or love of the music doesn’t matter—they keep coming back!

Famous European and American orchestras regularly tour there, but there are also many good local orchestras, Symphony Orchestras, in almost every city in China. The power of Beethoven’s music speaks across time and culture!

I think that China has a bright future in terms of western classical music. I’m also certain that they are in a period of exciting discovery, as more of their composers write for symphony orchestras. There is some really exciting music being produced now in China, and it is different from what an American composer might create. But we must remember that those American composers’ works also sounded different from their European counterparts.

Culture has a way of shaping art, and vice versa. So, yes, I hear some differences in terms of the scales employed, and perhaps also the form and rhythm in Chinese music. But overall, that which survives is nonetheless good music. From my perspective, the musical traditions of China are evolving in exciting ways, and at a very fast rate, much like America was at the time of Chadwick and Ives, the composers whose works will open the concert.

The concert will take place at 7:30 PM at Libby Gardner Concert Hall. Get tickets here
Don’t forget that this event is FREE to U of U students through Arts Pass (just bring your UCard)!
We hope to see you there!

Published in Finer Points Blog

Come experience a unique concert of traditional middle eastern arrangements. The Utah Philharmonia, in partnership with the Middle East Center presents The Sands of Time: Journey through the Middle East, with special guests Monika Jalili and ensemble.

Jalili and her ensemble have been performing since 2005 with the goal of sharing the history of Persian culture through its music and poetry. Her ensemble includes: Shane Shanahan, percussion; Megan Gould, violin; and Zeb Gould, guitar.

In a rehearsal, Jalili explained to the orchestra, this concert is not only about sharing the beautiful music of Iran, but also to show the connection music has all around the world. The songs she will be singing are rich in Persian culture, but also have universal themes such as love, loss, and friendship.

"I am so excited for this concert. All of this music is very special and I think that the audience will really be inspired by these pieces especially getting to hear music from Iran," said Nava Payandeh, a junior at the University of Utah and a member of the orchestra.

Also on the program is Shalan Alhamwy's Two Images from Aleppo. Alhamwy is a Syrian refugee who wrote the piece to encapsulate the problems people have gone through in Syria. He hopes his piece will give the audience a glimpse of the chaos people endured trying to escape the Syrian War. Following this sobering work is one of hope. Mohammed Fairouz's Pax Universalis, which translates into world peace, is full of vibrant rhythms and melodies.

The concert will be directed by Robert Baldwin. "We are truly fortunate to be able to learn and share this music from around the world,” said Baldwin. “If we also promote better understanding and goodwill that would be a welcome bonus to what promises to be a fantastic evening of music."

Date and time: 12/6 at 7:30P
Libby Gardner Concert Hall
Ticket information: General Admission: $12.50, Arts Pass event: Free for U of U students with UCard, Non-U of U Students: $6.50, Faculty, Staff, Seniors: $6.50


Purchase Tickets

Published in Finer Points Blog

For seventeen years, The Utah Philharmonia has embraced the Halloween spirit through its annual haunted orchestra performances. The orchestra will wear costumes while performing Broadway hits, 10/25 and 26 at 7:30P in the Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

Each music selection showcases the haunted side of orchestra. Directed by Dr. Robert Baldwin, this family friendly production will feature songs from popular musicals like, Phantom of the Opera, its sequel, Love Never Dies and Young Frankenstein. Guests will enjoy songs like “Think of Me,” “Masquerade,” and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.”

Classical music selections such as MacDowell's In a Haunted Forest, movements from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition accompanied accompanied by the School of Dance, and Mozart's “Queen of the Night” aria from The Magic Flute will also be performed. This aria is one of the most recognizable pieces in the classical genre and captures the darker side of music. It depicts the Queen of the Night in fit of vengeful rage encouraging her daughter to kill her rival.

Organist Logan Blackman will play the 3,838-pipe organ that looms over the stage, alongside the orchestra in their rendition of the famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J.S. Bach.

Frankenstein will also make an appearance as the orchestra plays music from the musical Young
Frankenstein featuring actors and singers from the the Department of Theatre.

Guests of all ages are encouraged to come in costume and participate in the costume parade as the orchestra plays the Phantom Regiment. This event is expected to sell out. Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting the Kingsbury Box office, online or by calling 801-581-7100.



Published in Finer Points Blog

 By Emina Tatarevic

 The Utah Philharmonia’s yearly Halloween event has become tradition for students and families who await its arrival each October.  The Haunted Orchestra came back this last month, full force, for its sixteenth year with a theme that was sure to live up to audiences’ expectations: Star Wars.  Performers and attendees alike donned their Halloween best for an event that merged music, dance, and theater.  The 16th Annual Haunted Orchestra Concert, The Power of the Dark Side, was an eclectic mix of classic Star Wars themes, Disney throwbacks, and lively Bluegrass inspired twists. 

 UnknownIn collaboration with special guests College of Fine Arts Dance students, Music Director and Conductor, Robert Baldwin, composed an interdisciplinary evening that engaged attendees on more than just an aural level. Tia Sandman and Ashley Chin-Mark, School of Dance students, choreographed the evenings’ opening score: John Williams’ “Scherzo for X-Wings.”  Bringing the classic tale to life, dancers beamed around the audience as the costumed conductor, Matthew Mainella, led the orchestra in an energetic performance that launched the rest of the evening’s events.  This isn’t the first year CFA students have been invited by the Utah Philharmonia, choreographer Ashley is thankful for this partnership that brings in students to be inspired and create work for audiences: “Two words. ‘Star Wars.’ My heart soared to the ends of the galaxy when I found out this year's concert theme was Star Wars. I embraced the task of choosing characters and arranging the plotline to represent the industry and fandom with the utmost accuracy.”  Her experience in partnering with the music group was distinct because “the directors and conductors from the School of Music, Dr. Baldwin and Matthew Mainella, were experienced.  They worked together with the dancers on understanding tempos and finding cues. We really appreciate that they invite the School of Dance to collaborate with them for their annual Halloween Concert year after year!” 


This Halloween custom invites spectators to experience orchestral music and dance through familiar stories and themes.  The Utah Philharmonia delivered a performance not soon to be forgotten and one that will keep us looking forward to what they’ll come up with next.





Published in Finer Points Blog