Salt Lake City, Utah (May 24, 2017) – Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Paul Meecham and Board Chair Dave Petersen today announced an extension of Thierry Fischer’s contract as Utah Symphony Music Director through the 2021-22 season. The agreement extends the current contract, set to expire at the end of the 2018-19 season, for an additional three years. Mr. Fischer was named Music Director in September 2009, and his first full season in this role was the Utah Symphony’s 2011-12 season.
“I am thrilled that Thierry Fischer will continue his artistic leadership of the Utah Symphony through the 2021-22 season. His commitment and dedication to the musicians of the orchestra and to the community at large, coupled with his interest in inspiring audiences of all ages, make him a visionary leader who elevates and strengthens our organization,” said Mr. Meecham. “Thierry challenges us to reach for higher goals and to achieve relevancy and impact in the community. We are fortunate to benefit from his infectious spirit and look forward to creating more great musical moments together as we continue to build the international reputation of the orchestra.”
“The entire board is very enthusiastic that Thierry Fischer has renewed his contract. His commitment to the organization, his charismatic and sincere demeanor with patrons and donors alike, and his pursuit of artistic excellence make him a music director we continue to support unanimously,” said Mr. Petersen. “Thierry brings a vibrancy, dedication, and leadership that reflects the mission of the entire organization to engage and inspire the people of Utah through great live music. We are proud to have him with us into the 2021-22 season.”
“It has been an exciting six seasons to work with the musicians, staff and directors of the Utah Symphony. I am most proud of what has been achieved in developing our artistic vision and enhancing our profile in Utah and beyond,” said Mr. Fischer. “Together with Paul Meecham and incoming Board Chair Kem Gardner, I hope to bring an energetic vision to the orchestra’s future over the next five years that will further enhance its standing and reputation throughout the state, the country and the world.”
Highlights of Mr. Fischer’s tenure as Music Director include leading the orchestra’s first concert at Carnegie Hall in 40 years, two recordings including the signing of a recent contract with European label Hyperion, the Mighty 5® Tour of Utah’s national parks, and collaborations with community performing arts organizations, among other initiatives. As a follow up to the Mighty 5® Tour, he led the orchestra in the recording of the soundtrack for a KUED documentary on the national parks – which later won five regional EMMY awards – and served as the film’s narrator. Most recently he joined 16 musicians of the Utah Symphony for a week-long educational service mission to teach more than 100 classical music students and teachers in Haiti.
A hallmark of Mr. Fischer’s tenure as Music Director has been the performance of complete symphonic cycles by a variety of composers, including Beethoven (2011-12), Mendelssohn (2012-13), and Nielsen (2013-14). In 2014-15, Mr. Fischer began a two-season Mahler symphony cycle in honor of the Utah Symphony’s former Music Director Maurice Abravanel, under whose baton the orchestra recorded the first complete cycle by an American orchestra of all nine Mahler symphonies. He has also programmed a multi-season exploration of the works of Stravinsky, which included Mr. Fischer’s Utah Opera debut conducting The Rake’s Progress, and during the 2016-17 season, three full composer cycles featuring all five Beethoven piano concertos, all four Brahms symphonies, and all four Ives symphonies. Scheduled for the 2017-18 season is a Saint-Saëns symphony cycle, to be released on three discs by Hyperion. The Utah Symphony will become the first U.S. orchestra to record all five symphonies by Saint-Saëns.
Under Mr. Fischer’s guidance, the Utah Symphony has also developed a commissioning program of contemporary works, including two pieces composed by his fellow Swiss countryman Michael Jarrell: Emergences – Nachlese VI, which debuted in early 2012, and Aquateinte in February 2017. In 2013, the orchestra gave the world premiere of Ellsworth 2 by Simon Holt. The Utah Symphony’s 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons saw the world premieres of three commissions by American composers: Augusta Read Thomas’ EOS; a percussion concerto, Switch, by Andrew Norman; and Control by Nico Muhly. EOS, Switch, and Control were recorded live and released on Reference Recordings as the orchestra’s second album under Mr. Fischer, titled Dawn to Dust. Mr. Norman’s Switch was also performed at the Utah Symphony’s April 2016 Carnegie Hall concert.
In addition to being Music Director of the Utah Symphony, Mr. Fischer is principal guest conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he began his tenure in March 2017, and honorary guest conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra.
Within the last few years he has conducted the London Philharmonic at the Royal Festival Hall, toured with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and debuted at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York and at the Maggio Musicale Festival in Florence. In recent years he has also guest conducted the Atlanta, BBC, Boston, Cincinnati, and Detroit Symphonies; London Sinfonietta; Munich and Swedish Chamber Orchestras; Orchestre de la Suisse Romande; Oslo and Rotterdam Philharmonics; and Salzburg Mozarteumorchester.
About the Utah Symphony
Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony performs more than 175 concerts each season and offers all Utahns access to world-class live performances of the world’s greatest music in the state’s top venues. Since being named the orchestra’s seventh Music Director in 2009, Thierry Fischer has attracted leading musicians and top soloists, refreshed programming, drawn increased audiences, and galvanized community support. In addition to numerous regional and domestic tours, including the Mighty 5® Tour of Utah’s national parks, the Utah Symphony has embarked on seven international tours—from Europe to Central and South America—and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2016 coinciding with the orchestra’s 75th anniversary celebrations.
The Utah Symphony has released more than 100 recordings, including, most recently, two albums for Reference Recordings: Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Dawn to Dust, which features three Utah Symphony-commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas. Included in the Utah Symphony’s discography with its former Music Director of 30 years, Maurice Abravanel, are the complete Mahler symphonies and premiere recordings of works by Honegger, Milhaud, Rorem, Satie, Schuman, and Varèse.
In 2002, the Utah Symphony merged with the Utah Opera, and the orchestra engages in music outreach initiatives through the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Education Department. These initiatives include child-friendly Family Series concerts, pre-performance lectures before every classical symphony and opera performance, and other special learning events and activities for adults in conjunction with the Deer Valley Music Festival, the summer home of Utah Symphony.
For more information about the orchestra, visit utahsymphony.org.