Utah Symphony director makes Deer Valley Music Festival debut
Ryan Summerlin August 5, 2014
On Wednesday, Aug. 6, Utah Symphony’s Music Director Thierry Fischer will make his Deer Valley Music Festival debut when he conducts a program at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The concert will include Mozart’s Symphony No. 36, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and Mozart’s Overture to the opera "Lucio Silla."
The next day, on Aug. 7, Maestro Fischer and renowned composer Nico Muhly, will present a free Art Talk and Q & A hosted by the Kimball Art Center at the Deer Crest Club at Deer Valley. The discussion will begin at 5 p.m.
Fischer was in Europe last week, but agreed to answer emailed questions from The Park Record regarding these two events.
Park Record: On Wednesday, Aug. 6, you will make your Deer Valley Music Festival debut. What are your thoughts about how it feels to finally have the opportunity to participate in the festival as music director for the Utah Symphony?
Thierry Fischer: I’m really excited to conduct for the first time during the Deer Valley Music Festival. I’ve been to St. Mary’s Church to listen to a concert only once before and it’s a very inspiring and acoustically beautiful place in the middle of the trees in a gorgeous green valley. The Deer Valley Music Festival represents a huge part of the Utah Symphony organization, and through our educational concerts, salon events and chamber series, we are connected to Park City throughout the entire year. I’m happy to be able to give my participation.
Park Record: How important is the festival to the Utah Symphony in terms of the orchestra having the opportunity to play 52-weeks a year.
Thierry Fischer: To me, it’s very clear that Utah Symphony | Utah Opera has three main components that are all linked by our educational outreach programs. They are Utah Symphony, Utah Opera and the Deer Valley Music Festival. The festival has an enormous impact on Park City from a tourism and culture standpoint for both the people who live in Utah but also out-of-state visitors. In addition, the popularity of our festival shows that people are excited about connecting with great live music. Utah Symphony has concerts and chamber events planned throughout the year in Park City so the festival represents our connection to the community.
Park Record: Wednesday’s program will consist of include Mozart’s Symphony No. 36, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and Mozart’s Overture to the opera "Lucio Silla." What were the influences that steered you to select these particular works? How do these three pieces complement each other and what order will you be directing them? Thierry Fischer: Since I was in St. Mary’s Church for the first item last year, I realized that it was a small stage with acoustic limitation. I wanted to stay in a repertoire and style that will fit this church’s personality. I didn’t want too many players, and I wanted to select pieces that allow for vibrancy and electricity. I thought the classical repertoire from the early 17th century was quite appropriate.
We open with a fairly unknown overture to Mozart’s opera "Lucio Silla" to whet the appetite. Then Mozart’s "Linz" symphony was written in a younger style. He composed it very quickly, so I chose it to show the naïve, youthful side of the composer and contrast with the Beethoven piece that will close the concert.
Beethoven Symphony No. 2 has been described as a "river of fire" so that’s what we’re going to finish with. [It’s] an electrifying Beethoven piece that I selected for all the traditional aspects he’s known for.
The following questions are about the Aug. 7, Art Talk event at the Deer Crest Club
Park Record: Will the Art Talk that you will present with Mr. Muhly be more like an event that will introduce you to Park City or will it be something more along the lines of discussion about the creative process of composers? Thierry Fischer: Nico and I will speak about the idea of creativity and how to make things alive and instructive as it relates to the notion of sounds. It’s introducing the notion of how to give access to musical creativity. We will speak metaphorically and explain the creative process of composers, and how we are inspired by what is surrounding us.
Park Record: I understand Mr. Muhly has been commissioned to compose for the Utah Symphony. How did that come about? Thierry Fischer: For our organization’s 75th anniversary, I thought it was important as an American orchestra for us to have a commission from a very special American composer that reflected our artistic vision, and was a really special collaboration. I had heard [his] piece, "Gait," performed by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain during summer 2012 and thought it was very organic, and featured a strong personality and musical concepts. For me, it opened doors immediately. I thought, "This guy is very interesting." When we had to make a concrete decision about an American composer for our 75th anniversary commission, I researched more of his works, met with him in New York City and felt an immediate creative synergy that embodies what we sought as an organization.
This guy is creativity from A to Z. He has a contagious enthusiasm, he is interesting and interested in stories. He loves nature and that’s why he is coming to Utah and is attracted to the internal process that begins from being alone in nature. [Nico] is a vibrant and intense person who is a symbol of creativity, an idea that we as an organization are celebrating in our 75th anniversary.
I think we’re privileged to have him coming on tour with us. It shows that he is writing not only for himself but with the vision and goal of reflecting how the organization views itself. He is creative, imaginative and visionary.
Park Record: Will you be giving the attendees a sneak preview of some of the music?
Thierry Fischer: Nico will be talking a lot about the commission for our 75th anniversary because this is the reason he is coming on the Mighty 5 Tour (which will be performed in Southern Utah). There will be no preview of the music, however, as he is just now embarking upon the initial creative process of the commission.
The Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival will continue with a chamber concert at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1505 White Pine Canyon Dr., on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $32 and available by visiting deervalleymusicfestival.org. On Thursday, Aug. 7, Fischer and composer Nico Muhly will give a free Art Talk at the Deer Crest at 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.kimballartcenter.org.