The Utah Symphony has extended musical director Thierry Fischer’s contract through 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera)
The Utah Symphony has extended musical director Thierry Fischer's contract through 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera)

The Utah Symphony announced a contract extension for Music Director Thierry Fischer through the 2018-19. This extension marks what will become a decade-long tenure for Maestro Fischer who is currently finishing his fifth season with the orchestra.

Maestro Fischer has set forth an ambitious five-year plan for the organization's future, including new recordings, the presentation of a two-year Mahler cycle, and touring. The vision for the future includes a focus on the 75th anniversary activities during the 2015-16 season and a goal to elevate the orchestra nationally and internationally, showcasing the organization as a Utah state treasure on the world stage.

"The Utah Symphony's continuing success is very important to me and I'm grateful for the opportunity to carry on my efforts in helping to develop the orchestra into one of today's foremost ensembles," said Maestro Fischer. "I am very pleased to have taken a role in fostering future generations of the Utah Symphony, having had the opportunity to recruit almost 30 talented musicians to join our roster of accomplished players, and also happy to have cultivated relationships with today's most gifted soloists and composers."

"I am thrilled that Thierry Fischer has agreed to continue his artistic leadership of the Utah Symphony through the 2018-19 season," said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Melia Tourangeau.


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"His vision to lift the human spirit, his personal integrity and dedication to the next generation, and his commitment to challenge the orchestra and bring them to continually higher levels of excellence is inspiring to all of us and creates an enthusiasm that is contagious.

"The fact that Thierry chose this community for his first Music Directorship in the United States is a credit to the legacy of Maurice Abravanel and the wonderful leaders in the community who demonstrated the vision to build such a strong organization, I look forward to continuing our collaborative writing of the next great chapter in the history of this venerable organization," she said.

Maestro Fischer has revitalized the orchestra with the introduction of symphonic cycles on the Masterworks series such as Beethoven's nine symphonies in 2011-12, Mendelssohn's five symphonies in 2012-13, and 20th century Danish composer, Carl Nielsen's six symphonies in 2013-14.

Next season, Maestro Fischer will begin a two-season Mahler symphony cycle in honor of the Utah Symphony's former music director Maurice Abravanel, under whose baton the orchestra recorded a pioneering cycle of all nine Mahler symphonies including the first commercial recordings of the Seventh and Eighth symphonies. He has also programmed a multi-season exploration of the works of Stravinsky.

Under Maestro Fischer's guidance, the Utah Symphony has also developed a robust commissioning program of contemporary works including "Emergences - Nachlese VI", a piece composed by fellow Swiss countryman Michael Jarrell which debuted in early 2012. The following year in April, the orchestra presented the world-premiere of "Ellsworth 2" by Simon Holt at Abravanel Hall.

The Utah Symphony's 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons will see the world-premieres of three commissions by American composers -- Augusta Read Thomas' "EOS", a percussion concerto by Andrew Norman, and an additional commission to be announced as part of the Utah Symphony's 75th anniversary season.

Maestro Fischer commented: "I am passionate about our program to support yearly commissions because I truly believe that a symphony is not only a "museum" an orchestra needs to look to the future and support artistic endeavors as much as it pays tribute to the past. I am also incredibly proud of the invaluable work our education department is doing and will continue to support their efforts. I look forward to the coming years with this exceptional organization and leading the 75th anniversary celebrations that will take the orchestra beyond our great community to the national and international stages."

Maestro Fischer has shown great commitment to the organization by supporting all facets of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera brand and will make his debuts at the Deer Valley Music Festival leading the Utah Symphony in the chamber series in Park City this summer, and with Utah Opera conducting Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" in spring 2015.

Maestro Fischer's busy guest conducting career has taken him to orchestras as diverse as the Philharmonia (London), Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and Cincinnati Symphony, among others. In 2013-14 he made his debut with the Atlanta, Detroit, Oregon and Pacific symphonies and the Oslo Philharmonic, and conducted the BBC Symphony and Orchestre National de Bordeaux.

This summer he returns to the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and to the BBC Proms. In 2012 Maestro Fischer's recording for Hyperion Records of Frank Martin's opera "Der Sturm" with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus was awarded the International Classical Music Award. Other recent releases have included works by Honegger and Stravinsky with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

For more information, visit www.usuo.org.