Utah Symphony Pops Conductor ready for Deer Valley Music Festival
June 30, 2015
The Utah Symphony will show its patriotic spirit when it opens the 2015 Deer Valley Music Festival on the Fourth of July.
The concert, dubbed Patriotic Pops, will be performed with full fanfare at the Snow Park Amphitheater beginning at 7:30 p.m. and the symphony’s Principal Pops Conductor Jerry Steichen can’t wait.
"This is going to be so much fun," Steichen told The Park Record during a telephone call from Longview, Texas. "I got together and rehearsed with Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard last week. They are the two vocalists who will perform the program at Deer Valley and they are just so wonderful." The concert will feature the music of Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hammerstein and country artist Lee Greenwood. (See story on A1).
The Patriotic Pops concert isn’t the only Deer Valley Music Festival show Steichen will conduct. Not event a week afterwards, he’ll be back for the ’40s-style swing of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on July 10 and the Motown soul of Smokey Robinson on July 11. Steichen will return a couple of weeks later for the world-Latin grooves of Ozomatli.
"What I love about working with the Utah Symphony is the versatility of the musicians," Steichen said. "They can go from performing Beethoven or Tchaikovsky one night and shift gears and turn around and play Ozomatli or Smokey Robinson."
The conductor will pull part-time duty with two other concerts during the festival — Tony Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth on Aug. 8 and Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Diana Krall on Aug. 14.
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"Diana brings in her own conductor, but I’ll conduct for the first half of the show," Steichen said. "We plan to perform some jazz that lead into what she’ll be doing, which are the Great American Songbook.
"The same thing will happen with the Kristin a week earlier," he said. "Which is great, because Kristin and I attended the Oklahoma City University together and I actually played for her first vocal lesson."
It was at OCU where Steichen learned the importance of musical diversity.
"I found that it didn’t matter if you were doing chamber music, opera or musical theater or standard jazz tunes," he said. "It was all about the quality of the work."
Steichen made his Utah Symphony debut during the 2002 Olympics Cultural Olympiad, with a performance of selections from Stephen Sondheim’s "A Little Night Music."
"It’s been an incredible journey since then and I still love coming out to Utah, where I feel so much at home," he said. "Even the people I see in New York know the drill. When I get on the plane they ask, ‘Oh, is this symphony week, Jerry?’ It’s so much fun."
Throughout the years, Steichen has seen how the artists have responded to different music directors.
"When I started with the Utah Symphony, the music director was Maestro Keith Lockhart, who brought so much energy and enthusiasm to the orchestra," Steichen said. "Now, seeing how Maestro Thierry Fischer asks for a different level and caliber of playing is amazing.
"I kind of fly in and lead my concerts and leave, so the music director is really the one who shapes what the orchestra sounds like," he said. "Thierry has done a wonderful job and has been a great supporter of mine. I really enjoy working with him."
In addition to working with the world-class musicians, Steichen looks forward to the performances at the Snow Park Amphitheater.
"I think Deer Valley is magical, whether it’s during the winter for skiing or especially during the Deer Valley Music Festival," he said. "There is nothing that matches coming up to the mountain to sit on the bunny slope and hear incredible music."
4 —Patriotic Pops with the Utah Symphony, conductor Jerry Steichen, vocalists Beth Southard and Gary Mauer, 7:30 p.m.
10 —Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, conductor Jerry Steichen, 7:30 p.m.
11 —Smokey Robinson with the Utah Symphony, conductor Jerry Steichen, 7:30 p.m.
17 —Disney’s "Fantasia: Live in Concert," conductor Richard Kaufman, 7:30 p.m.
18 —Classical Mystery Tour, conductor Martin Herman, 7:30 p.m.
24 —Country Legends, conductor Randy Fleischer, vocalists Rachel Potter and Patrick Thomas, 7:30 p.m.
25 —The Songs of Frank Sinatra, 7:30 p.m.
31 —Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, conductor Vladimir Kulenovic, pianist Chi Ho Han and Cannoners of the Wasatch, 7:30 p.m.
1 —Ozomatli, conductor Jerry Steichen, 7:30 p.m.
7 —Hollywood Under the Stars, conductor Richard Kaufman, 7:30 p.m.
8 —Kristin Chenoweth, 7:30 p.m.
14 — Diana Krall, 7:30 p.m.
For more information and tickets for the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival, visit http://www.deervalleymusicfestival.org .
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