by Jonathon Miles, Utah Symphony
The Utah Symphony and Music Director Thierry Fischer, along with Governor Spencer Cox, announce the “Forever Mighty® Tour,” as part of Utah’s 125th anniversary celebration.
Featuring concerts from August 10-14, the orchestra travels more than 500 miles to rural communities throughout the state on the tour, making stops in Wellsville, Helper, Bryce Canyon and Kanab before finishing in Springdale at the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater in Zion Canyon. Tickets for performances are free and available Friday, May 28, 2021, at 12 p.m. MDT, at utahsymphony.org.
“Nothing could be finer than an evening with the Utah Symphony in some of the most dramatic and inspiring settings throughout the state,” Governor Spencer Cox said. “Now that we can gather safely again, I urge all Utahns to celebrate the state’s 125th anniversary by taking advantage of these unique cultural opportunities that will fill the soul.”
The “Forever Mighty® Tour” builds on the success of the Utah Symphony’s 2014 “Mighty 5® Tour” and 2017 “Great American Road Trip Tour,” both of which also featured the orchestra performing in beautiful outdoor settings in rural Utah communities. This year’s tour is created in collaboration with the Utah Office of Tourism’s “Forever Mighty®” initiative, which encourages visitors and residents to travel responsibly to help ensure strong communities and preserve cherished parks and outdoor recreation access, and the Utah Department of Cultural and Community Engagement’s Thrive125 statewide celebration of Utah’s 125th anniversary of statehood.
“As residents, we experience how exquisite Utah is – from our landscapes to our communities and cultures, there is no other place like it in the world,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. “The Forever Mighty® Symphony Tour will celebrate our pride in place, engage with the surrounding landscapes through music and build communities by supporting local businesses.”
While the Utah Symphony’s recent state tours primarily visited communities in Southern Utah’s red rock country, this tour kicks off in northern Utah with the full orchestra performing in Cache Valley at the foot of the majestic Wellsville Mountains at the American West Heritage Center on August 10.
Two of Utah’s Mighty 5® National Parks are highlighted on the tour with concerts on the rim of Bryce Canyon at Ruby’s Inn on August 12, and at the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater with the cliffs of Zion Canyon as a stunning backdrop in Springdale on August 14.
A chamber orchestra performs on August 11, at the Historic Main Street in Helper, a mining and railroad town that has reinvented itself as a destination for artists, and on August 13, in Kanab, at Angels Landing, a natural amphitheater at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary - the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless animals. A free tour preview concert is presented at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City on August 4.
“Utah has some of the most beautiful scenery in our country, and hearing the Utah Symphony perform outside in these breathtaking landscapes will be a treat for both the ears and eyes,” said Steven Brosvik, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO. “From the steep, towering mountains in Cache Valley to the red sandstone cliffs in Kanab, each concert presents a unique, memorable opportunity to experience world-class orchestral music.”
Joining the Utah Symphony on tour for concerts in Wellsville, Bryce and Springdale is violinist Aubree Oliverson, a 22-year-old Utah native with an international career who made her solo debut with the Utah Symphony at the age of eleven. Oliverson performs selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir d’un lieu cher,” John Williams’ arrangement of “Tango” from “Por una Cabeza” by Carlos Gardel and “Summer, III. Presto” from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” Fischer conducts “Nimrod” from Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” in memory of the lives lost to the pandemic and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” to honor the 125th Anniversary of Utah, the Beehive State. “Jupiter” from Holst’s “The Planets” and John William’s Main Theme from “Star Wars” are included on the full-orchestra programs as a nod to Utah’s vast catalog of International Dark Sky Parks and Communities.
“Imagine listening to Rachmaninoff as the sun sets over Bryce Canyon or hearing Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in the natural red rock amphitheater of Kanab’s Angels Landing,” said music director Thierry Fischer. “The undeniable connection between music and the natural world will leave audiences inspired, connected and rejuvenated.”
Partnerships with local community groups and education opportunities for students are an important part of the tour, including an activity booklet at concerts for students created by the Utah Symphony Education Department, presentations of the Utah Symphony’s “Get to Know the String Quartet” program for families and students, and tables at concerts for local community groups.
The Utah Symphony also collaborates with the Natural History Museum of Utah to promote the Natural History Explorer Corps, an educational road trip adventure through Utah’s 29 counties that encourages Utahns and tourists to find and discover a natural history wonder in every Utah county.
The State of Utah and Thrive125 are the lead sponsors for the tour, which is also sponsored by presenting sponsor Zions Bank, orchestra sponsor Dominion Energy and conductor sponsor the Joseph and Kathleen Sorenson Legacy Foundation. The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation is the season sponsor for Utah Symphony.
“We have exceptional performers and musicians in Utah, and it’s important for everyone to have the opportunity to experience them live and in-person,” said Jill Remington Love, executive director of the Utah Department of Cultural and Community Engagement. “For that reason, we are proud to support this tour by Utah Symphony | Utah Opera as part of the Thrive125 statehood celebrations taking place throughout the year.
“This tour will bring us together under an umbrella of shared history, help all of us look forward to a great 2021 and celebrate the potential for another exceptional 125 years as Utahns.”