As far as season openers go, Utah Symphony’s is a bit of a wild card. Some companies go big up front; some labor toward a finale that’ll bring the season to a climactic close come spring. In this case, Utah Symphony’s year will open with a Beethoven & Brahms concert, led not by their new music director, Thierry Fischer, but by guest conductor Hannu Lintu. Oh, yeah, and they will start the evening with The Star-Spangled Banner.
But like most Utah Symphony seasons, this one will run the gamut of audience familiarity. There will be the annual “Messiah” sing-along, plus popular offerings such as ABBA and live renditions of the Discovery Channel’s Blue Planet and The Wizard of Oz with orchestra. There will also be a look into the romance that inspired Robert and Clara Schumann, Barber’s Violin Concerto and Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” with many other popular composers’ works. For the Beethoven & Brahms opener, the symphony will feature Beethoven’s “recollections of country life” with his Symphony No. 6 in F Major, op. 68 (“Pastorale”), followed by the drama of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring pianist Louis Lortie.
Get the season started with the wild card, and keep up with the season all the way through the crescendo. Come the end of May 2011, concertgoers can experience the spark created by one of the most controversial pieces in classical history: Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.