In partnership with Utah Valley University, the Utah Symphony performed Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor at The Noorda Center for Performing Arts. This partnership has allowed Utah Valley greater access to the Utah Symphony as well as offering the students of UVU the opportunity to participate with discounted admission.
The Utah Symphony is recognized as one of the nation’s top orchestras. That is in no small part because of their work with world-renowned conductors such as this concert’s special guest conductor, David Danzmayr. Largely recognized as one of the brightest European conductors of his time, Danzmayr has experience working with orchestras all over the United States and the world. He has won numerous prestigious competitions as well as being the youngest ever conductor to be appointed Conductor Laureate of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra.
All of the pieces included in this concert were by Russian composers. Kicking it off was the introduction to Khovanshchina, an opera by Modest Mussorgsky. Mussorgsky is notable as being part of a group of composers during the Romantic period known as The Five who helped develop a distinctly Russian identity in orchestra music.
That was followed by Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major. Taking center stage on the piano as part of the annual Evelyn Rosenblatt Artist award was Andrew Staupe. This award was described in the program as being “created to honor a young soloist or conductor of exceptional promise who has an emerging national reputation.” He was certainly deserving of such an award as the concerto is one that requires extreme prowess – which Staupe carried out with passion and expertise, leaving audience members on the edge of their seats.
In fact, the crowd was so impressed with his performance that he received a standing ovation lasting five minutes. At the behest of the crowd and in recognition of Danzmayr’s native roots in Austria, Staupe performed an encore of Franz Schubert’s Hungarian Melody.
Then, the crowd got to experience a masterful rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor. It is a piece that perfectly encapsulates the sheer emotive power of the orchestra, going from a range of pessimism to triumphant victory. The Utah Symphony riveted the audience with their ability to portray the heights of these emotions throughout the piece. Tchaikovsky famously struggled with completing this symphony and was left in doubt as to his ability as a writer, but this performance showed that it might be one of Tchaikovsky’s best works.
The night was one that was sure to leave a long-lasting impression on all in attendance. It illustrated the distinctive identity that these prominent Russian artists developed for themselves. The Utah Symphony will be returning to UVU this season to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on November 3. Don’t miss out! Get your tickets at uvu.edu/thenoorda.