By AMY WARD
The Utah Symphony will sweep into its 1997-98 season at Abravanel Hall tonight and Saturday with concerts featuring a renowned mezzo soprano and one of 12 candidates for the symphony’s new music director.
Marilyn Horne, considered one of the most famous opera singers in history, will be performing the works of German and Austrian composers, including Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Horne has performed with many of the world’s most respected orchestras and conductors.
The 1997-98 season will be an eventful one for the symphony.
“(The orchestra) will be wrapping up (its) search for a new maestro,” said Kwin Peterson, Utah Symphony marketing manager.
Joseph Silverstein, the current music director, will be retiring after this season.
“He will continue to be conductor laureate and will continue to perform from time to time,” Peterson said.
The twelve existing candidates were selected after passing through a careful screening process.
They each perform with the orchestra, and meet with various committees made up of community members, symphony musicians and the symphony’s board of directors. In addition, a reception is held for each of the candidates to meet the symphony owners and other community members.
There are six more candidates to perform with the symphony. The last of the guest conductors will perform with the orchestra in December and the selection will have been made by February.
One of the 12 candidates, British conductor Graeme Jenkins, will conduct this weekend’s concerts. He will also present a talk on the Strauss symphonic poem at 7:15 p.m. prior to the concert.
The Utah Symphony attracts a wide variety of people, Peterson said.
“We have one of the youngest audiences in the country with 200 to 300 students in house (each weekend).”
Tickets range in price from $12 to $35. Student tickets are available for $6. Tickets and other concert information can be obtained by calling (801) 533-NOTE or by visiting the box office at 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City.