By Benjamin Griffiths
The Utah Symphony is entering the new millennium in style.
The O. C. Tanner Company, specializing in jewelry retail and manufacturing, donated $1 million to the Symphony earlier this month. The donation was an effort to remain faithful to the wishes of the late owner Obert C. Tanner.
Kent Murdock, current president of O. C. Tanner, said, “Obert had always planned to give a large gift to the symphony to start off a capital campaign. He wanted to make sure that they would have a permanent source of funding.”
The donation from O. C. Tanner will be used to underwrite the Masterworks Lecture Series, now labeled the O. C. Tanner Pre-Concert Lectures.
“Tanner was a wonderful patron of the symphony,” said Katie Sadler, media relations for the Utah Symphony.
Sadler outlined Tanner’s role in the symphony since the O.C. Tanner Company’s inception.
A doctor of philosophy, educated at Stanford, Tanner loved the arts, she said.
His company has always sponsored the first and last performance of the season, donating $150,000 for operating costs. These concerts feature the music of Beethoven, Tanner’s favorite composer.
Tanner was well known for his devotion to the arts.
“A civilization is the cultural values we create. Perhaps the greatest is our love of beauty, the love of things beautiful. Surely one of them is great music. Our Utah Symphony is a hallmark of our culture and civilization. We must put more back than we take out. That will take sacrifice,” Tanner once said.
Evidence of the sacrifice mentioned by Tanner is apparent.
The Utah Symphony’s Endowment Capitol Campaign has been running since the fall of 1997, with a goal of $20 million. As of September the campaign had raised $17.5 million.
The money will be restricted, with access given to the interest only, based on votes cast by the board of trustees, Sadler said.
The Utah Symphony gives about 200 concerts each year, featuring educational, masterworks, family, pops, special and chamber performances.