Utah Symphony and Orchestra Commemorate September 11 Attacks


The Utah Symphony plans to open its 2011-2012 season with a two-night concert, commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The concert will take place tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City.

Thierry Fischer will conduct the symphony, which will first perform “On the Transmigration of Souls,” composed by John Adams.  The Utah Symphony Chorus as well as choristers from the Madeleine Chorus School will join the symphony for this number.

“On the Transmigration of Souls” resulted from the New York Philharmonic asking Adams to compose a piece specifically to pay tribute to those affected by the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Adams won multiple awards for this piece, including the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for music and a Grammy Award in 2005.

According to an interview with Adams, originally published on the New York Philharmonic’s website, he said he wants the piece to apply to “the change that takes place within the souls of those … who suffer pain and loss and then themselves come away from that experience transformed.”

“It’s a solemn tribute, specific to that day, it’s a very contemporary, very different piece than normal classical music concertgoers might be expecting,” said Hilarie Ashton, public relations manager for the Utah Symphony.

Because the piece is unique, the symphony will have a display in the lobby with information about it.. There will also be a a lecture that will begin 45 minutes before the concert.

“I think if they keep that in mind, they’ll realize how powerful the piece can be in helping them remember the event,” Ashton said. “It will be very wonderful.”

Kathryn Eberle is the second chair playing violin, and the associate concert master for the symphony.  She studied at The Juilliard School in New York City and feels a strong connection to the tragedy associated with 9/11.  This concert marks her first with the symphony; she is excited because she believes “On the Transmigration of Souls” reflects the feeling that New Yorkers have for the event.

“The John Adams piece is a more somber reflection on the events that occurred, still very respectful, it’s very powerful, very somber, remembering back to the tragedies that happened that day,” Emberle said.

The symphony will also perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, including the familiar “Ode to Joy.” Erin Morley, Jill Grove, Garrett Sorensen and David Pittsinger, accomplished vocal soloists, will join the orchestra for this finale. Although it is considered to be a happier piece, Ashton and Eberle believe it fits perfectly with the goal to commemorate 9/11.

“Beyond being a very familiar piece, it’s a piece that will help the audience recognize that we should find joy in how far we’ve come since that event,” Ashton said. “It represents the triumph of the human spirit.”

Eberle believes the two pieces together will bring an the audience back to all the feelings they had that day.

“The orchestra and the symphony playing the ‘Ode to Joy’ is so triumphant, so majestic, and can really leave feelings like there’s hope that although these horrible things happened, there’s still hope in the world for all the good in the world that can come out of hearing music like that,” Eberle said.

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