SALT LAKE CITY — This weekend marks a new initiative for Thierry Fischer.
The Utah Symphony music director plans to commission one new work with the Utah Symphony each season, beginning with the premiere of Swiss composer Michael Jarrell's "Emergences — Nachlese VI," a cello concerto featuring guest artist Jean-Guihen Queyras.
The performances are Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. in Abravanel Hall.
"I am reintroducing commissions into the Utah Symphony's repertoire to show that programming is not only about the past, it is also about the present and looking to the future," Fischer said. "It was extremely crucial for me that we motivate composers to create in this century and support them as an essential part of the creative process."
"Emergences" is a co-commission by the Utah Symphony, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, with support from the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia.
"There is a belief that contemporary music is not always agreeable to listen to, but it need not be more difficult than a very long Beethoven symphony," Fischer said. "It's all about your approach. That is why I've made the program very attractive, with the commission extremely well surrounded by beautiful, accessible pieces."
Having known the Swiss composer for nearly 20 years and conducted many of his pieces, Fischer said he is pleased to work on this project with Jarrell, who will travel to Salt Lake City to join the Utah Symphony in rehearsals and witness the world premiere at Abravanel Hall.
Fischer, Jarrell and Toby Tolokan, Utah Symphony vice president of artistic planning, will present a free pre-concert lecture 45 minutes prior to the start of each performance in the First Tier Room of Abravanel Hall.
Single tickets for the performances range from $25 to $75 and can be purchased by calling 801-355-2787, in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office, 123 W. South Temple, or by visiting www.utahsymphony.org. Discounted student tickets will be available on the date of the performance.