Eccles Foundation gives $5M to kick off Utah Symphony and Utah Opera campaign

Published: Friday, Nov. 8 2013 9:20 p.m. MST

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation has committed a $5 million gift to lead a new Utah Symphony and Utah Opera fundraising effort called the Campaign for Perpetual Motion.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation has committed a $5 million gift to lead a new Utah Symphony and Utah Opera fundraising effort called the Campaign for Perpetual Motion.

The donation was announced at the Utah Symphony concert Friday night to kick off the $20 million campaign effort. The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera is launching the campaign to build up to the 75th anniversary season of the Utah Symphony in 2015-16.

“(The Eccles Foundation has) been a pillar of support for this organization for over 32 years,” said Melia Tourangeau, CEO of Utah Symphony and Utah Opera. “This is a landmark gift demonstrating their commitment to our vision and our organization, and we’re expecting it will help bring more people to the table to support our efforts.”

Tourangeau said Utah Symphony and Utah Opera already have major commitments toward the $20 million effort from Kem and Carolyn Gardner, Gail Miller and Kim Wilson, Zions Bank, Scott and Jesselie Anderson, and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation.

“We’ve got an incredible group of honorary chairs and co-chairs involved with the effort, the honorary chairs being Spencer Eccles, Jon Huntsman, Carolyn Tanner Irish,” Tourangeau said.

“Then our working co-chairs are Scott and Jesselie Anderson, Lisa Eccles, Kem and Carolyn Gardner, Gail Miller and Kim Wilson, and Joanne and Bill Shiebler up in Park City.”

The campaign is part of music director Thierry Fischer’s “dreams and vision” for Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.

“The Utah Symphony has an incredible legacy under Maurice Abravanel … and there was a real notoriety to the orchestra during that heyday time,” Tourangeau said. “Thierry's ambition is to bring that up to that level again, as far as exposure and celebrating Utah through the arts.”

The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera is planning a tour of Utah’s five national parks for a week in August. Tourists and locals will be able to enjoy concerts for free.

“The idea is to connect the music with the red rock country in particular and showcase the great landscape with our great arts organizations,” Tourangeau said.

Utah Symphony and Utah Opera wants to commission a composer to write a piece inspired by the landscape of Utah. The composition would premiere in fall 2015 for the 75th anniversary.

Tourangeau said the symphony and opera are in many conversations about recording projects and tours on the West and East Coast, as well as in Europe and Asia. The Campaign for Perpetual Motion is meant to rally around the 75th anniversary celebration but will continue beyond that.

“The way I look at it, the 75th is the launching pad for the future,” Tourangeau said.

Email: madbrown@deseretnews.com

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