A world-renowned symphony orchestra, an impressive cross-section of chamber music and, between Symphony Hall and Temple Square, a downtown performing venue that regularly attracts the world's great artists - these are just some of the features that add to the vitamin content of Utah's musical menu.
SALT LAKE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - The state's only other professional orchestra, the Salt Lake Philharmonic has been directed since 1946 by its founder, Eugene Jelesnik. Specializing in lighter concert fare, it offers four concerts a year featuring local singers and occasionally Lawrence Welk-style guest artists. Concerts, all of which are free to the public, tend to be linked to local events, such as Days of '47 and LDS General Conference, and are held at a variety of locations, including the Salt Palace and the ZCMI Center.CHAMBER MUSIC: Without question the leader here is the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City, which for many years has offered the foremost chamber performers in the world on a five-concert series at the Museum of Fine Arts. From the Guarneri and Juilliard to the Kronos Quartet, they've all played here at an annual cost to subscribers of $45. For information call 467-9649.
Other local series include the Nova Chamber Music Series and Salt Lake Chamber Ensemble, most of whose concerts feature Utah Symphony musicians along with other guest performers. To the north, the Chamber Music Society of Logan is to Cache Valley what its Salt Lake counterpart is to that clientele, frequently offering the same performers.
In addition, each summer both the Deer Valley Chamber Music Festival and Snowbird Chamber Music Festival offer interesting mixes of local and guest artists, the latter boasting occasional visits from the Muir and Kronos Quartets as well as a composer-in-residence program.
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC CONSORTIUM - An offshoot of the University of Utah music department, this organization offers around five programs a year, some of them on campus, featuring the music of living composers. In the past that has ranged from local composers to recent Pulitzer Prize winners, a few of whom have been in attendance at the concerts to discuss their music. Performances tend to be of professional caliber, sometimes featuring visiting artists.
CAMPUS PROGRAMS: Spottier than they used to be (reflecting the current economic pinch), these range from the largely in-house concerts at the University of Utah and Westminster College to the visiting-artists series at Weber State College (which occasionally pulls in a real heavyweight), Brigham Young University and Utah State University.
Spearheading the latter these days are a number of Utah Symphony performances (usually an extension of its regular subscription programs). In addition each of the universities maintains student orchestras and choral groups, which often combine for concerts around the holidays or the end of the school year. In recent years BYU has mounted at least one gala concert a year in the Salt Lake Tabernacle and the U. of U. has honored one of its own composers with a special concert in Symphony Hall.