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Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Keith Lockhart conducts the Utah Symphony during the Tanner Gift of Music concert in November of 2009.

SALT LAKE CITY — Music director emeritus Keith Lockhart will make his first appearance in Utah this season, when he returns to conduct the Utah Symphony this weekend.

Lockhart currently serves as conductor of the Boston Pops. He recently completed his 11-year tenure as music director of the Utah Symphony.

"I'm looking forward to returning to Utah for this great program!" Lockhart said on his Facebook page.

The symphony will play Stravinsky's "Pulcinella," Mark Adamo's "Four Angels: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra" and orchestral excerpts from Bizet's "Carmen," performing with a handful of featured guest artists.

Adamo will also attend all three performances of this program to see the Utah Symphony premiere of his harp concerto, played by Utah Symphony principal harpist Louise Vickerman.

"I'm excited to introduce Utah audiences to a totally new piece for harp," Vickerman said. "It might revolutionize the way Utah audiences perceive the harp."

"It's really cool to work with a living composer, and he's such a great, fun guy and so positive and so enthusiastic," Vickerman added, referring to Adamo. "It's more of a collaboration than just learning the notes."

Resident conductor Thierry Fischer has selected music from composer Igor Stravinsky to highlight in the next few seasons. As part of the focus on Stravinsky, principal keyboard Jason Hardink will offer insight in a series of lectures beginning Jan. 25 at the Salt Lake Main Library. The first lecture will explore "Pulcinella" specifically.

"A lot of people are afraid of Stravinsky," said Jeff Luke, acting principal trumpet. "Although Stravinsky went into a neo-classical style, 'Pulcinella' reverts back to classical style. I know people will enjoy it."

Guest artists tenor Lawrence Jones, bass Jeffrey Tucker and mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski will also join Lockhart and the orchestra for the performances of "Pulcinella."

Performances will be held Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Browning Center in Ogden and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Abravanel Hall. Lockhart and Adamo will also present a free pre-concert lecture each night, 45 minutes prior to the start of the performance in their respective venues.

This Thursday at 10 a.m. at Abravanel Hall, the general public is invited to attend a Finishing Touches dress rehearsal, where audience members can experience a rehearsal for the performance. Tickets for the rehearsal are $15.

Tickets for the evening performances start at $15 and can be purchased by calling 801-355-ARTS, in person at the Abravanel Hall box office, or by visiting www.usuo.org. Ticket prices will increase $5 the day of the performance.

If you go...

What: Keith Lockhart with the Utah Symphony

When: Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m. at the Browning Center in Ogden; Jan. 28 and 29, 8 p.m. at Abravanel Hall

Cost: Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased by calling 801-355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall box office or by visiting www.usuo.org

e-mail: smoreton@desnews.com