Every year, the Utah Arts Festival really has something for everyone, whether it’s music, dance, literature or visual arts. No one leaves the festival disappointed – not even classical music lovers.

For aficionados of serious music there are several options, one of which is the composer commission concert featuring the world premiere of a new work along with other pieces. This year, the concert takes place Saturday afternoon in the auditorium of the Salt Lake City Main Library.

Over the years the commission has garnered national attention, said John Costa. A composer and member of the music department faculty at the University of Utah, Costa is also on the commission selection committee together with fellow composer Henry Wolking. “We had a hundred applications this year which we had to narrow down to six,” Costa told Reichel Recommends. “And most of these were national applications.”

In order to be considered for a commission applicants must submit a representative piece anonymously to the committee, along with a recording. “Henry and I give them a good listen,” Costa said. After they’ve compiled a short list of candidates they send it to Andrew Rindfleisch, music director of the Cleveland Contemporary Players and the Utah Arts Festival Chamber Ensemble. It’s Rindfleisch who chooses the winner. “Since Andrew will be conducting, he has the final say,” Costa said.

Don Freund

This year’s winner is Don Freund, whose sextet Mixed Blood will be premiered Saturday. Also on the program is Jeff Stadelman’s Sunlit, for chamber ensemble; and John Kennedy’s Lamentations: Hayasdan, for flute and piano.

Utah composer Steve Roens’ Soliloquy, for solo cello, will also be played. “We always have one Utah composer at these concerts,” Costa said.

The program highlights the diversity of styles found among today’s composers. “There is a lot of variety here,” Costa said. “We always try to do that.”

The musicians playing the concert are all local. “We have a great line up of players. All of them are well versed in new music.”

Performing Saturday are Carlton Vickers, flute; Scott Harris, clarinet; Glenn Webb, percussion; Jed Moss, piano; Hasse Borup, violin; and Cassie Olson, cello.

Costa said that the composer commission concert is the only concert in Utah at which all composers will be present. “Everyone will be there and everyone will talk about their piece before it’s played.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know some of today’s most accomplished composers.”

The Utah Arts Festival runs from June 20-23. For a complete listing of events log on to www.uaf.org.

  • What: Utah Arts Festival Composer Commission Concert
  • Venue: Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium
  • Time and Date: 4 p.m. June 22
  • Tickets: Free, no tickets required
  • Web: www.uaf.org
This entry was posted in Articles, Concert Previews by Edward Reichel. Bookmark the permalink.

About Edward Reichel

Edward Reichel, author, writer and composer, has been covering the classical music scene in Utah since 1997. For many years he served as the primary music critic for the Deseret News. He has also written for a number of publications, including Chamber Music Magazine, OPERA Magazine, 15 Bytes, Park City Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He can be reached at ed.reichel@gmail.com. Reichel Recommends is also on Twitter @ReichelArts.

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