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Arts and Culture

Utah Symphony Plays Music In Utah National Parks

Arches National Park arches
Neal Herbert
Nations Park Service

The Utah Symphony, in concert with the Utah Office of Tourism, will be offering a series of special outdoor performances in the state’s major national parks. The performances, some of which will involve the full orchestra, are in commemoration of the Utah Symphony’s 75th anniversary.

Have you ever gone hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park and thought yourself, “This landscape would be perfectly complemented by Johann Strauss’s Voices of Spring Waltz”? Well, you weren’t the only one who thought so.

The Utah Symphony is coming to a national park near you this summer, and it’s not just a CD player or an iPod: they’re literally bringing the entire orchestra to Utah’s national parks. The Utah Symphony’s President and CEO Melia Tourangeau says they’re excited to bring a unique concert experience to the outdoors.

"Our music director is an incredible outdoorsman and I am as well, and we spend, with our families, a lot of time in Southern Utah," Tourangeau said. "So just being in the redrock country and the landscape of Utah and thinking about our careers with the orchestra and the opera company, it's a natural (thing) for us to think about 'how do we combine these two efforts?'"

There will be four concerts with the full orchestra, with those performances occurring near all of the “Mighty 5” national parks in Utah. According to Vicki Valera of the Utah Office of Tourism, each concert will be free to the public, and venues will accommodate between 1,000 and 2,000 spectators.

As for the logistics of getting a full orchestra to such unconventional venues, Valera couldn’t downplay the challenge.

"This is a huge effort on the part of the symphony, when you think of 65 plus orchestra members, and having to create the right accoustic environment so that all of them can perform at their best, it is a spectacular undertaking on their part," Valera said.  

Canyonlands national park
Credit Neal Herbert / Nations Park Service
Nations Park Service
Tickets for Symphony in the parks go on sale July 1st, but all concerts are free of charge, and held in August.

As for why the performances are free Tourangeau says the Symphony sees this as a sort of thank-you gift.

"You know, I think the idea of making it free was really just to make it as accessible as possible for tourists as well as for local community members. We want this to be a gift to the state of Utah. We do receive a tremendous support from our community through our sponsors, through our donors, through the state legislature, and so this is a thank you back to them," she said.

The performances will take place in August, and tickets will be available to the general public on July 1st.