Utah Symphony

Artists’ Profiles

Artists’ Profiles

Challenger School

Thierry Fischer

Thierry Fischer

Music Director

The Maurice Abravanel Chair, endowed by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation

Conductor Sponsor

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Thierry Fischer has been the Music Director of the Utah Symphony since 2009 and will become Music Director Emeritus in the summer of 2023. He has held the same position with the São Paulo Symphony since 2019.

In recent seasons he has conducted orchestras across the globe, notably the Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Cincinnati Symphonies; the London, Royal, Oslo, and Rotterdam Philharmonics; Maggio Musicale Firenze; Salzburg Mozarteumorchester; Orchestre de la Suisse Romande; and leading chamber orchestras such as Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Swedish Chamber, Ensemble Contemporain, and London Sinfonietta. He has performed and commissioned many world premieres.

Fischer was active throughout the pandemic conducting concerts for live and virtual audiences during his inaugural season in São Paulo including Stravinsky’s ballets, Beethoven’s symphonies, and the latter’s Missa Solemnis. Other highlights of 2020–21 included the London Philharmonic at the Royal Festival Hall and on Marquee TV, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, and return visits to the Bournemouth Symphony and Brussels Philharmonic orchestras.

During his tenure in Utah, Fischer has led the orchestra’s first appearance in Carnegie Hall in 40 years. He recorded several albums for Reference Recordings: Mahler’s Symphonies 1 and 8 (the latter with the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square) and a CD of newly commissioned works by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas. Most recently Hyperion Records has released the complete Saint-Saëns symphonies with Fischer and Utah Symphony, to critical acclaim; they also plan to record Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux étoiles, to be performed in the breathtaking canyons of Utah that inspired the piece.

While Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales from 2006–12, Fischer appeared every year at the BBC Proms, toured internationally, and recorded for Hyperion, Signum, and Orfeo. In 2012 he won the ICMA Award for his Hyperion CD of Frank Martin’s Der Sturm with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. In 2014 he released a Beethoven disc with the London Philharmonic on the Aparte label.

Fischer started out as Principal Flute in Hamburg and at the Zurich Opera. His conducting career began in his 30s when he replaced an ailing colleague, subsequently directing his first few concerts with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe where he was Principal Flute under Claudio Abbado. He spent his apprentice years in Holland and became Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2001–06. He was Principal Guest of the Seoul Philharmonic from 2017–20 and Chief Conductor (now Honorary Guest) of the Nagoya Philharmonic from 2008–11.

Hilary Hahn

Hilary Hahn

Violin / Artist in Association

Guest Artist Sponsor

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Three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn melds expressive musicality and technical expertise with a diverse repertoire guided by artistic curiosity. Her barrier-breaking attitude towards classical music and her commitment to sharing her experiences with a global community have made her a fan favorite. Hahn is a prolific recording artist and commissioner of new works, and her 20 feature recordings have received every critical prize in the international press.

A strong advocate for new music, Hahn has championed and commissioned works by a diverse array of contemporary composers. In the 2018-19 season, before her season-long sabbatical in 2019-20, Hahn premiered two new works written for her: Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Two Serenades for violin and orchestra, completed posthumously by Kalevi Aho, and Lera Auerbach’s Sonata No. 4: Fractured Dreams. The season was bookended by another major release: her most recent solo commission, 6 Partitas by Antón García Abril. García Abril, Auerbach, and Rautavaara had been contributing composers for In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores, Hahn’s Grammy Award-winning multi-year commissioning project to revitalize the duo encore genre.

Hahn has also participated in a number of non-classical productions. She was featured in the Oscar-nominated soundtrack to The Village and has collaborated on two records by the alt-rock band ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, on the album Grand Forks by Tom Brosseau, and on tour with folk-rock singer-songwriter Josh Ritter. In 2012, Hahn launched Silfra, a free-improv project with experimental prepared-pianist Hauschka, following an intensive period of development.

Hahn is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. In 2001, she was named “America’s Best Young Classical Musician” by Time magazine, and in 2010, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. She also holds honorary doctorates from Middlebury College—where she spent four summers in the total-immersion German, French, and Japanese language programs—and Ball State University, where there are three scholarships in her name.

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