Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony is one of America’s premier symphony orchestras, known internationally for its distinctive performances and recording legacy. As part of Utah’s largest arts organization (Utah Symphony | Utah Opera), the orchestra’s 85 full-time professional musicians perform more than 150 performances throughout Utah and other Western states each season.
The Utah Symphony (then the Utah State Symphony Orchestra) gave its first concert in Salt Lake City on May 8, 1940, conducted by Hans Henriot. Henriot led the orchestra as Music Director until the end of World War II, followed by the brief tenure of Werner Janssen (1946–1947).
The Utah Symphony became recognized as a leading American ensemble largely through the efforts of Maurice Abravanel, Music Director from 1947 to 1979. During his tenure, the orchestra undertook four International tours and released more than 100 recordings.
Included in the orchestra’s discography with Abravanel are recordings of works by Honegger, Milhaud, Satie and Varèse. A pioneering cycle of Mahler Symphonies was recorded between 1963-1974 which included the first commercial recordings of the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies. Honors for Abravanel’s Mahler recordings with the Utah Symphony include the “Mahler Medal of Honor” from the Bruckner Society of America (1965) and the International Gustav Mahler Society award for “Best Mahler Recording” (Fifth Symphony, 1975). Other distinguished recordings include cycles of Symphonie
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