SALT LAKE CITY — As we review what was best about 2012 and what will continue to hold that status in 2013, the state's largest arts organization, The Utah Symphony and Opera, remains resilient even through difficult economic times.
The chairman on the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, Bruce Ridge, came to Utah to listen to the Utah and Symphony and Opera and his assessment is that they are still one of the success stories of the America arts scene.
"Here in Utah, so much positive has happened," Ridge said. "This is an orchestra that of course is known throughout the world historically from the epic recordings that were made. But also it's an orchestra that is moving forward in a great way."
In 2011, the Utah Symphony and Opera musicians agreed to take more than a $1-million salary cut over three years. That is dedication, Ridge says, to their art and their community.
"Here, I think the problems were solved in a very collaborative way," Ridge said. "They looked at what they needed to do and the orchestra is on the path to restoring everything that they had to cut in the time period."
"This is an orchestra that of course is known throughout the world historically from the epic recordings that were made. But also it's an orchestra that is moving forward in a great way."
What makes these players so valuable is their connection to each generation. For decades, they have taken their show on the road to schools throughout Utah and opened the doors of Abravanel Hall for special young people's concerts.
"These musicians reach school children, they help in their education, countless children throughout the state," Ridge said. "They have become involved in outreach programs."
Some of the players donate their time and talents to perform for patients at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital. This year, two string quartets played on the inpatient floors, a trombone quartet in the lobby, a string trio in chemo infusion and bone marrow inpatient and a duo in the surgical waiting area.
"When you look at this organization, the reputation is one of a growing organization," Ridge commented. "One that looked at the economic downtown and solved its problems without rancor and the artistic stature of this orchestra, and the entire organization, has never been greater."