SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Symphony opens its 70th season with anticipation and a touch of mystery: anticipation, because every guest conductor will be auditioning to become the orchestra's music director; and mystery because one of the players has written a novel--a thriller.
The dynamic strains of Beethoven's Fifth will open what Utah Symphony musicians and management hope will be a dynamic season. With Keith Lockhart's departure, Matthias Bamert is conducting and auditioning, and he's not alone.
"We have 15 guest conductors joining us, and, as you know, we are in a music director search. So, it will be a very exciting year," said Melia Tourangeau, president and CEO of the Utah SymphonyAs this season opens, musician Gerald Elias is on a national tour for his new book. He has performed as the orchestra's associate concertmaster for 21 years, but he has also been working at the non-musical keyboard for 10 years. Elias' first novel, "Devil's Trill," is a mystery set in the music world. Intrigue swirls around a stolen Stradivarius, a competition and a cantankerous, retired musician.
"It's been a real pleasure going across the country and stopping at Barnes and Noble's book stores and local independent book stores and doing these book events because I get to meet people who are interested in the book and in music. So, it's been a great connection," Elias said.
Barnes and Noble has given Elias its Discover Great New Writers Award for fall of 2009.
Elias says his second book, "Dance Macabre," is set to debut next summer.
As for Beethoven's Fifth, the concert begins Friday night at 8 p.m. There is also a second concert Saturday night at 8 p.m.