Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) have announced that Thierry Fischer will extend his contract as Utah Symphony Music Director through August 2023. In May 2019, Fischer had announced his plans to conclude his tenure at the end of the 2021–22 season. This extension adds one year to his role as Music Director, and will run concurrently with his Music Directorship of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), which he took up in March of this year.
USUO leadership and board representatives cited Thierry’s commitment to supporting the arts in Utah, his love for the organization, its musicians and patrons, and his willingness to aid in the continuity of the organization and our mission.
“With so much uncertainty in the future, it is a natural gesture for me to help provide the orchestra and its board with much needed stability,” said music director Thierry Fischer. “It made perfect sense to extend my contract by another season, through 2023, to assist the organization through these challenging times and give them the time necessary to run the search for my successor. I will always be here for our Utah Symphony in good and in unprecedented times and look forward to embracing the challenges of the future as we create music for our community together.”
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s operations and planning has been vast. Over the past six months and throughout this 2020–21 season, planned artistic activity has had to be postponed and abruptly changed. In addition to USUO’s desire to reschedule artists and repertoire affected by cancelled or postponed programming, its music director search has been altered by these changes to the season planning.
“Thierry Fischer’s love for this community and commitment to this orchestra are inspiring. His willingness to stay with us for an extra season is hugely appreciated, and will provide direction as we recover from this pandemic,” shared Patricia A. Richards, who is Chair of the Music Director Search Committee, served as chair of the USUO board from 2005 through 2014 and was interim CEO from 2015 through 2016 and from 2019 through August 2020. She added, “I’m very appreciative of Thierry’s commitment to see the Utah Symphony through these challenging times.”
President and CEO Steven Brosvik expressed appreciation for Thierry’s extended tenure and ability to continue his positive influence on the community. “I am extremely grateful to Thierry for agreeing to remain with us into the 2022-23 season. Thierry’s artistic impact on performing arts in our state is apparent and I am looking forward to having more time to experience his amazing work collaborating with the fine musicians of this orchestra. I have enjoyed getting to know Thierry in our early work together and believe there is great music yet ahead for all of us.”
“Thierry Fischer’s guidance will be invaluable as we emerge from this pandemic and find innovative ways to continue to serve our community through music,” stated USUO board chair Tom Love, who has led the board since September 2019. “We have put plans into motion to fully participate in the economic recovery and emotional healing that our community desperately needs at this time, and having Thierry’s continued leadership is critical to our success.”
At the conclusion of his tenure in 2023, Fischer will have led the Utah Symphony as Music Director for fourteen years, during which time he has revitalized the orchestra and raised its national and international profile through creative programming, renewed excellence in performance, commissioning contemporary composers’ works, and ambitious tours and recording projects. In September 2023, he will assume the title of Music Director Emeritus, in which capacity he will continue his musical relationship with the orchestra through regular return engagements.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Utah Symphony suspended in-person performances from March through August 2020. USUO continues working closely with artists and government representatives and is regularly updating safety procedures and concert programming in response to current health conditions in our community. The Utah Symphony resumed live performances, with Fischer on the podium, in September 2020. Details regarding future performances during the 2020–21 season are being announced on a regular basis with updated information residing on utahsymphony.org.