Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 will sound for the first time in Cache Valley on March 23 when Austrian guest conductor Christoph Campestrini leads Metropolitan Opera singer, Tamara Mumford, the women of the Utah State University Choirs, the Cache Children’s Choir, the USU Symphony Orchestra and professional orchestral musicians from northern Utah. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. in the Daines Concert Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU campus.
“Mahler’s third is one of the grandest symphonies ever written,” said Sergio Bernal, music director of the USU Symphony Orchestra and organizer of this concert. “It is a masterwork that aims to describe nothing less than the entire universe and uses strong performance forces to do so.”
Bernal is delighted by the opportunity of bringing international artists to work with students and community musicians.
“They will have an intense week of rehearsals leading up to the concert,” Bernal said. “But preparations started much earlier. The student orchestra and choirs have been practicing for many weeks, awaiting the day they start playing and singing together as a group of more than 200 musicians on the stage of the Daines Concert Hall.”
Bernal said it has been amazing to witness this symphony come together as they rehearse as an orchestra.
“I find a new favorite moment or melody in every rehearsal,” Gianna Patchett, pianist and student in the Caine College of the Arts (CCA) at USU, said. “I am constantly amazed by Mahler’s genius.”
Guest conductor Christoph Campestrini said he is excited to visit USU and perform Mahler’s Third in Cache Valley.
“For many years, the music of Gustav Mahler has had a very special place in my heart because it connects my home city of Vienna with the world,” Campestrini said.
Maestro Campestrini was appointed Kapellmeister at Vienna’s historic Hofmusikkappelle, tasked with leading the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Boys Choir and Male Choir of the Vienna State Opera. He is also music director of the International Late Summer Music Festival in Croatia and the Oper Kolsterneuburg Festival Vienna. His guest conducting engagements include appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg and more.
“It is a unique opportunity to be conducted by Maestro Campestrini,” Bernal said. “As is to host mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford at her alma mater.”
Mumford says she is thrilled to return to USU for this special concert.
“I heard Mahler’s music for the first time while a student at USU,” Mumford said. “I have been in love with it ever since.”
Mumford studied voice under head of the Department of Music in the CCA, Cindy Dewey, and now has an international career. Upon receiving her bachelor’s from USU in vocal performance in 2003, she accepted a scholarship to Yale University to continue her studies in opera performance and was invited to become a member of the Lindeman Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. Since then, she has been singing major roles at the Met and performing with the world’s most prominent orchestras. This season, Mumford returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, and appears in concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and on tour in Asia. During her visit to Logan, Mumford will also hold a master class for CCA voice students.
Mahler’s Third is not only the longest symphony of the standard repertoire, but also one of unparalleled depth and beauty, Bernal noted.
“Of its six movements, two involve the human voice in an overall progression that portrays the development of creation: Summer Marches In (as a symbol of early life), What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me, What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me, What Man Tells Me, What the Angels Tell Me and What Love Tells Me,” Bernal said.
Campestrini feels especially touched by What Love Tells Me, which he calls his favorite movement of all Mahler symphonies.
“It reaches into depths of the soul that only music can describe,” Campestrini said. “I am looking forward to sharing this most beautiful symphony with everybody in our audience at USU.”
Mumford also said the final movement speaks to her soul more deeply than any other piece of music.
“I get to sit on the stage with the orchestra and feel that music wash over me,” Mumford said. “It inspires me every time.”
This event is part of the Caine College of the Arts Visiting Artists and Scholars Series. It is underwritten by the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation–Russell Family, the Tanner Charitable Trust, other generous donors and Differential Tuition provided by the students of the college.
Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 seniors, $5 USU faculty and staff and free for USU students with ID and grades 3-12. For more information and tickets, visit the CCA Box Office located in room L-101 of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s campus, call 435-797-8022 or go online at cca.usu.edu.