Byron Dean Ryan has been appointed permanent music director of Utah Opera, after completing a successful season with the company.
He comes to Utah Opera from Cincinnati Opera, after 12 years as resident conductor and chorus master. Before that he was a coach and conductor for 10 years at New York City Opera, following which he became chorus director and conducted for the San Francisco Opera.He has guest conducted for Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Toledo Operas as well, and will make his Utah conducting debut in U.O.'s October production of "Tales of Hoffmann." His other duties will include rehearsal accompanist for the operas and the company in general, and coaching local Utah Opera singers.
-COMPOSER PHILLIP BIMSTEIN feels he's come home to Springdale, and there on July 4 his cantata "Zion - A Pilgrim's Journey" will be presented in celebration of the town's 30th anniversary.
Performance will be by the Springdale Ward Choir, conducted by Kelly Christensen, in the town park at 8:30 p.m., followed by the traditional fireworks display.
Tradition was very much on Bimstein's mind as he composed this work, built on a collage of poetry and historical texts which he researched this spring at the Zion National Park library. "I loved writing this piece," he said, "because it made me feel very connected to the canyon. The words and voices come from the people who make Zion their home." Such voices include J.L. Crawford, now of St. George, and explorer John Wesley Powell.
A graduate of Chicago Conservatory College in theory and composition, Bimstein entered the world of pop music with his band Phil 'n' the Blanks, recording, touring and performing on MTV. He has since worked in music for films, but does not like to stay away long from his home in the Springdale area. "Utah's my home now," he said. "There are powerful forces at work here, and I can't think of a more inspiring place to write music."
-TWO YOUNG UTAHNS have returned home with top prizes in this year's Stravinsky Awards International Piano Competition, held earlier this month in Champaign, Ill.
They are 9-year-old Dustin Gledhill, who won first prize of $500 in Division B (age 10 and under) and 12-year-old Janae Codner, who placed first in Division D (ages 13-14) to the tune of $1,000. Janae, a former Utah Symphony "Salute to Youth" soloist, had previously won Divisions A, B and C.
Both are students of Irene Peery's.