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Symphony guest conductor directs impressive concert

Utah Symphony delivers beautifully crafted performance

DEER VALLEY MUSIC FESTIVAL, UTAH SYMPHONY, Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, July 31

DEER VALLEY — Friday's outdoor Utah Symphony concert was guest conductor David Lockington's second last week, and he was once again impressive on the podium.

Last Wednesday, he led the Utah Symphony Chamber Orchestra in a wonderful concert, and this time he stood in front of the entire orchestra and directed them decisively and with conviction.

He is a conductor one hopes will return again to the Utah Symphony, but during the regular season in Abravanel Hall. He has a lot to offer and the orchestra responded well under his baton.

Joining Lockington and the orchestra Friday was Anne Akiko Meyers, making a long overdue return visit here. She played Mozart's Third Violin concerto, infusing it with rare musicality and charm.

Mozart's five violin concertos are delightful works; they aren't by any means virtuosic by today's concerto standards, but there is something special about them that has kept them in the repertoire. But they do require a soloist of infinite musicality to make them work. And Meyers is a wonderfully musical performer and perfectly suited to play these works, as she showed Friday with the Third.

Meyers captured the lyricism of the work with her expressive and nuanced playing. And that was mirrored in the orchestra, too. Lockington offered her a nicely balanced accompaniment that allowed for some deft interplay between them.

Making this performance particularly memorable was the fact that Friday's performance was the premiere of cadenzas that Meyers had commissioned jazz great Wynton Marsalis to write for her. Marsalis' contribution was well-integrated into the original, both stylistically and technically. He took thematic material from the respective movements and let that be his inspiration for these cadenzas. And they worked wonderfully.

Meyers also played a short encore, a delightfully jazzy rendition of "Summertime" from Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess."

The concert opened with Mendelssohn's overture to "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage," with Lockington emphasizing the work's lyricism in his interpretation, and ended with Elgar's "Enigma Variations."

Lockington gave a commanding reading of the score, capturing its boldness with large gestures and broad tempos. But the large sound he got from his ensemble was also tempered with finely articulated lyricism, so that it was a radiantly expressive account. It was beautifully crafted and played and brought out the grandeur of the music.