r reflect

Symphonic Convergence

In 1948, then U President A. Ray Olpin announced that the Utah Symphony would have a new home on the U’s campus. Music students who previously had to travel to either coast for expert instruction were now able to study with experienced professionals who held adjunct faculty appointments at the U and leadership positions in the symphony. This practice continues today with 20 members of the Utah Symphony teaching as adjunct members of the U’s applied orchestral faculty. 

Here, Maurice Abravanel—who was awarded an honorary doctorate from the U in 1950—leads a rehearsal at the U in that decade.

(Click photo to enlarge)


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  1. Abravanel visited a meeting of Theater Council (1954-55) and with his typical and continual energy suggested that as he had the Symphony and the U had the Ballet Department, what could be better than to perform the Nutcracker during the Christmas season. One of the businessmen on the committee, who did not have Abravanel’s vision, worried that so many U students would be gone during the Christmas break that there would be no audience. But Abravanel enthusiastically told of the successful presentations world-wide, and in short order the vote for the U to present this classic was unanimous. — and a credit to Abravanel’s influence on the U and the community.

  2. I was pleased when I looked at this Reflect picture, because my mother, Ruth Josephine Barton Gatrell, is in the picture: 1st violins, 3rd chair. I would be interested in knowing when the picture was taken, as my parents left the state in December 1948 when my father was assigned to Ft. Lewis, Washington. Also, is it possible to obtain a downloadable file copy of this photo to add to our family photos?

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