2018 Commissioned Works

2018 Commissioned Works

Now premiering on a stage near you! A creative catalyst since 1990, the Utah Arts Festival’s annual commissions demonstrate a distinguished history of supporting new work to encourage original performance art for all.

Chamber Ensemble Commission

Azwaj by Saad Haddad

Saad haddad chamber commissionPerformed by Sinfonia Salt Lake with Robert Baldwin, Conductor and Artistic Director

Sat, June 23, 4PM, Library Auditorium

Saad Haddad is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music who achieves a “remarkable fusion of idioms” (The New York Times), most notably in his work exploring the disparate qualities inherent in Western art music and Middle Eastern musical tradition. Haddad holds degrees in composition from the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California, along with many notable distinctions.

Azwaj, or “pairs” in Arabic, is an energetic, rhythmically charged depiction of three pairs of dissimilar instruments playing similar dance-like material together. In this work, these conjoined pairs are the flute and violin, clarinet and cello, and percussion and piano. The woodwinds and strings are mostly confined to roving scales based on the maqamat (Arab modes), which contain an abundant use of “quarter-tones,” the pitches that lie halfway between the“black” and “white” keys. The pairing of the percussion and piano makes use of a specific preparation involving tambourine cymbals. These small cymbals, when removed from their normal apparatus as part of the tambourine, are used to create entirely different, unusual sounds when employed in the context of this ensemble.

The program will also include new contemporary chamber music with works by Ethan Wickman, Chad Cannon, and Stephen Jones. 

Jazz Commission

Melanie Shore Jazz Commission

"As The Seasons Shift" by Melanie Shore

Fri, June 22, 7:45PM, Festival Stage

Melanie Shore’s dynamic musical fluency on the piano has established her career as an accomplished performer, sought-after studio musician, and award-winning composer and arranger. She holds a master’s degree in Jazz Studies, and is an associate professor of jazz piano at the University of Utah.

Dance Commission

peggy dolkas dance commissionPerformed by Olivia Gusti and Sayaka Ohtaki

Dancers appear courtesy of Ballet West and Ballet West Academy, Adam Sklute, Artistic Director.

Fri, June 22, 5:45 PM, Festival Stage

Peggy Dolkas, Associate Director and Principal Faculty with Ballet West II, graduated from the National Ballet School in Toronto, Canada. After dancing with the National Ballet of Canada for two years, she joined Ballet West in 2003. Peggy Dolkas’ choreographic commission will premier as part of RUUDDANCES featuring Ballet West, Ballet West Academy, and the Utah Arts Festival 2018 Dance Commission Award on Friday, June 22, 5:45PM on the Festival Stage.

Program Sponsors