Even though concerts have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Utah Symphony has made it possible to access classical music concerts from the comfort of home.
With their newest on-demand streaming service, viewers can pay a fee to access a streamed performance.
One of the newest performances available to stream is called “Encore: Mozart & Mendelssohn String Quartets.” In order to promote the performance, the Utah Symphony hosted a virtual Q&A session on Feb. 2 with associate conductor Conner Gray Covington, violinist Yuki MacQueen and cellist John Eckstein.
MacQueen and Eckstein are both part of the quartet, along with fellow Utah Symphony members violinist Alex Martin and violist Joel Gibbs. They have been playing as a quartet for over five years.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they have limited rehearsal time at Abravanel Hall. The group decided to play selections from Mozart and Mendelssohn quartets, since they had done them for a previous concert.
“It would have been really hard to start something from scratch in an hour of rehearsal,” MacQueen said. “It was nice to dig up something familiar and change it up by covering our faces and distancing ourselves.”
After the discussion on the newest stream, fans were able to submit questions they had for the symphony members.
One of the questions asked was what the hardest part of being a symphony member was. MacQueen said, during the pandemic, each orchestra member has grown used to playing by themselves. The orchestra needed more practice playing as a group.
When asked what the most memorable part of being a Utah Symphony member was, Eckstein and MacQueen agreed that it was the first day back after months of lockdown.
“Finally seeing our colleagues and playing together, that was extremely moving to me,” MacQueen said.
Covington agreed and added that though they have still been able to listen to music through their computers at home, hearing music in person again was a special experience.
“Being back in the hall and hearing the physical sensation of the first Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings, it was really overwhelming because it was like I had forgotten what it not only sounded like but felt like,” Covington said.
The Utah Symphony hopes to have live performances at Abravanel Hall by the next season. Audience members were invited to sign up on a wait list for information on next season’s performances.