CORONAVIRUS

Violinist Returns To Utah Symphony With New Appreciation For Music

Sep 20, 2020, 10:39 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2022, 10:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — When the seriousness of the pandemic became apparent and the Utah Symphony stopped playing in March, violinist Barbara Scowcroft stopped listening to music.

“I don’t know if I was afraid to listen to it or I don’t know,” she said.

Scowcroft and many of her colleagues are now back on stage giving concerts.

“(I’m) so excited. It’s gonna be amazing. I can’t wait to hear it. I can’t wait to feel it,” she said.

Because of safety measures, concerts will look and sound different. Primarily string players will perform. Brass and woodwind musicians are sidelined for the moment while the organization figures out how to mitigate the risk of those musicians spreading the virus. The artists will also be spread out on stage.

The audience will be limited to 400, a fraction of the seats in Abravanel Hall, and everyone will be wearing masks.

Two engineering professors from the University of Utah conducted a study of the air flow in the hall to help the Symphony make concerts safer. A Symphony spokesperson said an epidemiological study is also underway.

Barbara Scowcroft, a more-than-30-year veteran of the Symphony, said she stopped listening to music when the pandemic hit. Violinist Lynn Rosen said she didn’t appreciate how much people needed music until she gave a small solo performance at a condominium complex. Scowcrpft rehearses the Utah Youth Symphony outside a Salt Lake church. A socially-distanced Utah Symphony rehearsal.

Barbara Scowcroft, a more than 30-year veteran of the orchestra, returns to work with a new appreciation of her art.

“Music is like spiritual air and food,” she said.

Violinist Lynn Rosen said she didn’t appreciate how much people needed music until she gave a small solo performance at a condominium complex.

“I could tell that’s been missing from people’s lives,” she said. “Everybody wanted their toilet paper and their groceries and everything, and then after a while, they wanted a little bit more — either mental or spiritual or intellectual. That’s all in music.”

During the hiatus, Scowcroft “stress practiced,” but stopped listening to recorded music until she happened to turn on her car radio and hear Brahms’ Fourth Symphony.

She said she was so moved she had to pull over to the side of the road.

Later, at home, she listened to the piece again and started to cry.

“I started to cry because of the depth of beauty,” she said.

Perhaps she was so moved, Scowcroft said, because the music gave her hope.

“Maybe I thought, well the world is not gone because there’s this beauty in it,” she said.

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Violinist Returns To Utah Symphony With New Appreciation For Music