Events and Concerts
Concert Series and Music Festivals
The Madeleine Arts and Humanities Program is held in the historic Cathedral of the Madeleine (331 E. South Temple St., 801/328-8941, www.saltlakecathedral.org, all events free). This series of choral, organ, and chamber music concerts takes place on Sunday evenings throughout the spring and summer. Lectures, theatrical performances, and dance concerts are also held.
In June, the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition (801/521-9200, www.bachauer.com) takes over Salt Lake City. More than 60 young pianists from around the world gather to perform a two-week-long series of performances both as solos (early in the competition) and with the Utah Symphony (only the finalists). The winners compete for recording contracts and thousands of dollars in cash. It's a good chance to enjoy the musicianship of tomorrow's rising piano stars and to savor the thrill of musical competition.
Temple Square Concert Series
The concert series at Temple Square (801/240-3318, 801/240-2534, or 800/537-9703, www.visittemplesquare.com) presents hundreds of performances a year for the public; all are free. The LDS Church sponsors the varied musical fare to provide a common meeting ground of great music for people of all faiths. You might hear chamber music, a symphony, operatic selections, religious choral works, piano solos, organ works, a brass band, or a percussion ensemble.
The renowned 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. (you must be seated by 9:15 a.m. and remain seated during the entire performance). You can also hear the choir rehearse 8-9:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings (you can come and go during the rehearsals). At the same time on Wednesday evenings, the Mormon Youth Symphony rehearses in the tabernacle, and on Tuesday evenings the Youth Chorus rehearses.
In June, July, August, and December, rehearsals and broadcasts are held across the street in the Conference Center, which can accommodate the larger summer and Christmas season crowds. Broadcasts are also held in the Conference Center during LDS semiannual General Conferences, which take place on the first Sunday of October and April. Admission on these two Sundays is available only to Conference ticket holders. Occasionally, when the choir is on tour, a youth choir, youth symphony, or other group replaces it.
The Temple Square Concert Series presents complimentary hour-long concerts in the Assembly Hall featuring local and international artists every Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are not required, but admittance is for those eight years of age and older. From June through August, the Temple Square Concert Series presents Concerts in the Park, held in the Brigham Young Historic Park on the southeast corner of State Street and Second Avenue. These outdoor concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. during June and July and 7:30 p.m. in August.
Organists demonstrate the sounds and versatility of the tabernacle's famous instrument in half-hour organ recitals held Monday-Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the summer months. The rest of the year, the recitals are at noon Monday-Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Summer Concerts and Festivals
Salt Lake City is filled with free music concerts in summer, when local parks and public spaces become makeshift concert halls. Check local media or the visitor center for details on the following ongoing concert series.
Gallivan Center Concerts and Films features free noontime concerts on summer weekdays, plus free live music concerts on Wednesday evenings at the downtown Gallivan Center (Main St. and 200 South, www.slcgov.com/publicservices/gallivan). Monday in the Park Concerts are free concerts at the Chase Home Museum in Liberty Park.
The Utah Symphony (801/533-5626, www.utahsymphony.org) also offers an extensive summer series of concerts at Wasatch Front ski areas, a short drive from downtown Salt Lake City.
Festivals and Events
Concerts, festivals, shows, rodeos, and other special events happen here nearly every day, and the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau (90 S. West Temple St., 801/521-2822, www.visitsaltlake.com) can tell you what's going on. Also check the Visitors Bureau's Salt Lake Visitors Guide for some of the best-known annual happenings.
The first weekends of April and October see the annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held at Temple Square (801/240-2531). The church president (believed to be a prophet of God) and other church leaders give guidance to members throughout the world. (Hotel rooms are in short supply at this time.)
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in May with a party and concerts at Gallivan Center (801/538-3247) the week of May 5. A larger celebration of multiculturalism comes the third weekend of the month, when the grounds of the Salt Lake City and County Building at State Street and 400 South erupt with the Living Traditions Festival (801/596-5000). Enjoy dances, food, and entertainment of the many different cultures that make up the Utah mosaic.
The Utah Arts Festival (801/322-2428, www.uaf.org) takes place the last weekend in June and includes lots of music, dance, readings, art demonstrations, craft sales, and food booths. The event is held at Library Square (200 East 400 South).
The summer's single largest festival is in July. The Days of '47 Celebration (801/247-8545) commemorates the arrival of Mormon pioneers here on July 24, 1847. The city celebrates with three parades, including the huge 24th of July Pioneer Parade (the day is a state holiday), a marathon, lots of fireworks, and the year's biggest rodeo, held at the Delta Center.
The Greek Festival (Hellenic Center at 300 South 300 West, 801/328-9681) in September celebrates Greek culture with food, music, folk dancing, and tours of the historic Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The festival is held the weekend after Labor Day.
The Utah State Fair (North Temple St. and 1000 West, 801/538-8441, www.utah-state-fair.com/home/index.php), held at the state fairgrounds in September, is a celebration of the state's agricultural heritage and features rodeos, livestock shows and judging, arts and crafts exhibits, musical entertainment, and a midway carnival.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition