Skip to main content

Sandy Journal

Land of Legends Yielding Composer to Valley

Oct 08, 2015 02:38PM ● By Rhett Wilkinson

Christian Voss is a notorious composer in a nation already known for a remarkable number of world-class musicians in the very profession. He will conduct the American West Symphony at 8 p.m. Oct. 16 at Mount Jordan Middle School Theater in Sandy. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Jordan

By Rhett Wilkinson

Bach. Brahms. Haydn. Händel. Strauss. Beethoven. Today, Zimmer.

In Christian Voss, emerging musicians locally will soon be led by a composer from a land that, in Germany, has produced the world’s greatest composers.

One might say that Voss being in Sandy in mid-October will be evidential why Germany has been ranked internationally as the nation having the most positive influence in the world three of the past four years.

Voss will conduct American West Symphony performers Oct. 16 in Sandy. Most of the all-volunteer performers are “amateurs,” Voss said – and he’s glad about that.

“Everyone started as an amateur, yes?” Voss asked. “Sometimes you get to see your work and fun play together. It is very exciting to make music with people who don’t make it for money – they make it for fun.”

In Germany, Voss enjoys working often with youth and amateur orchestras, he told the Sandy Journal overseas via telephone.

“When you play with professional musicians… you have a teacher – and a teacher of the teacher,” he said. “It’s hard to make something new. It’s much more easy with amateurs because they are open to new ideas.”

Despite the competition in Germany, Voss has emerged. He studied composition and conducting at Weimar conservatory. He has conducted leading orchestras in Germany and guest conducted in Europe and Asia. He won a nationwide conducting competition in 2001, has composed his own works and in 2014, conducted the world premiere of Engelbert Humperdinck arrangements. Today, he is the music director of the Elbland Symphony. It plays opera, jazz, classical music and more.

“It’s a very wide range,” Voss said. “I’m not getting bored.”

The performance is possible between of a Sister Cities International exchange. It began in 2002 during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Then in 2012, Utah musicians started returning the favor in visiting Riesa, Germany. Riesa happens to be a home for most of the nation’s world-class composers.

Mayor Tom Dolan will give a speech and open the concert. A five-member delegation of Riesa will visit, including Arndt Steinbach and Susanne Voigt. Steinbach is an administrator of Meissen, the state where Riesa lies. Voigt is director of the prominent "Riesa and the World.” Also, Voss will be joined by other musicians.

Voss said that the geographical road for the exchange was paved a century ago, when a German man named Karl Maeser converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, moved to Salt Lake City and was a high-level church leader in multiple ways. There is a house in the city of Meissen next to the school where Voss works. It was Maeser’s house and now it has a sign about Maeser and his conversion and church service.

The American West Symphony and Chorus of Sandy, Utah, is an all-volunteer organization created in 1988. It includes 14 concerts at various venues.

Mount Jordan Middle School Theater is the result of a collaboration between Sandy City and Canyon School District.

Voss’ Sandy performance begins at 8 p.m. Friday at Mount Jordan Middle School Theater at 9351 S. Mountaineer Lane. Voss will also conduct at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Assembly Hall at Temple Square (50 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City) and at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah (1375 E. Presidents Cir., Salt Lake City).

Admission for the Sandy performance is $10 and $8 for students and $5 for youth ages 7 to 15. Tickets are available at the door.