History

Since its inception in 1977, NOVA Chamber Music Series has taken a leading role in the arts community of Utah, providing a venue for Utah artists and audiences to explore the vast chamber music repertoire. Founded by former Utah Symphony clarinetist Russell Harlow, NOVA's first decade featured many esteemed local musicians including, violist William Primrose, Utah Symphony concertmasters William Preucil and Andrés Cárdenes, and numerous collaborations with composer Ramiro Cortés. NOVA’s first commission was the Cortés Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in 1981.

In 1986, Utah Symphony violinist Barbara Scowcroft was appointed Artistic Director. In her 18 seasons as Artistic Director the series regularly featured violinist and Utah Symphony Music Director Joseph Silverstein, mezzo-soprano Lani Poulson, and Utah Symphony Concertmaster Ralph Matson. During the 2002 Winter Olympics Cultural Olympiad, Ms. Scowcroft invited members of the Utah Youth Symphony and the International Youth Orchestra to perform on the series alongside members of the Utah Symphony. Commissions during her tenure featured works by William Hill (Sonata for Marimba and Strings, 2000), and the University of Utah’s John Costa (Chrysanthemum, 1997). In 1999, NOVA received the Governor's Award in the Arts for its contribution to the cultural life of Utah.

Corbin Johnston, Utah Symphony Associate Principal Bassist, was named Artistic Director in 2004. His tenure was distinguished by a broad range of projects further connecting NOVA to the local community and to audiences farther afield. In 2007, NOVA took a leading role in organizing Music for the End of Time: Olivier Messiaen in Utah, a collaboration with numerous arts organizations of Salt Lake City commemorating Messiaen’s historic 1972 visit to Utah. 2007 also marked the establishment of a string quartet residency featuring the Fry Street Quartet, resident artists at the Caine College of Arts at Utah State University. NOVA’s 30th anniversary season began with a commission from University of Utah’s Morris Rosenzweig and the series’ first commercial recording. In addition, the season was expanded from five to six programs with occasional repeat performances at BYU and Snow College. The NOVA Project, an educational concert series for children, was introduced in 2005.

NOVA’s current Artistic Director, Utah Symphony Pianist Jason Hardink, was appointed in the fall of 2009. Under his leadership the series has deepened relationships with Utah composers while broadening NOVA’s profile nationally through commissions and recordings of works by composers Curtis Curtis-Smith, Jason Eckardt, and Michael Ellison. Since 2009 NOVA has featured collaborations with Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer, soprano Celena Shafer, and the PLAN-B Theatre Company. The NOVA Gallery Series, performed in the intimacy of the Art Barn Finch Lane Gallery and featuring an even more in-depth view of selected composers, was added to NOVA’s schedule in the Fall of 2013.