Utah Metropolitan Ballet (UMB) is pleased to announce the formation of the Utah Metropolitan Ballet Orchestra. It is directed by Dr. Bryce Rytting and provides live music for all of UMB’s classical performances.
WHY LIVE ORCHESTRA?
The creation of a permanent orchestra advances a long-standing relationship between UMB and Rytting, who for over 20 years has conducted the orchestra for the ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker.
Jacqueline P. Colledge, founder and Artistic Director of UMB, said everyone in the company is excited to add a live orchestra to performances. When dancers are supported by the dynamic give and take of live music, their performances take on a greater level of vibrancy and expression.
“There’s nothing like it because it happens exactly at the moment. Everything looks fresh, it’s not over-rehearsed because it’s a collaboration. I’ve just seen them light up when they have the orchestra. Their dancing is on a much higher level because of that inspiration.”
Rytting has seen the same thing from his vantage point in the orchestra pit.
“They really enjoy having a real artistic collaboration with the musicians,” he said of the dancers. “If you’ve got a conductor and live musicians, then you can react to each other in real time. For instance, I will conduct pieces at different speeds depending upon who the soloist is. Different dancers have different styles, and that will affect the way the music will go. So it’s nice for the dancers to feel that symbiosis.”
The orchestra has about 30 players, which is the number that can fit in the orchestra pit at the Covey Center for the Performing Arts in Provo. Rytting, who will hold auditions in the near future, said it enhances the quality of performances to have a group of players who are used to each other and familiar with the ballets.
THE HISTORY BEHIND UMB & RYTTING'S ORCHSTRA
Colledge and Rytting have worked together to produce The Nutcracker every year since 1998. In 2019, he conducted a live orchestra for UMB’s performance of Colledge’s original work, Legend of Timpanogos. Colledge thinks very highly of the conductor’s work and is excited about what their expanded collaboration will mean for the ballet company.
Rytting holds a B.S. from the University of Utah, a diploma from The Frankfurt Conservatory (Germany), and an MFA and PhD from Princeton University. He has taught at the Eastman School of Music and Brigham Young University. He currently teaches at Utah Valley University. He also conducts the Utah Valley Symphony.
When it comes to ballet, Rytting is enthusiastic about the way it ties physics and music together. As a conductor, he works with an internal sense of what he calls musical inertia and musical momentum.
“Dance, of course, is the ultimate embodiment of that. So I just really love teaming this primary way in which I experience music with actual people who are actually doing physics – leaping, landing, arcing through the air and making rhythm and flows and shapes with their bodies.”
“One of the things that makes me happiest is when I can tell that I’ve nailed a tempo that is working perfectly for the dancers. When that happens, I’m in heaven.”