Agency History #1792


Using authority granted to it by the 22nd State Legislature in 1937, the Utah Institute of Fine Arts (Agency #369) in 1940 created the Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association (later renamed the Utah Symphony Society) as a division of the institute. The two-pronged mission of the Utah Symphony Society was to maintain a symphony orchestra (#1793) which would regularly perform symphonic programs and maintain the highest standards of music as well as develop, in-so-far as would be consistent with regard to business efficiency and artistic performance, the musical talent and resources of the state.

Since its inception, the board has been known as the Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association (1940-1946), Utah Symphony Board (1946-1967), the Utah Symphony Society (1967-1988), and the Utah Symphony Board (1988-present).


The board of directors had power to outline policies, employ musicians and a musical director, and do all other things necessary to perpetuate a symphony orchestra. The executive committee was specified as the sole agent of the association to incur any expense, liability, or indebtedness except when a committee or officer was acting in pursuance of prior appropriation or authorization of the executive committee. Both groups were involved in fund-raising activities.

The board originally contracted with former members of the Utah State Sinfonietta, an orchestra established in 1935 through funding by the federal Work Projects Administration (WPA) and operating under an art institute campaign designed to develop Utah talent in all the arts, and a contingent of professional musicians to form a 52-piece orchestra. After six seasons of this two-tier arrangement, the symphony board in December 1945 decided to upgrade the orchestra to a fully professional, full-time organization. Although its goal of a full-time (year-round, 52-week schedule) professional symphony orchestra wasn't realized until 1980, the board immediately began contracting with professionals for the 1946 season.

A primary function of the Utah Symphony Society has been to supply employment and training for native musicians in orchestral, choral, and operatic performances. Much of this training was accomplished through the symphony orchestra's long association with the University of Utah.


The government of the Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association originally was vested in a board of directors consisting of 25 members, 13 of whom were members of the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts Board, and the remainder appointed by the president of the association with the approval of the Institute Board. A 7-member executive committee, including 4 members of the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts executive board, was to be appointed by the president. Board members annually elected a president, vice president, treasurer and executive secretary. Board members appointed by the president initially served one- year terms. A 1948 amendment extended the length of terms to three years and provided for two vice presidents.

Under the new bylaws adopted upon incorporation of the Utah Symphony Society in 1967, board membership increased to 33 members, "each of whom shall be of full age and all of whom shall be citizens of the United States." Members of the Governing Board of the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts were given ex officio status on the reorganized symphony board. These 13 members each had one vote. Officers included a president, an executive vice president, one or more other vice presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, and a manager. The president was responsible to appoint the balance of board members with the consent of the existing board of directors. Each member appointed by the president was entitled to one-half vote. Representation of the Utah State Institute Fine Arts on the symphony board was discontinued in 1976 when the Utah Symphony Society ceased being an adjunct of the Institute.


Through two provisions in the 1937 revised statute expanding the authority of the Utah Institute of Fine Arts (formerly the Utah Art Institute), the institute acquired a means for public funding as a permanent policy in developing the arts. The first provision specifically empowered the institute to cooperate with the federal government in the sponsorship of the arts, opening the door for participation in what has become today's National Endowment for the Arts. The other permitted establishment of any arts unit, such as a symphony orchestra, as a division of the institute to which state funds could be allocated.

The institute board on March 29, 1940, adopted a set of "Rules and Regulations Establishing and Governing a Department to be known as the 'Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association.'" The Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association, meeting jointly with the art institute board, first convened on April 8, 1940. Officers were elected and a concert scheduled for May 8, 1940.

The Utah Symphony Society operated as an unincorporated adjunct to the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts under the direction of the music committee until February 24, 1967, when it was incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the state of Utah. Although the organization had never been expressly mentioned in any statute as being a part of state government, it nevertheless continued operating as a quasi-state agency. The institute, renamed the Utah Division of Fine Arts in 1967, continued to pay certain administrative salaries and other employee expenses of the Utah Symphony Society in return for services rendered.

The Utah Symphony Society eventually severed organizational ties with the Division of Fine Arts on May 24, 1976, becoming a non-governmental, publicly supported, non-profit corporation. The Utah Symphony continues to receive annual funding from the Division of Fine Arts in the form of grants to non-profit arts organizations.


Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association, 1940-1946

Utah Symphony, 1946-1967

Utah Symphony Society, 1967-1988 (In 1976 the society then became a non-governmental, publicly supported, non-profit corporation.)

Utah Symphony, 1988-present


Deedee Coradini, 1988-1991

Jon M. Huntsman, 1985-1988


Wendell J. Ashton, 1966-1985

T. Bowring ("By") Woodbury, 1965-1966

John W. Gallivan, 1964-1965

O. Preston Robinson, 1963-1964

Raymond J. Ashton, 1953-1963

J. Allan Crockett, 1952-1953

Glenn Walker Wallace, 1948-1952

Fred E. Smith, 1940-1948

COMPILED BY: W. Glen Fairclough Jr., September 1990


Administrative Reports, Compiled Digest of, (Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1957), p. 150; (June 30, 1958), p. 190; (June 30, 1959), p. 194; (June 30, 1960), pp. 197-98; (June 30, 1961), pp. 200-202; (June 30, 1962), pp. 202-203; (June 30, 1963), pp. 196-97; (June 30, 1964), pp. 199-201; (June 30, 1965), pp. 216-17; (June 30, 1966), pp. 228-29.

Appropriations Report (1987-1988), pp. 81-82; (1988-1989), pp. 79-81.

Audit Report, Utah State Institute of Fine Arts and Utah Symphony Society, July 1, 1965 to June 30, 1966.

Deseret News, "Symphony a state agency?", 2 April 1974, p. 12-B.

Draper, Ruth, "Maurice Abravanel: Never Less Than 100 Percent" (periodical title unknown, about 1976), pp. 24-27.

Harrison, Conrad B., Five Thousand Concerts: A Commemorative History of the Utah Symphony (Salt Lake City: Utah Symphony Society, 1986).

Laws of Utah, 1937 (Chapter 118), Utah Art Institute renamed the Utah State Institute of Fine Arts, powers expanded.

Laws of Utah, 1967 (Chapter 175), Utah Department of Development Services formed; Institute of Fine Arts renamed the Division of Fine Arts.

Poll, Richard D., et al., Utah's History (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1978), pp. 572, 596-598, 605.

Report on the Fine Arts in Utah 1968 (Salt Lake City: Utah State Institute of Fine Arts, a Division of the Department of Development Services (June 1968), pp. 70-72.

Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah State Symphony Orchestra Deserves Full Support of Citizens, Officials," editorial (19 Oct. 1949), p. 8.

Utah Code Annotated, 1953, 63-33-1 et seq., DCED.

Utah Code Annotated, 1953, 64-2-1 et seq., Division of Fine Arts.

Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association, Minutes, April 1940.

Utah State Symphony Orchestra Association, Rules and Regulations, 1940.

Utah Symphony Constitution and Amendments, 1946.

Utah Symphony concert programs, various performance dates including the Gala Opening of the new Symphony Hall on September 14-15, 1979.

Utah Symphony Fact Sheet, July 1980.

Utah Symphony Society, Articles of Incorporation, 24 Feb. 1967; amended 24 May 1976 and 20 Oct. 1988.

Willis, Cherie Ann, 1989 draft articles for Encyclopedia of Utah.

Page Last Updated July 2, 2003.