Thierry Fischer discovered his calling at the age of seven when he started taking recorder lessons. “I remember the first time I put this piece of wood in my mouth,” he says excitedly, as if it just happened yesterday. “I can even remember the taste of it, how I was dressed, the incredibly pure notion of beauty, the physical energy of the vibration passing through my body. It was something I cannot forget.”
Ever since that first experience, Fischer has continued to live a life affected and guided by the power of music. At age 16 he decided to become a professional flautist and eventually occupied the principal chair of several orchestras. Later on in life, a call came from a friend to lead a rehearsal of an amateur choir in Geneva. Fischer declined at the start, but eventually agreed to do it “as a joke.” The joke, as it turned out, was on him. “It was almost a physical reaction—the same reaction I had as when I started recorder lessons. I remember going back home and saying to my wife, ‘My life has changed.’”
In the end, Fischer not only led the concert, but took over the orchestra, a year later, when the founder of that Geneva orchestra retired. Since then, he has served as the chief conductor of the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the Nagoya Philharmonic and, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Fischer accepted his post in the Utah Symphony in fall of 2009, where he has revitalized the music-making and programming, and brought a new energy to the orchestra and organization as a whole.
Nancy Green and Carol Dalrymple