Our First CD Is Available Now!

SASO "Celebration!" CD

Celebration! is SASO’s new CD, presenting attractive music by Tucson composers Pete Fine, Bruce Stoller, Jay Vosk, Richard White, Brian Goodall and A.F. Schultz. Linus Lerner conducts the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in pieces that are alternately exciting, soothing, engaging and moving.

This is the only disc where you’ll find such intriguing music as Bruce Stoller’s Open Spaces for yucca shakuhachi flute (played by the composer) and orchestra, and Richard White’s tender For Patte—A Simple Song, written in memory of a beloved longtime SASO musician.

Online, each disc costs $18.50, including shipping and handling. Support SASO and encounter captivating new music by our own composers!

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Welcome to SASO!

Founded in 1979, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra is a vital community resource that unites performers and audiences through a passion for music. The orchestra presents world premieres, seldom-performed treasures and classical gems. Our 2014–15 season will open in October with the bluster and mystery of Holst’s The Planets, and the elegance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 featuring …

Gabriele Pezone

Gabriele Pezone studied piano under the guidance of Antonio Luciani, graduating from the Latina “Ottorino Respighi” Conservatory having also studied choral music and choir conducting, organ and composition. He also attended courses in liturgical ministries of the Diocese of Rome.

He has conducted the Corelli Chamber Orchestra (Italy), Vidin State Philharmonic Orchestra (Bulgaria), Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico (Mexico), Fedele Fenaroli International Youth Orchestra in Lanciano (Italy), Lomza Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León (Mexico), Kalisz Philharmonc Orchestra (Poland), Orkestra Akademik Baskent in Ankara (Turkey), Orquesta Sinfónica de Yucatan (Mexico), Camerata de Coahuila (Mexico), the San Severo Theater Orchestra and Giovane Orchestra d’Abruzzo (Italy).

He also directed Verdi’s La Traviata at the Manzoni Theater in Cassino and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the D’Annunzio Theater of Latina.

Pezone founded the Fondi Chamber Orchestra (with which he has recorded for Vatican Radio with the Italian-American pianist Natalie Gabrielli), and established the SoundTrack Ensemble, an instrumental group made up of young musicians, springing from a project by the Giuseppe de Santis movie association. He is a member of the Commission for Sacred Music and Liturgical Chant of the Archdiocese of Gaeta. He is the president of the Ferruccio Busoni and Sergei Rachmaninoff music associations, which have organized dozens of cultural events.

He is the artistic director of the Fondi Music Festival and a member of the International Campus of Music in Latina. Pezone was the artistic director of Fondi’s Cultural Week and musical director of a “love rock musical” opera presented in Poland in 2009.

Pezone’s interest in global sounds led him to become be the accordionist of the folk group Città di Fondi, which, in 2011, won the Best Music Award at the International Nicosia Folk Dance Festival in Cyprus.

Marta Magdalena Lelek

Marta Magdalena Lelek

Mar­ta Mag­dale­na Lelek is rec­og­nized as one of today’s best Pol­ish con­cert vi­o­lin­ists, de­scribed by re­view­ers as “s­tun­ning lis­ten­ers with breath­tak­ing tech­nique,” “in­ten­se,” and “thrilling the au­di­ence with the most beau­ti­ful sound.” Her per­for­mances often introduce in­ter­est­ing, rarely per­formed, of­ten con­tem­po­rary com­po­si­tions. Her reper­toire in­cludes vi­o­lin con­cer­tos by Ben­jamin Brit­ten, William Wal­ton, Ralph Vaugh­an Williams, Al­ban Berg, Igor Stravin­sky, Samuel Bar­ber, Fer­ru­cio Bu­soni, Mario Castelnuovo-T­edesco, Carl Nielsen, Yev­gen Stankovych, An­drzej Panufnik and David Tu­ki­ci. Karl Fior­i­ni wrote for and dedicated to her his Violin Concerto No. 2, the world pre­miere of which took place in May 2012 in Bangkok with the Na­tion­al Thai­land Phil­har­mon­ic Or­ches­tra; she recorded it in 2012 for Nax­os.

At the age of nine she be­gan her mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion un­der the head of the string de­partment at the Acade­my of Mu­sic in Ka­tow­ice. In 1999 she was in­vit­ed to begin her high­er ed­u­ca­tion at the pres­ti­gious Guild­hall School of Mu­sic and Dra­ma in Lon­don. In 2003 she was award­ed her bach­e­lor’s de­gree (with honors), and two years lat­er a mas­ter’s de­gree with dis­tinc­tion in per­for­mance. As a stu­dent, she per­fected her skills un­der Sir Col­in Davis, Jor­di Savall, the Takács Quar­tet, Wan­da Wiłkomirs­ka, Jose Luis Gar­cia Asen­cio, and many more.

Mar­ta Mag­dale­na Lelek per­forms ex­ten­sive­ly as a soloist with sym­pho­ny and cham­ber or­ches­tras in Eu­rope (Poland, Italy, Al­ba­nia, France, Ukraine, Rus­sia, Spain, Por­tu­gal, Czech Re­pub­lic), Asia, North and South Amer­i­ca and Aus­tralia. She has per­formed with, among others, the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico, Thai­land National Phil­har­mon­ic Or­ches­tra in Bangkok, Na­tion­al Sym­pho­ny Or­ches­tra of Ukraine, Albanian Na­tion­al Ra­dio and TV Sym­pho­ny Or­ches­tra, and Cra­cow Phil­har­mon­ic Or­ches­tra.

Linus Lerner, DMA

linusPraised for bringing charismatic and passionate energies to music performances, Linus Lerner has conducted orchestras, operas, choruses and instrumental groups around the world. He’s conducted in Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Spain and the United States.

Lerner is music director of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil. He also serves as clinician and vocal coach here and abroad.

He’s led SASO on two tours of China. He’s also guest conducted the Hunan Symphony Orchestra, Fuzhou Symphony Orchestra, National Film and Radio Orchestra and Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, all in China.

Other engagements include the Orchestra Nacional de Valles in Spain, the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras of Porto Alegre and the Symphony Orchestra of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, the International Opera Workshop in Bulgaria and Czech Republic, the Solistas Ensamble del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Primavera Symphony in Mexico.

Previously Lerner served as artistic director of Bayou City Performing Arts in Houston, and associate conductor for Opera in the Ozarks, Tallahassee Youth Symphony Orchestra and the University of Arizona Philharmonic. Lerner’s passion for music transcends cultural boundaries. Throughout his travels, he finds that music truly is the international language.

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Special Thanks to our 2014-15 Season Sponsor
Dorothy Vanek

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SASO’s Story

Alan Schultz became music director in Year 2 and continued leading SASO for 15 seasons. He frequently conducted from the keyboard—organ or harpsichord. He also composed several works premiered by SASO.
Turkish maestro Orhan Salliel, after guest-conducting SASO in the fall of 2012, wrote to us, "The time in Tucson I shared with you in SASO for me was so special. I felt the real love of music from the bottom of everyone's hearts. It was something I do not feel often—never, ever in the professional world anymore. Please keep it, save it, try to build everything from this power of love for music."
The first concert was Oct. 28, 1979, conducted by former University of Arizona music professor Henry Johnson, featuring Jonathan Kramer in a Boccherini cello concerto.
Our most famous alumnus is Rico Saccani, associate conductor of SASO our inaugural year and piano soloist for the second concert. He later conducted opera companies and orchestras around the world and was music director of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra from 1985 to 2005.
In December 1995 SASO was the first to present a concert at SaddleBrooke. This was the brainstorm of concertmaster Sam Kreiling. The concert sold out, as did a four-concert series the following year. SASO has performed there ever since.
SaddleBrooke is home to many of our loyal donors and the place where we’ve held our gala celebrations—first a black-tie dinner with music from "Phantom of the Opera" and later our annual StarStruck Gala evenings from 2008 through 2013.
Brazilian-born Linus Lerner, in his first year as music director, challenged the orchestra to learn his native Latin rhythms by playing Villa-Lobos. This proved surprisingly hard to do. We finally got it, but not until the week of the concert.
The largest event SASO has produced was Berlioz Te Deum, presented at the Tucson Community Center Music Hall with the Tucson Civic Orchestra, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Pima College Singers.
The most colorful performance was a Halloween concert in Nogales—a ghoulish event where the conductor was a clown and all the musicians were in costume.
Composer, pianist and conductor Warren Cohen served as music director for eight seasons, routinely commuting from his home in Phoenix, but one year all the way from Hawaii. His wife, coloratura Carolyn Whitacre, was a favorite soloist.
Adam Boyles was the music director for three seasons, bringing bountiful youthful energy and a passion to serve the music. Then the Tucson native moved East to brave the snow and conduct the orchestra at MIT in Boston.
The visionary founders of SASO were Barbara and Bill Chinworth, Scott Bracher and Janet Lombard. Barbara has played with SASO through its entire history, originally in the horn section, now on bass.
One spring SASO proved it has animal attraction. When it played at the Reid Park Zoo, some of the critters sang along with the music
Early audiences had to be loyal followers of this itinerant orchestra, which performed all over the city, frequently in churches. In the 1980s SASO rented the Temple of Music and Art for a concert. The City of Tucson condemned the building the morning of the dress rehearsal and the concert was canceled.