2014–15 Season Tickets on Sale Now

Music is truly the international language. In the 2014–15 season, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra features music that spans 14 countries with guest artists from around the globe. Season tickets are on sale now—including a new two-concert mini-series in Green Valley.

SASO’s multi-cultural season opens with pianist Sandra Wright Shen, born in Taiwan. The second program features guest conductor Gabriele Pezone of Italy and violinist Marta Magdalena Lelek of Poland. The third stars a trio of artists—pianist Melanie Chae and her husband, violinist Edwin E. Soo Kim, both born in Korea, plus cellist Zoran Stilin, who moved to Tucson from Croatia. Originally from China, violist Hong-Mei Xiao solos on the fourth program. Closing out the season is all-American violinist Chloe Trevor, born in Dallas. Violinist Kim, cellist Stilin and violist Xiao have performed with SASO in previous seasons.

Music Director Linus Lerner, the quintessential globetrotter from Brazil, conducts four of the five SASO programs.

These soloists and conductors join the talented SASO musicians to perform music by composers from Armenia, Austria, Britain, the former Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and the United States. The oldest selection is the Mozart 21st Piano Concerto, written in 1785. The most recent is the premiere of Psalm 22, newly composed by SASO’s principal trumpet, Michael Kiefer.

 Five-concert season tickets are on sale now, offering a savings of $25 over individual ticket prices.

  • The Saturday SASO series is presented at 7:30 p.m. at SaddleBrooke’s DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Dr. in SaddleBrooke, north of the town of Catalina. Season tickets there are $91 and can be purchased by calling 825-2818 or visiting http://tickets.saddlebrooketwo.com.
  • The Sunday SASO series is presented at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte. Season tickets are $90 and can be purchased by calling 308-6226 or online at www.sasomusic.org. At St. Andrew’s concerts, tickets are complimentary for ages 17 and under.

This season SASO is introducing a two-concert series in Green Valley for $35, a savings of $11. Those concerts are Friday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Valley Presbyterian Church, 2800 S. Camino del Sol. The Green Valley concerts are Feb. 20 and April 10.

Longtime SASO supporter Dorothy Vanek is the season sponsor for the eighth consecutive year.

 Here is the schedule for 2014–15 SASO season:

  • Oct. 4 & 5—Berlioz’ Rákóczy March from The Damnation of Faust, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 with soloist Sandra Wright Shen, and Holst’s The Planets.
  • Nov. 8 & 9—Gabriele Pezone conducts Rossini’s Overture to L’Italiana in Algeri, Panufnik’s Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra with soloist Marta Magdalena Lelek, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5.
  • Feb. 20, 21 & 22—Suppé’s Light Cavalry Overture; Beethoven’s Triple Concerto featuring Melanie Chae, piano, Edwin E. Soo Kim, violin, and Zoran Stilin, cello; plus Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8.
  • April 10, 11 & 12—Kiefer’s Psalm 22, Martinu’s Rhapsody-Concerto with violist Hong-Mei Xiao, and Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite.
  • May 9 & 10—Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with soloist Chloe Trevor, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Individual concert tickets go on sale Sept. 1. Tickets to SaddleBrooke performances are $24 in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets to St. Andrew’s concerts and Green Valley concerts are $23.

 Praised for bringing charismatic and passionate energies to music performances, Lerner has led the orchestra on two tours of China and a trip to Mexico last summer, to perform in the first edition of the Oaxaca Opera Festival, where he is music director. A return engagement is planned for early August.

Lerner also serves as music director of the Symphony Orchestra of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil. He’s conducted orchestras, operas, choruses and instrumental groupsaround the world—including Brazil, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Spain, Turkey and the United States. He also serves as a clinician and vocal coach here and abroad.

In May SASO released its first professional recording—CELEBRATION!—showcasing the diverse musical range of six Tucson composers. The 75-minute CD is on sale now at www.sasomusic.org for $18.50 including shipping.

This orchestra is a vital community resource that has united performers and audiences through a passion for music. Founded in 1979, SASO presents world premieres, seldom-performed treasures and classical favorites. It also sponsors the annual Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition. For more information visit www.sasomusic.org or call 308-6226.

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SASO’s Story

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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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