Guest Artists

This season’s guest artists come to us from around the world, and here at home.


Chloé Trevor


Quickly becoming one of the most talked about and sought after musical ambassadors to Generation Z, violinist Chloé Trevor has combined her spirit for classical music and her passion for mentoring the youth of today to connect on a personal level with audiences in exciting and innovative ways. Critics have acclaimed Chloé for her “dazzling technique,” “excellent musicianship,” “huge tone,” “poise and professional grace” and “bold personality unafraid to exult in music and ability.” She has appeared as a soloist with orchestras worldwide, including the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Latvian Chamber Orchestra, Slovak State Philharmonic, Plano Symphony and the Knoxville Symphony. She made her New York concerto debut in 2013 and Avery Fisher Hall debut in 2014. She previously performed with SASO in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in May, 2015.

Diego Sánchez Haase

Guest Conductor

Born in Villarrica, Paraguay, in 1970, Diego Sánchez Haase has been acclaimed by critics as the most brilliant, complete and versatile figure of the new generation of classical music in Paraguay. Initially studying the Paraguayan harp (with which he has won numerous awards in national competitions), he abandoned folk music in his adolescence to devote himself fully to classical music. He has served as music director of several Paraguayan orchestras, performed internationally as a harpsichordist and pianist (with a particular emphasis on music of Bach), and composed many works for orchestra and for chamber ensembles.

Yelena Beriyeva


Hailed as “the paragon of the concert pianist” by the LA Examiner and “a standout performer” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, Georgian-born American pianist Yelena Beriyeva made her solo debut at age 5 with the Tbilisi State Symphony Orchestra. Since then, she has performed extensively as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral soloist in the Republic of Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Canada, and the United States. While pursuing her master’s degree at the New England Conservatory, she was no stranger to prestigious Jordan Hall where audiences could hear and watch her perform works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Chopin, Barber, Bartok, Berg, Stravinsky and others. In February 2016, she gave a spectacular performance of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with SASO on two days’ notice.

Jing Xia


Ms. Xia Jing is a talented young guzheng performer from the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing. (The guzheng is a plucked zither with 18 or more strings and moveable bridges; ancestor of the Japanese koto). Ms. Xia is a Gold Medal winner of the “World Rising Star” competition in China. She won the Bronze Medal in the guzheng competition of the “Golden Bell Award,” which is the highest accolade for Chinese musical performance. In collaboration with the China Symphony Orchestra, she was invited to attend the Vienna New Year’s Concert. She has also been invited to numerous music festivals and has presented many solo performances in the U.S., New Zealand, Switzerland, Malaysia, South Korea and other countries. Ms. Xia is also an accomplished player of other ancient Chinese stringed instruments, including the guqin (seven-stringed zither) and se (also a plucked zither, but much rarer than the guzheng today). Ms. Xia will teach guzheng in the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona.

Christi Amonson


Soprano Christi Amonson is establishing herself as a singer with “a lustrous sound” and “ingratiating charm and warmth.” Her operatic roles include Amy (Little Women), Mozart’s Despina, Zerlina, Susanna, and Blondchen, Verdi’s Gilda, Oscar, and Nannetta, Gretel, Adele, the title role of La Périchole, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Yum Yum, Josephine, and Mabel, Hanna Glawari (Die lustige Witwe), Monica (The Medium), Lisette (La rondine), and the title role of Naughty Marietta. She has performed with SASO many times, including on a tour of China, and most recently in an April 2016 concert including Eric Whitacre’s Goodnight, Moon and Bruckner’s Te Deum.

Pete Fine


Pete Fine, born in New York City in 1950, started studying guitar in 1963, and moved to Tucson in 1974. Having performed with ensembles of many different styles of rock and jazz-rock, as well as doing recording sessions and orchestra pit work, he earned the reputation of being a virtuoso acoustic and electric guitarist. He also is a self-taught composer and orchestrator.


His first work for 12-string guitar and chamber orchestra, written in 1972, was released years later under the German label Shadocks Records, and a subsequent work for electric guitar with full orchestra was spotlighted in Guitar Player magazine in August 1982. Having loved symphonic music all his life, Fine has had several more works performed in Tucson, most notably a Symphony for String Orchestra, an Electric Guitar Concerto (released on CD by the Catalina Chamber Orchestra conducted by Enrique Lasansky) and a suite for 12-string guitar, two vocal soloists and orchestra. SASO’s Celebration! CD features his Landscapes, inspired by a 2011 trip through Rocky Mountain Park.

In addition to these musical accomplishments, Pete has studied classical Indian music and is a performer on sitar, a popular North Indian stringed instrument.


Lauren Roth


A native of Seattle, Lauren Roth is concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and assistant professor of violin at the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music. Earlier, she was concertmaster of the Canton Symphony. In May 2013, she earned a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of William Preucil, concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra. She was a member of the Cleveland Pops orchestra and a substitute with The Cleveland Orchestra.

SASO’s Story

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