TUCSON, AZ – The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra has appointed James Reel as its first-ever executive director. Reel is best known as Arizona Public Media’s classical music director and weekday morning announcer for KUAT-FM.
Long involved in the Tucson arts community, Reel also serves as executive director of Chamber Music Plus and is president of Winding Road Theater Ensemble.
Under the direction of Music Director Linus Lerner, the orchestra continues to have ambitious plans. SASO leaves Dec. 26 for a four-city performance tour in China. The first tour was three years ago, including a final concert in Beijing. SASO also is planning for performances in Mexico in 2013.
Founded in 1979, the orchestra has grown steadily, recruiting talented players and international soloists while expanding its repertoire. The orchestra presents five pairs of concerts per season, including world premieres, new commissions, seldom-performed treasures and classical favorites. This season and next each concert features a work by a Tucson composer, in preparation for the orchestra’s first professional CD release.
Reel is a contributing editor to Strings magazine, and wrote for the All Music Guide, among other venues. He frequently gives pre-performance talks for various arts organizations. He’s a former arts editor and theater critic for the Tucson Weekly and, before that, arts and entertainment editor and music critic for the Arizona Daily Star.
“This is a milestone for the orchestra. We are delighted that James has agreed to serve as our executive director and share his expertise and vision. SASO is a valuable community resource that will continue to grow and thrive under his leadership,” said Dee Schroer, SASO board president.
SASO was established with a goal of uniting performers and audiences through a passion for music. This was evident to Orhan Salliel, considered Turkey’s most prominent young conductor and composer. After conducting the most recent SASO concert, he told the orchestra, “I felt the real love of music from the bottom of everyone’s heart. It was something I do not feel often in the professional world anymore. Please keep it, save it and try to build everything from this power of love for music.”
For more information on SASO, visit www.sasomusic.org or call 308-6226.