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Verdi Opens New SASO Season

Guest conductor Dimitar Karaminkov will lead the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in the opening concert of the 2013-2014 season on October 5 and 6. The program will include Verdi’s Sinfonia(Overture) to Nabucco, Concerto for Cello by Roumi Petrova with Kalin Ivanov soloist, and Symphony No. 2 by Borodin. Giuseppi Verdi was the dominant composer of…

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SASO China Tour 2012-2013: Update 6

Some comments from Diane about our concert in New Year’s Day: ‘The veterans of our 2009-2010 tour were excited to get back to Shenzhen, where we had played at the pretty concert hall that looks like a lunar module … or perhaps a giant egg. ‘Our last concert was a resounding success! Linus was even…

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SASO China Tour 2012-2013: Update 5

Some comments from Diane about our concert in New Year’s Day: ‘Our fourth concert presented new surprises. We thought we were on our way to Shenzhen, but we were driven to Longgang. We wondered if this was a mistake: the day before, one of the the bus drivers had been lost for half an hour….

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SASO 2012-13 Opening Concert: Part II

Beethoven and Tchaikovsky on the same program, what more could a music lover ask! The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra conducted by Linus Lerner, will perform the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 on the season’s opening concerts,October 6 & 7. Both composed great works for orchestra that please audiences and musicians…

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SASO 2012-13 Opening Concert: Part I

On Saturday October 6, SASO will perform a gigantic season opening concert featuring Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. Also on the program will be a new work by Tucson composer Jay Vosk and a guest conductor selected by bidding at the Annual GALA. J.V.Bevan Olyphant received the opportunity to conduct SASO this year by being sponsored by…

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Music Appreciation 101, Part II

Last month’s article focused upon the woodwinds of a symphony orchestra. Brass will be the highlight of this article. The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra includes a full brass section as do all symphony orchestras, and the normal section includes H-T-T-T; 4 french Horns, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones and 1 Tuba. Earlier compositions call for 2…

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Music Appreciation 101, Part I

This article will take a peek into the world of Classical Orchestra Music from an insiders perspective and conclude with audience participation. It should be noted up front, that attendance at Southern Arizona Symphony concerts has increased, indicating a growing interest, enjoyment of programs, and a belief that SASO is SaddleBrooke’s Orchestra. Part 1 of…

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SASO Up Close and Personal: Rehearsals and Programs

Now that we are in the summer doldrums of heat and monsoon tempest, the new season of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra is several months away. This affords an opportune time to explore how public orchestra concerts matriculate. Two general areas, programing and rehearsals will be covered and explored. Looking at rehearsal first, there are…

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SASO’s Story

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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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