SASO performs the mighty Brahms First February 15-16

Linus Lerner with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra will perform Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor this month. Danzon No. 2 by Arturo Marquez, a Cuban-Mexican rhythmic romp, will open the concert. Following will be the dramatic cello exposition Schelomo.

Video: Tchaikovsky concerto with Edwin Kim, 1st movement

Here’s the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, featuring Edwin E. Soo Kim, one of our most acclaimed guest soloists, with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, recorded Nov. 10, 2013 at Tucson’s St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

SASO Opening Concert Features Borodin Symphony No. 2

Opening the 2013-2014 Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra season on October 5 & 6, features two well known works by Verdi and Borodin and a new concerto for cello. Resident conductor Linus Lerner has selected guest conductor Dimitar Karaminkov from Bulgaria to be on the podium for this first program. The major selection will be Borodin’s…

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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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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 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.