The international music celebration of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra this season continues on Nov. 8 and 9 with Gabriele Pezone of Italy as guest conductor and Marta Magdalena Lelek of Poland performing a violin concerto by fellow countryman Andrzej Panufnik. The Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra was originally commissioned, premiered and recorded by…
Join the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra for a concert featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 and Holst’s The Planets, performed with projected images of space provided by the Kitt Peak National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
The Consulate of Mexico in Tucson, in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute of Tucson, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra (SASO) and the Fox Theatre, invite the public to the commemoration of the 204th anniversary of Mexican Independence. The concert will feature a performance by the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by soloists from the Oaxaca…
Members of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra will travel to Oaxaca, Mexico to perform in the second annual Oaxaca Opera Festival on August 9 and 10. The orchestra will be joined by two dozen soloists from Mexico who competed for the opportunity to perform and to participate in the festival, plus a chorus.
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.
TUCSON, AZ – Music aficionados take note. There’s a mighty milestone ahead. The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra will present three performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with Brazilian-born guitarist Roberto Capocchi, and Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. The Beethoven is considered by many to be the greatest piece of music ever written. It…
TUCSON, AZ – The new soloist for Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is Russian-born Mikhail Korzhov, who performs with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra on April 5 and 6. He replaces Pervez Mody, who had a family emergency. This SASO concert is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, with the Liszt plus Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol and…
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.