2016-17 Season

Sponsored by Dorothy Vanek

Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Fox Tucson TheatreMexican flag

17 W. Congress St.

Sponsored by the Mexican Consulate in Tucson and the Instituto Cultural Mexicano de Tucson

Special Mexican Independence Day Concert

Vocalists from Mexico’s Festival Potosino de Opera and Dr. Linus Lerner International Voice Competition team up with SASO and Mariachi Sol Azteca for an evening of opera arias and Mexican jazz. Free admission! The free tickets are being distributed by the Mexican Consulate, 3915 E Broadway. For more info please call the Consulate at 882-5595 ext. 404 after September 1.

Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center

Sponsored by Tom & Carolyn Cochran

Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Sponsored by Patricia Linder

  • Márquez: Conga del Fuego; Danzón No. 2
  • Gershwin: Piano Concerto (James Dick, piano)
  • Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony

Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Cente

Sponsored by Beatrice Simpson

Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Sponsored by Technicians for Sustainability and Sunpower

  • Rossini: Overture to The Barber of Seville
  • Nielsen: Flute Concerto (Carol Wincenc, flute)
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

Friday, January 27, 2017 at 7pm
Valley Presbyterian Church, Green Valley

Sponsored by Country Fair White Elephant

Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center

Sponsored by Linda L. Griffin

Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Sponsored by Bo Saxberg

  • Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4; Violin Concerto (Edwin E. Soo Kim, violin)
  • Tchaikovsky: Suite from Swan Lake

Friday, March 17, 2017 at 7pm
Valley Presbyterian Church, Green Valley

Sponsorship available

Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center

Sponsored by Corbett & Pat Alley

Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Sponsored by Patricia Linder

  • Walton: Coronation March, Crown Imperial
  • Glazunov: Saxophone Concerto (Ashu, saxophone)
  • Piazzolla: Two Tangos (Ashu, saxophone)
  • Ravel: Piano Concerto in G (first movement; Nicholas Turner, winner of SASO’s Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition, piano)
  • Fauré: Requiem (with chorus and Jonathan Kim, baritone, and Kristen Lucas, soprano)

Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center

Sponsored by John & Kathie Heitmann

Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Sponsorship available

Anton Shaburov, guest conductor
  • Glière: Russian Sailors’ Dance from The Red Poppy
  • Schumann: Piano Concerto (Melanie Chae, piano)
  • Dvořák: Symphony No. 7

SASO’s Story

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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."