2018-2019 Season

Sponsored by Dorothy Vanek

Thank you, Southern Arizona, for a Magnificent 2018-19 Season!

Learn about our upcoming 40th Anniversary Season!


Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 & Coronation Mass

Linus Lerner & Ayla Moreno

Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center

Adolfo Alejo

Concert sponsored by Tom and Carolyn Cochran


Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Concert sponsored by William and Stephanie Krueger and Stephen and Paula Klein


  • Suppé: The Beautiful Galatea Overture
  • Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F major, K. 37, Movement I
    Ayla Moreno, junior division winner of the 2019 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition
  • Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5, K. 219 in A major (“Turkish”)
    Adolfo Alejo, violin
  • Mozart: “Coronation Mass,” K. 317
    Liliana del Conde, soprano
    Kristin Dauphinais, alto
    Adriano Pinheiro, tenor
    Andrew Stuckey, bass
    and the SASO Chorus


Past Programs

Special Mexican Independence Day Concert

Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 6 p.m.
Fox Tucson TheatreMexican flag

17 W. Congress St.

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

Vocalists from Mexico’s San Luis Opera Festival and Dr. Linus Lerner International Voice Competition team up with SASO and a mariachi ensemble for an evening of opera arias and Mexican classical orchestral music. Free admission! The free tickets will be distributed by the Mexican Consulate, 3915 E Broadway. For more info please call the Consulate at 882-5595 ext. 404.

Chávez & Saint-Saëns

Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center

Concert sponsored by John Heitmann

Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Concert sponsored by Larry Leung

Sandra Shen

  • Márquez: Conga del Fuego Nuevo
  • Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 22 (Sandra Shen, piano)
  • Debussy: Petite Suite
  • Chavez: Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonía India)



Flávio Gabriel

Borodin & Arutiunian

Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center

Concert sponsored by Beatrice Simpson

Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Concert sponsored by Patricia Linder

  • Bernstein: Candide Overture
  • Arutiunian: Trumpet Concerto (Flávio Gabriel, trumpet)
  • Jobim: Girl from Ipanema (Flávio Gabriel, trumpet)
  • Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in B minor


Mendelssohn & Brahms

Saturday, February 2, 2019 at 7:30pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center

Concert sponsored by Howard Reeve and Donna Langwig


Madeleine Mitchell

Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 3pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Concert sponsored by Technicians for Sustainability

Peter Leonard


Theodore Buchholz


Peter Leonard, Guest Conductor

  • Mendelssohn: The Hebrides, Op. 26 (Fingal’s Cave)
  • Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Violoncello, Op. 102 (Madeleine Mitchell, violin and Theodore Buchholz, violoncello )
  • Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 5, Op. 107 in D major (Reformation)

SASO’s Story

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.
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."
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 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.
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.
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 first concert was Oct. 28, 1979, conducted by former University of Arizona music professor Henry Johnson, featuring Jonathan Kramer in a Boccherini cello concerto.
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 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.
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.
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.