2019-20 Season

Linus Lerner, Music Director
Season Sponsored by Dorothy Vanek

Celebrating 40 Years of Beautiful Music!

Tickets for St. Andrew’s Series (Sundays, 3:00 pm*) available below.
— Students 17 and under admitted free! —
Tickets for SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center Series (Saturdays, 7:30 pm*)
are sold by the venue: 

(520) 825-2818 or https://tickets.saddlebrooketwo.com/

Gershwin & Beethoven

With regret, SASO announces that, like most other performing arts organizations, we must cancel our April 24-26th concert cycle. We will reach out soon with details such as ticketing policies and future events.

Friday, April 24, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 25, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Past Concerts

Tchaikovsky and a Live Painter

Melanie Chae

Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 7:30 pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center
Concert sponsored by Beatrice Simpson
Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 3:00 pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Concert sponsored by Jerry Levine
  • Tchaikovsky: Festival Coronation March
  • Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Melanie Chae, piano)
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 (live painting interpretation by Armando Silva)

    Armando Silva

Beethoven & Strauss

Matthias Manasi

Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 7:30 pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center
Concert sponsored by Kathie Heitmann
Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 3:00 pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Concert co-sponsored by Rudi Faller

Guest Conductor and soloist: Matthias Manasi

  • Beethoven: “Turkish March” from The Ruins of Athens
  • Richard Strauss: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (Matthias Manasi, piano)
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 7
  • Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2, mvt. 1 (Graham Fawson, piano – winner of the 2020 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition)

Carmina Burana

The Helios Ensemble

Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church*
Co-sponsored by Linda Stack
Co-sponsored by Edward Kane, in memory of Gloria Kane
Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Concert sponsored by Judy Saks
  • Orff: Carmina Burana (featuring Liliana del Conde, soprano; Adriano Pinheiro, tenor; Andrew Stuckey, baritone; and The Helios Ensemble)

Plus THREE additional outreach performances (tickets available at the door):

Friday, November 8, 7:00 PM – Marana High School

Saturday, November 9, 7:00 PM – Empire High School

Wednesday, November 13, 7:00 PM – Rincon High School



From Paris to Leningrad

Giuliano de Angelis

Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 7:30 pm
SaddleBrooke DesertView Performing Arts Center
Concert sponsored by Robert & Donna Langwig and Howard Reeve
Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 3:00 pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Concert sponsored by Larry Leung
  • Offenbach: Overture to La belle Hélène
  • Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 1 (Giuliano de Angelis, cello)
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

A Mexican Independence Day Celebration

An evening of festive favorites, featuring winners of the Linus Lerner International Vocal Competition and Mariachi Los Diablitos de Sunnyside High School

Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Sunnyside High School
Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Fox Tucson Theatre (Free Concert)
  • To reserve tickets, contact the Mexican Consulate of Tucson: (520) 882-5595, ext. 404

Mariachi los Diablitos de Sunnyside High School


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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.