2021-22 Season


Dancing for Joy  2021-2022 Season

The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra presents a season of celebration and
movement in 2021-2022

SASO celebrates the power of music to connect us and make us move with a dynamic series of performances beginning in October. After a year of scaled back ensembles and live-streamed events, the full orchestra returns with a diverse lineup of acclaimed international guest soloists led by Maestro Linus Lerner.

The 2021-2022 performances feature music from ballets and operatic dance scenes by Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Stravinsky, and suites of dances by Dvořák and Grieg. The season’s theme of movement and dancing will take added meaning as we shake off the restrictions of the pandemic and celebrate the ability to express ourselves more freely.  In honor of the 100-year anniversary of Camille Saint-Saëns’ passing, SASO will perform the lively Bacchanale from Samson and Dalilah, the French composer’s best known opera. Other season highlights include a collaboration with the Tucson Flute Club and a pair of Mendelssohn concertos featuring Ivo Stankov on violin and Lachezar Stankov on piano. The Bulgarian brothers have performed around the world and will join SASO for the November concert. This concert will be the occasion for the American launch of a CD featuring the Stankovs, recorded with the renowned Royal Philharmonic of London conducted by Linus Lerner. In March the orchestra will perform alongside the winner of the 2022 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition, continuing a long tradition of showcasing Southern Arizona’s most talented young musicians. SASO’s season will wrap up with festive works by Dvořák and a piano concerto by Moszkowski featuring Italian soloist Pasquale Iannone.

Visit our ticketing page to purchase your seats today!

2021–2022 performances

Saturday performances: 7:30 pm at DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse
Drive, SaddleBrooke
Sunday performances: 3:00 pm at 3:00 pm at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, SW Sanctuary
7575 N Paseo del Norte, Tucson


October 16 and 17
Verdi and Grieg
Verdi: Overture to La Forza del Destino
Beethoven: Emperor Concerto (Piano Concerto No.5), with James Dick
Grieg: Symphonic Dances

November 13 and 14
Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns and Mendelssohn
Saint-Saëns: Bacchanale from Samson and Dalilah
Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, with Ivo Stankov and Lachezar Stankov
Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1 (movement 3), with Lachezar Stankov
Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty (suite)

February 5 and 6
Beethoven, Borodin and talented youth
Borodin: Overture to Prince Igor
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, with Edwin So Kim
Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No. 2 (movement 3), with Joshua Thai (junior winner of 2020
Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition)
Borodin: Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor

March 12 and 13
Flying High with Holland, Stravinsky, Gershwin and talented youth
Holland: Sun Flight (Concerto for Flute Ensemble and Orchestra), with Tucson Flute Club
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, with Andrea Trovato
Stravinsky: Firebird Suite
Also featuring winners of 2022 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition

April 30 and May 1
Dvořák and Moszkowski
Guest Conductor: Jee Woon Park
Dvořák: Festival March
Moszkowski: Piano Concerto No. 2, with Pasquale Iannone
Dvořák: Slavonic Dances


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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.