Support SASO by buying a raffle ticket for a 2021 Ford Bronco and other fun prizes! 100% of proceeds go to SASO. Simply purchase a ticket for $25 (or 5 for $100) by clicking the link below. You will be entered into the drawing and your raffle tickets will be mailed to within 5 business…
TUCSON, AZ – Expect the unexpected at the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra’s April concerts. SASO welcomes tuba, violin and harp soloists plus the talented young players of Tucson Junior Strings. Eight composers are featured. The guest artists are: Lauren Roth, concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, playing Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Mark Nelson,…
TUCSON, AZ – Harpist Claire Thai, age 18, won first place and $1,000 in the 2017 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition sponsored by the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. Violinist Jacqueline Rodenbeck, age 10, won second place and $500. Pianist Jessica Zhang, age 15, won third place and $250. Rodenbeck will perform the first movement of…
TUCSON, AZ – Rare indeed. Mix together electric guitar and a symphony orchestra for a musical experience seldom heard. Tucson composer and guitarist Pete Fine will perform his Concerto No. 2 for Electric Guitar and Orchestra on March 10 and 11 with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. This is the first time Tucson audiences will…
TUCSON, AZ – The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra will present four concerts with the Tucson Sino Choir to celebrate the 2018 Chinese Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dog. The program features ethereal selections on traditional instruments, including Jing Xia on the guzheng, a Chinese zither, and Fangyuan Liu on the erhu, a two-stringed…
Paraguay’s globe-trotting Diego Sánchez Haase will guest conduct the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in a program showcasing Beethoven’s evocative Pastoral Symphony and Rachmaninov’s technically challenging third piano concerto. The program presented November 18 and 19 will open with Rossini’s Overture to William Tell. Piano soloist Yelena Beriyeva made her solo debut at the age of…
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."
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 first concert was Oct. 28, 1979, conducted by former University of Arizona music professor Henry Johnson, featuring Jonathan Kramer in a Boccherini cello concerto.