Contest-Winner Concerto

Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra April Concert

3 p.m. Sunday, April 6

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church 7650 N. Paseo del Norte


The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra has assembled another top-notch lineup for its April concert, with selections from Tchaikovsky, Liszt and Rimsky-Korsakov. It’s the kind of performances SASO has become known for since 1979. But this month’s concert will feature an extra offering, this one coming from one of Tucson’s best up-and-coming musicians. Rebecca Shiao, a senior at Catalina Foothills High School, will perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 during Sunday’s show at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

It’s the same piece she performed recently to win SASO’s fifth annual Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition. “She did it with real confidence and style, and with a very strong sense of the music,” Timothy Secomb, SASO’s competition committee chairman, said of the 17-year-old Shiao. “She did a very persuasive performance.” Shiao’s concerto took top honors at the youth competition, which had about 20 entrants and was held in early March. It was the largest field ever for the event, and shows the growing interest in classical music by Tucson’s younger population, Secomb said.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Secomb, SASO’s principal violist, who has been with the organization since 1981. “Several of our past winners have gone on to top music schools.” Shiao’s performance will actually be one of two piano concertos in the April show, joining Russian pianist Mikhail Korzhev’s rendition of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. “It fits in really well, since we’re doing two other pieces by Russian composers,” Secomb said. “This concert will have a strongly Russian influence.” Tickets for the concert are $20 and can be purchased at the door. Guests 17 and under are admitted free.

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