SASO 2012-13 Season Starting Soon

TUCSON, Ariz. – The 2012-2013 season Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra includes two world premieres by Tucson artists. They are “Running the Rim” by Jay Vosk and “Landscapes” by Peter Fine. There’s also a sneak preview of the aria “If Life Were as it Seems” from the opera “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Richard White.

Pictured is James Dick who will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, known as the Emperor Concerto, on Oct. 6 and 7 with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. Following recitals in St. Petersburg, Russia and New York’s Carnegie Hall, the New York Times reported this is “modern piano playing at its best.”

Two other works by local composers are “Walk Without Fear” by Brian Goodall and “Open Spaces Suite” by Bruce Stoller.

These pieces will be recorded for possible inclusion in the orchestra’s first professional CD release, which will highlight Tucson’s talented composers.

Founded in 1979, SASO presents five concert programs a year with two performances each – Sat. nights at 7:30 p.m. at the DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Dr. in SaddleBrooke, and Sun. afternoons at 3:00 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at 7575 N. Paseo del Norte. Season tickets are $75, a savings of $25 over single ticket admission. At the St. Andrews concerts, tickets are always complimentary for ages 17 and under

The season opens Oct. 6 and 7 with the Vosk premiere, followed by Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, known as the Emperor Concerto, with soloist James Dick, plus Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor.

Vosk is a former New Yorker and graduate of the Eastman School of Music. He has composed more than 75 works and has called Tucson home since 1980. He was recently commissioned to write a piece for the National Symphony Orchestra.

The second SASO program will be on Nov. 17 and 18, featuring de Falla’s El Amor Brujo: Ballet Suite with mezzo-soprano Kristin Dauphinais, a member of the voice faculty at the University of Arizona, plus Sibelius’ The Oceanides and Debussy’s La Mer. Guest conductor is Orhan Saliel, who is considered Turkey’s most outstanding young conductor and composer.

Composer Goodall was commissioned to write “Walk Without Fear” following the tragic shootings in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011 where six died and 13 others were injured. The work premiered the weekend of the first anniversary events. His compositions over the past 18 years are written for full orchestra, string ensembles, voice and film.

On Feb. 23 and 24 SASO will present one aria from the opera Rappaccini’s Daughter by composer White and librettist Terry Quinn with soprano Christi Amonson and a female quartet. Born in Brooklyn, White’s musical output spans every facet of composition. He was greatly influenced by American composer Elie Siegmeister with whom he worked for nearly a decade. The program also includes Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher with violist Hong-Mei Xiao, who is on the UA music faculty, plus Mahler’s Symphony No.4 in G major with Amonson as soloist.

Stoller’s Open Spaces Suite will be presented April 6 and 7. Stoller is also a pianist, flute maker and teacher. That program also features Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture and Hovhaness’ And God Created Great Whales. Brazilian flutist James Strauss is featured in Glen Roger Davis’ Tattoo Notes and Hanson’s Serenade, Opus 35.

Strauss is one of the last “disciples” of renowned French flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, who called Strauss “an authentic Latin representative of the French school of flute playing.” This program also will feature the winner of the SASO Youth Competition.

The SASO season concludes May 18 and 19 with the premiere of Fine’s symphonic work inspired by a 2011 trip through Rocky Mountain National Park. Also a guitarist and sitar player, he wrote Concerto for Electric Guitar which premiered in 1999. The program also features Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor with Chilean soloist Francisca Mendoza and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor.

Music Director Linus Lerner will conduct four of this year’s programs. Lerner, who completed his doctorate in orchestral conducting at the University of Arizona, also serves as artistic director of the Bayou City Performing Arts in Houston. He’s conducted orchestras, operas, choruses and instrumental groups in his native Brazil, the United States, Spain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Australia and China.

Season tickets are on sale now. Order the SaddleBrooke Series online at http://tickets/ or call 825-2818. Order the St. Andrews Series online at or call 308-6226. Individual concert tickets also can be reserved in advance or purchased at the door.

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SASO’s Story

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