SASO focuses on Tucson composers

The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra launches its season-long focus on Tucson composers this weekend with Jay Vosk’s 2003 work “Running the Rim.”

In each of its five concerts this season, the volunteer orchestra will perform a work by a Tucson composer that will be recorded for the orchestra’s first CD. Artistic Director and Conductor Linus Lerner said the CD will be released next summer. It also will include other works by Tucson composers that the orchestra will perform in the 2013-14 season, Lerner said.

Longtime SASO supporter Dorothy Vanek is sponsoring the concert, which will include a work SASO violist and composer Richard White wrote in her honor called “Celebration.”

In notes to the orchestra, Vosk described “Running the Rim” as a bit jazzy, with nods to Leonard Bernstein. The piece recounts the native New Yorker’s first visit to the Grand Canyon.

“There is a bright intensity one experiences when at the Grand Canyon,” he wrote. “The work is a kind of reminiscence of a past visit to this enthralling landmark. I also view this work through the eyes of a native New Yorker, which might be why the work is energetic and ‘jazzy’.”

The concert, which the orchestra will perform Saturday night in SaddleBrooke and Sunday in Oro Valley, also includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emporer Concerto,” featuring guest pianist James Dick. Dick, who lives in Texas, is a critically acclaimed soloist who has performed around the country. He also is the founder of the popular Festival Hill at Round Top in Texas, where he hosts the annual Round Top Festival Institute.

The concert ends with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, which makes references to Beethoven.

“It’s a really beautiful piece. It starts very sad with a funeral march but it ends up triumphant. It’s a redemption through death,” Lerner said. “It’s a great piece. Everybody loves Tchaikovsky No. 5.”

If you go

  • What: Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in concert.
  • Featuring: Guest pianist James Dick.
  • When and where: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive in SaddleBrooke, and 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte.
  • Tickets: For SaddleBrooke, $21 in advance, $23 day of; for St. Andrew’s, $20, free for children 17 and younger. Available online at


Jay Vosk’s “Running The Rim.”

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, E-flat major “Emperor Concerto.”

Williamson’s “The Flower of Scotland.”

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, E minor.

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