TUCSON, AZ – Brazilian flutist James Strauss will perform two works with the Southern Arizona Symphony on April 6 and 7 – the premiere of Glen Roger Davis’ Tattoo Notes and Howard Hanson’s Serenade, Opus 25.
Tucson composer Bruce Stoller will perform the solos in his Open Spaces Suite on a flute he crafted of native materials. The pianist and music teacher makes flutes from yucca and agave plants.
The SASO program also features Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture, Hovhaness’ And God Created Great Whales and selections from Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1. The soloist is Benjamin Nead, winner of the 2013 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition.
Davis is a former professional rock musician turned classical composer who sold 21 guitars from his collection to have his Piano Concerto in F performed and recorded by soloist Michael Chertock and the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria. Fanfare magazine reviewed the work as “stunning, lyrical and hauntingly beautiful.” A later Fanfare profile of Davis said, “His music is structurally classical but its harmonies are rooted in the modern jazz traditions. Its rhythms are an audacious and seamless blend of classical, jazz and rock.” Tattoo Notes is described as jazz-classical.
Davis said, “The rhythmic and articulative dialects of jazz and rock are in everything I write. The sound color, and especially the harmony of my music, has much more to do with jazz than with rock.” He joined the music faculty at Miami University in 1990 after completing his doctoral degree in composition at Ohio State University.
“In music I find beauty, order, powerful intimacy and solace,” he said. The composer plans to attend the SASO premiere of this challenging work.
Strauss, the soloist for this piece and the Hanson serenade, is one of the last “disciples” of renowned French flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, who said Strauss is “an authentic Latin representative of the French school of flute playing.” He’s the first Brazilian flutist to graduate from the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris.
Hovhaness’ And God Created Great Whales is one of his most popular works. It is performed with recorded whale songs. Written in 1970, the music depicts the transformation of chaos into beauty, the creation of the earth, the oceans and whales. The original chaos is represented by the string players performing musical fragments independent of each other.
This program will be performed twice – Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Dr. in SaddleBrooke – and Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte. At the St. Andrews concert, tickets are complimentary for students age 17 or younger.
Tickets to the SaddleBrooke concert are $21 in advance or $23 at the door. Order them online at http://tickets/saddlebrooketwo.com or call 825-2818.
Tickets to the St. Andrews concert are $20 in advance or at the door. Order online at www.sasomusic.org or call 308-6226.
The SASO season concludes May 18 and 19 with the premiere of Pete Fine’s symphonic work Landscapes, inspired by a 2011 trip through Rocky Mountain National Park. Also a guitarist and sitar player, he wrote a Concerto for Electric Guitar, which premiered in 1999. The program also features Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto No. 3 with Chilean soloist Francisca Mendoza and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2.
Founded in 1979, SASO is a vital community resource that unites performers and audiences through a passion for music. The orchestra presents world premieres, seldom-performed treasures and classical favorites. The orchestra just returned from its second performance tour of China. For more information, visit www.sasomusic.org or call 308-6226.