SASO Presents Three Works for Two Types of Flute

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/ or call 825-2818.

Tickets to the St. Andrews concert are $20 in advance or at the door. Order online at 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 or call 308-6226.

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SASO’s Story

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