SASO Begins the 2017-2018 Season

TUCSON, AZ – On Oct. 14 and 15 the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra presents a lively program inspired by folk rhythms, poetry and joyous celebrations of the human spirit. These are musical marvels by Khachaturian, Vivaldi and Dvorak.

SASO welcomes the return of violinist Chloé Trevor to play Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto and Vivaldi’s Summer from the Four Seasons. She is known for her “dazzling technique,” “huge tone” and “natural musicality.” Born into a musical family, she began playing the violin at age two. In addition to performances throughout Europe and the United States, she recently completed her first tours of Australia, Singapore, Spain and Mexico. She previously soloed with SASO in May, 2015.

Khachaturian’s only violin concerto was an immediate and enduring success. He wrote it in the summer of 1940 in his native Armenia. Khachaturian once said, “I wrote the music as though on a wave of happiness. My whole being was in a state of joy, for I was awaiting the birth of my son. And this feeling, this love of life, was transmitted to the music,” according to The Amati Magazine.

Vivaldi wrote his Four Seasons violin concerti around 1721 based on poems specific to each season of the year. Some speculate that he wrote the sonnets himself because they so precisely fit the music, given that each is broken down into three sections, neatly corresponding to a movement in the concerto.

In 1878 Dvořák was commissioned to write a set of eight pieces in the spirit of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances. The resulting Slavonic Dances proved immensely popular. The composer has said he incorporated characteristic rhythms of the folk dances of his native Bohemia, yet the melodies were his own creation. SASO will play Slavonic Dances 5, 6, 7 and 8.

The program opens with Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No. 1, which premiered in Bucharest in 1903 with the composer conducting.

This SASO season opener also features Solis by contemporary American composer Amanda Harberg. Fellow composer John Corigliano (who won as Oscar for score of The Red Violin performed by Joshua Bell) has said, “Amanda Harberg writes truly beautiful music. This is rare in our time – in fact, in any time. She touches the soul and invigorates the brain at the same time. I love her work.”

SASO musicians previously performed Harberg’s Viola Concerto in 2015, which was commissioned and played by her friend Brett Deubner, a champion of new works for the viola. SASO’s CD on the Naxos label includes the premiere recordings of Harberg’s concerto and Max Wolpert’s Viola Concerto No. 1, both played by Deubner.

Philanthropist and musician Dorothy Vanek underwrote this CD as well as SASO’s previous recording – Celebration! – featuring the compositions of six Tucson composers. She remains SASO’s season sponsor for the 11th consecutive year.

With SASO you can expect the unexpected. Music Director Lerner challenged himself to not repeat any major work in his first decade of programming for SASO. This season explores new works, welcomes eight guest artists and invites audiences to savor both familiar and esoteric selections.  Lerner has conducted SASO musicians both here and abroad, including two tours of China, one in Brazil and several opera festivals in Mexico – three in Oaxaca and two in San Luis Potosí. 

The Oct. 14 and 15 performances will be on Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. in SaddleBrooke at the DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Dr., and on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at 7575 N. Paseo del Norte in northwest Tucson.

SaddleBrooke tickets are $24 in advance or $25 at the door. They can be purchased by calling (520) 825-2818 or online at St. Andrew’s tickets are $23 and can be purchased by calling (520) 308-6226 or at Students age 17 and younger can reserve complimentary tickets to the St. Andrew’s performance.

The 2017-2018 season includes four more concerts:

  • 18-19 – Paraguay’s globe-trotting Diego Sánchez Haase guests conducts Beethoven’s evocative Pastoral Symphony and Rachmaninov’s third piano concerto featuring Tbilisi-born Yelena Beriyeva in her second appearance with SASO. The program opens with Rossini’s Overture to William Tell.
  • 27-28 – SASO’s Chinese New Year celebration features soloists on the guzheng, also known as the Chinese zither, and the erhu, or two-stringed Chinese violin. University of Arizona faculty member Jing Xia plays the guzheng in Zhou’s Robe of the Clouds. Xiaoyin Zheng solos on the erhu in Lui’s Great Wall Fantasy. Other selections are Lu’s Ode to the Red Flag and Wang’s Dream of the Red Chamber, arranged by Lang.
  • March 10-11 – Don’t miss Electric Guitar Concerto No. 2 written and performed by Tucsonan Pete Fine. His first concerto premiered in 1999. This concert also features SASO’s favorite soprano Christi Amonson, performing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Poulenc’s Gloria with the SASO Chorus, plus winners of SASO’s annual Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition.
  • April 14-15 – TSO concertmaster Lauren Roth joins SASO to perform Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Also on the program are Theofanides’ Rainbow Body and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.

SASO is a vital community resource that unites performers and audiences through a passion for music. Founded in 1979, this orchestra presents world premieres, seldom-performed treasures and classical favorites. For more information call (520) 308-6226 or visit

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