Tucson Symphony Orchestra Announces a Return to Live Orchestral Performances

Photo: Tucson native, Claire Thai, an alumna of TSO’s Young Composers Project as well as an internationally recognized harpist will perform the world premiere of her harp concerto during TSO’s season.

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has announced a season of 33 orchestral performances starting September 24, 2021.  In a newly-renovated Tucson Music Hall, Music Director José Luis Gomez will lead an Opening Night program that features Gomez’ fellow Venezuelan, trumpeter Pacho Flores, playing contemporary Latin American works. The concert starts with the Festive Overture by the dean of African-American composers, William Grant Still, and concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.

Gomez says, “Opening Night is a special occasion for celebration after this enforced absence, an evening that will be pure joy, so I’ve chosen one of the most glorious symphonies to crown this evening together with our audience. The people of Tucson are the reason for our being, and our musicians have longed to share music with them again.”

Maestro Gomez has programmed music written by women composers Gabriela Lena Frank, Florence Price (the first female African-American composer of classical music) and Tucson native Claire Thai, an alumna of TSO’s Young Composers Project as well as an internationally recognized harpist, who will perform the world premiere of her harp concerto. Audiences will hear the music of several composers of African descent, including Mozart contemporary Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Duke Ellington, Fela Sowande and Ulysses Kay, who was born in Tucson and studied at the University of Arizona. Other composers with a Tucson connection include Daniel Asia and Robert Muczynski.

This year TSO has reduced its base price level to enable more citizens of Southern Arizona to attend its concerts. Tickets will now start at $17 at Tucson Music Hall concerts. Popular programming includes a screening of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” the second movie of the initial trilogy in concert with every note of John Williams’ score played by the orchestra, February 12 and 13, 2022.

TSO will also perform music of Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Bach, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky and dozens of other masters. Guest artists include the welcome returns of Amit Peled in Dvořák’s cello concerto, Martin Kuuskmann in Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto and Joyce Yang in the TSO-co-commissioned Piano Concerto by Jonathan Leshnoff. Metropolitan Opera star Nicole Cabell sings Barber and Mahler, and Paul Huang is soloist in the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto. TSO musicians will also perform as soloists, with concertmaster Lauren Roth playing the Stravinsky Concerto, among others.

Subscriptions are on sale for concerts in Tucson Music Hall and Catalina Foothills High School at tucsonsymphony.org and 520-882-8585. Single tickets will be available this summer.

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