SASO 40th anniversary season

Punch Howarth

Members of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra with conductor Linus Lerner, will celebrate 40 years of providing symphonic music and a home for instrumental musicians. Almost all of the new season’s musical selections have been performed by the orchestra during the previous 39 years. Some of the original founding musicians continue as orchestra members. Concert sites have included theaters, churches, schools, Arizona School for Deaf and Blind, and, in recent years, at SaddleBrooke and Oro Valley. Former conductors will be reviewed in later articles.

Five pair of regular season programs will be performed at SaddleBrooke’s Desert View Performing Arts Auditorium on Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m.

Opening the season called “From Paris to Leningrad” on October 19 and 20, 2019, will be La Belle Helene Overture by Offenbach followed by Giuliano de Angelis performing Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1 for Cello and Orchestra. Closing the concert is the rousing-dramatic Symphony No. 5 by Shostakovich.

Carmina Burana of Carl Orff will feature soloists, choirs and extra forces on November 16 and 17. This popular work is based on medieval off-color poems. An all-German concert opens the 2020 portion with two works on February 15 and 16 by Beethoven; Turkish March and Symphony No. 7. Conducted by guest conductor and soloist Matthias Manas, the program also has Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme for Piano and Orchestra by Richard Strauss. The winner of the Dorothy Vanek concerto competition will be presented.

An all Tchaikovsky concert on March 14 and 15 will feature two “war horses” with Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring Melanie Chae soloist and Symphony No. 5 which will feature artist Armando Silva creating a canvas during the performance. Festival Coronation March will open the program.

Beethoven’s great 9th Symphony will close the 2019-2020 season on April 25 and 26. Assisting in the fourth movement will be vocal soloists and Helios Choir. Opening the concert will be two lighter works of George Gershwin; Promenade and Rhapsody in Blue for Piano and Orchestra with Andrea Trovado, soloist.

SASO and Lerner have had a busy off-season. In July, Lerner and members of SASO performed Verdi’s La Traviata and Hansel und Gretel by Humperdinck at the San Luis Potosi Opera Festival in Mexico. Lerner conducted the Round Top Festival Orchestra in Texas and traveled to London to conduct a recording session with the Royal Philharmonic and Stankov Brothers.

There will be an added program on January 18 and 19, 2020 of Johann Strauss Jr’s Operetta Die Fledermaus (the bat) at Rincon H.S. with an international cast.

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