The final concerts of the SASO season feature European music that spans just 81 years – from the debut of Robert Schumann’s only piano concerto in 1846 to Antonin Dvořák conducting his new Symphony No. 7 in 1885 to Reinhold Glière’s premiere of “The Red Poppy” ballet in 1927 with the “Russian Sailor’s Dance.” All three works are enduringly popular to this day.
Rising Russian star Anton Shaburov guest conducts this pair of Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra performances on April 22 and 23. He studied at the Moscow State Conservatory and won several conducting competitions. Today he is a popular guest conductor sought out for his “impeccable artistic taste” and “emotionally bright performance.” He holds dual faculty positions in Moscow and his hometown of Yekaterinburg.
Melanie Chae returns to the SASO stage as the piano soloist. She was born in Seoul, trained in London and is now based in Vienna. Chae will perform the Schumann concerto that was written for and first performed by the composer’s wife Clara, a prominent pianist of her day. Chae previously soloed with SASO in February 2015.
Both the Schumann and Dvořák were influenced by their contemporary Johannes Brahms. Schumann was an early champion of the young Johannes Brahms, who became a close family friend. Dvořák was inspired to write his Seventh Symphony in emulation of Brahms’ early symphonies, while retaining his thoroughly Bohemian style. This symphony reflects the struggles of the Czech nation as well as his own. At the time, Dvořák wrote to a friend “what is in my mind is love, God and my fatherland.”
The SASO program opens with what is now Glière’s most popular selection, a centerpiece of the first Soviet ballet with a modern revolutionary theme. What’s known today as “Russian Sailors’ Dance” was originally described in the ballet score and libretto as the “Dance of the Sailors from the Soviet Ship.”
The SASO performances, according to a news release, are:
- April 22 at 7:30 p.m. in SaddleBrooke at the DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Dr. Individual tickets are $24 in advance or $25 at the door and can be purchased by calling (520) 825-2818 or http://tickets.saddlebrooketwo.com. This concert is sponsored by John and Kathie Heitmann.
- April 23 at 3 p.m. in northwest Tucson at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte. Individual tickets are $23 in advance or at the door. Tickets are complimentary for ages 17 and younger. Order online at www.sasomusic.org or call (520) 308-6226.
Concert attendees will get a sneak peek of the SASO season for next year. Music Director Linus Lerner challenged himself to not repeat any major work in his first decade of programming for SASO. The 2017-18 season features an electric guitar concerto composed and performed by Tucson’s own Peter Fine, a Chinese New Year celebration with the Tucson Sino Choir and soloists on the guzheng and erhu, along with the return of popular guest artists –violinist Chloé Trevor, pianist Yelena Beriyeva, soprano Christi Amonson and the SASO Chorus. The season also features Lauren Roth, concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony, performing a Wieniawski violin concerto, and guest conductor Diego Sánchez Haase of Paraguay. With SASO, audiences can expect the unexpected. Season tickets are on sale now. Details at www.sasomusic.org.
Since 2008 Lerner has led this orchestra in Southern Arizona and abroad, including two tours of China, one in Brazil and several trips to opera festivals in Oaxaca and San Luis Potosi in Mexico.
Philanthropist and musician Dorothy Vanek is SASO’s season sponsor for the 10th consecutive year. She also underwrote SASO’s first professional CD – Celebration! – featuring the compositions of six Tucson composers. She later sponsored SASO’s pending CD of contemporary music featuring viola concertos by Amanda Harberg and Max Wolpert, both performed by internationally acclaimed soloist Brett Deubner.
SASO’s music acquisition this season is sponsored by the Arizona Lottery.
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 www.sasomusic.org.
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