SASO features cellist Zoran Stilin and Brahms Symphony No. 1

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On. Feb. 15 and 16, Zoran Stilin will perform Bloch’s Schelomo with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra on a cello he made himself. Born in Croatia, the longtime Tucson resident restores and makes fine string instruments, winning top awards at the Violin Makers Association of Arizona International Competition. More info at www.sasomusic.org.

Cellist Zoran Stilin will perform Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 15 and 16, performing on an award-winning cello he made himself.

  The program also features Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor and Danzón No. 2 by contemporary Mexican composer Arturo Márquez.

  Stilin is a native of Zagreb, Croatia and a prize-winner of the former Yugoslavia National Cello Competition. He was a performing soloist with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio-Television Orchestra, Music Academy Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra “Gaudemus”. He continued his studies in Switzerland and later came to the University of Arizona, where he completed a master of music degree, studying with Gordon Epperson and Peter Rejto.

  Since moving to Arizona, Stilin developed his skills as a restorer and maker of fine string instruments. He was a student of the late Karl Roy, a German violin maker and one of the world’s leading authorities on violin making. Stilin’s instruments and bows have won top awards at the Violin Makers Association of Arizona International Competition. He is principal cellist of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and an active solo and chamber musician. Stilin has soloed several times with SASO.

  Schelomo, which Bloch called a “Hebraic rhapsody,” is his best-known work. Schelomo is the Hebrew name for Solomon. Bloch once wrote, “One may imagine that the voice of the cello is the voice of King Solomon. The complex voice of the orchestra is the voice of his age, the world, his experience. There are times when the orchestra seems to reflect his thoughts, just as the cello voices his words.”

Early in Brahms’ career, his fame as a composer was boosted when Robert Schumann wrote a glowing article about him. Yet Brahms was a perfectionistic critic of his own work and struggled years before finally completing his long-awaited first symphony at the age 42. The slow gestation stemmed in part from trepidation of following in the footsteps of Beethoven, who had penned nine of the world’s best symphonies. Critics and audience found the Brahms work worth the wait. It has been said that his symphonies – four in all – “lasted through the centuries thanks to their verve, freedom and complexity.”

Music Director Linus Lerner will conduct. Born in Brazil, Lerner has led orchestras, operas, choruses and instrumental groups in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and China. SASO has toured China twice under his baton, and this summer performed at the inaugural Oaxaca Opera Festival in Mexico. Lerner also is music director of the Symphony Orchestra Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil.

  The concerts will be presented Saturday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Dr. in SaddleBrooke and again on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte in northwest Tucson.

  Tickets to the SaddleBrooke concert are $21 in advance or $23 at the door. Call 825-2818 or order online at http://tickets/saddlebrooketwo.com.

Tickets to the St. Andrews concert are $20 can be ordered by phone at 308-6226 or online at www.sasomusic.org. Tickets also can be purchased at the door. Complimentary tickets are available at the St. Andrews performance for students age 17 or younger. 

  The remaining SASO concerts this season are:

  • April 5 and April 6 – Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with soloist Pervez Mody, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, plus the winner of SASO’s Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition.

  • May 10 and May 11 – Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with guitarist Roberto Capocchi and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Southern Arizona Symphony Chorus and other vocalists.

  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. For more information, visit www.sasomusic.org or call 520-308-6226.

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