TUCSON, AZ – Paraguay’s globe-trotting Diego Sánchez Haase will guest conduct the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in a program showcasing Beethoven’s evocative Pastoral Symphony and Rachmaninov’s technically challenging third piano concerto. The program presented Nov. 18 and 19 will open with Rossini’s Overture to William Tell.
Sánchez Haase is a conductor, composer, pianist and Paraguayan harpsichordist. He spent a number of years studying in Germany, Italy, Venezuela, Brazil, Spain and the United States and participated in numerous music festivals. He’s also performed in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Greece, Morocco, New Zealand and the U.S.
Rachmaninov’s third piano concerto was his personal favorite. He performed its premiere in New York City. Composed in 1909, this is considered one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the classical repertoire and intimidates many pianists – but not Yelena Beriyeva. She made her solo debut at the age of 5 with the Tbilisi State Symphony Orchestra and has performed in Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Canada and the U.S. She’s said to “touch the hearts of audiences with her powerful yet graceful performances.” Beriyeva holds bachelor of arts degrees from the Tbilisi State Conservatory and the University of Arizona, as well as a master’s from the New England Conservatory. The award-winning Beriyeva previously performed Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto with SASO in January 2016.
Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony was inspired by nature, where the composer found solace and inspiration as he was losing his hearing. The first sketches of the Pastoral Symphony appeared in 1802 and were composed simultaneously with his more famous – and more fiery – Fifth Symphony. Both premiered in 1808.
The composer said that his Sixth Symphony is “more the expression of feeling than painting.” He annotated the beginning of each of the five movements as follows:
· Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the countryside
· Scene by the brook
· Merry gathering of country folk
· Thunder. Storm
· Shepherd’s song – cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm
Composed in 1829, Rossini’s William Tell Overture is famously familiar, particularly as the theme music for “The Lone Ranger” in radio, television and film. It’s one of the most frequently used pieces of classical music in American advertising and was featured in several Disney cartoons, Kubrick’s film “Clockwork Orange” and more recently in the “Princess Diaries.”
Philanthropist and musician Dorothy Dyer Vanek is SASO’s season sponsor for the 11th consecutive year. Vanek also underwrote SASO’s two CDs – “Celebration!” which features the music of Tucson composers – and the well-reviewed premiere recordings of two viola concertos with soloist Brett Deubner on the Naxos label.
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 Nov. 18 and 19 concerts 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 http://tickets.saddlebrooketwo.com. St. Andrew’s tickets are $23 and can be purchased by calling (520) 308-6226 or at www.sasomusic.org. Students age 17 and younger can reserve complimentary tickets to the St. Andrew’s performance.
The SASO season will continue with three more concerts:
o Jan. 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. UA 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.
o 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.
o 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 www.sasomusic.org.