Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tucson: Violin Virtuoso Solos with SASO Oct. 8 & 9


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Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:36 PM
Subject: Violin Virtuoso Solos with SASO Oct. 8 & 9




Contact: Tim Secomb at 626-4513 or



Violin virtuoso Gareth Johnson SOLOS WiTH SASO Oct. 8 & 9


TUCSON, AZ – Young virtuoso violinist Gareth Johnson will join the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 8 and 9 in a performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor.


Now in his mid-20s, Johnson was inspired by Itzhak Perlman at age 10 when he began his studies. The New York Times has said Johnson "possesses prodigious musical gifts – like Joshua Bell or Maxim Vengerov. He dominates the stage."


The SASO season opener also features Galindo's Sones de Mariachi, Vaughan Williams' March Past of the Kitchen Utensils from "The Wasps", Smetana's Vltava (The Moldau) from "Ma Vlast" and Liszt's Les Preludes (Symphonic Poem No. 3). Music Director Linus Lerner will conduct.


In 2010, Johnson won the $10,000 first place prize in the Sphinx Competition for Black and Latino string players. The week after his SASO concert he will perform in South Africa and in November he'll solo with the National Symphony Orchestra in London.
He holds a bachelor's in music performance from Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida. Johnson also is considered a promising composer.


Lerner, who completed his doctorate in orchestral conducting at the University of Arizona, also serves as artistic director of the Bayou City Performing Arts in Houston. He has conducted orchestras, operas, choruses and instrumental groups in his native Brazil, the United States, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Mexico and China. 


The SASO concerts will be presented Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the SaddleBrooke Desert View Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive, and again on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 3 p.m. in St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte.


Both individual tickets and season tickets are on sale now. Season tickets are $75, a savings of $25. Order the St. Andrew's Series online at or call 308-6226. Individual tickets at St. Andrew's are $20 and complimentary for ages 17 and under.


Order SaddleBrooke tickets online at or call 825-2818. Individual tickets at SaddleBrooke are $21 in advance, $23 at the door.


The SASO season continues with four more concerts and a gala fundraiser:


Ø  Nov. 19 and 20, SASO presents He Zhanhao's "Lu You & Tang Wan" Concerto for Guzheng with Orchestra, Chorus and Soprano. Featured are Larry Leung on the guzheng, the Tucson Sino Choir and soprano Marcia Fest. This program also includes Gershwin's Cuban Overture and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.

Ø  On Feb. 11 and 12 guest conductor Tao Fan returns to the SASO podium with his sister, pianist Cong Fan, performing the challenging Yellow River Piano Concerto by Yin and Chu.  Also on the program: Liu and Mao's Yao Dance Overture and Brahms' Symphony No. 2 in D Major.

Ø  On April 14 and 15 whimsy is in the air with Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals and a multi-media show. The program also features the innovative HarpFusion ensemble, along with music of Copland, Handel, Sibelius and a performance by the winner of SASO's annual youth concerto competition.

Ø  The season concludes May 19 and 20 with a rare concerto for two double basses by Bottesini, performed by Waldir Bertipaglia and Catalin Rotaru. The program opens with Isaac's Patriotic Overture and ends with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 in D minor.

Ø  The orchestra's annual fund-raising gala will be held Jan. 28, 2012 at the MountainView Country Club in SaddleBrooke. The gala is not included in the season ticket package.


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. The orchestra has toured in China, giving six performances in five cities, including Beijing. For more information, visit


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