Contributed photo, Chinese guest conductor Tao Fan leads the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in performances this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 20 and 21.

Special to The Explorer

Tao Fan, who holds the rank of national first class conductor in the People’s Republic of China, is guest conductor of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 20 and 21.

Tao Fan leads the orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at the DesertView Performing Arts Center in SaddleBrooke, and again at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Paseo del Norte in the Northwest.

The program features Dvorak’s powerful “Violoncello Concerto in B minor,” and Schumann’s “Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Major, Spring,” in the 200th anniversary year of his birth. It also includes “Tibetan Tita Dance” by Ao Chang-Qun. There will be a reception hosted by The Chinese Cultural Center at the Sunday performance.

Tao Fan graduated at the top of his class in 1995, and was appointed resident conductor of the National Film and Radio Philharmonic in Beijing. Since then, he has conducted leading orchestras in China and around the world.

Soloist for the Dvorak concerto is Belgian-born Thomas Landschoot, who began studying cello at age six with his father. His solo career began after taking a top prize an international cello competition in 1995 in Bucharest, Romania. An avid chamber musician, he is praised for his expressive and poetic music making, a release said.

Linus Lerner, SASO’s music director, is rehearsing the orchestra in preparation for these guest artists.

This season, SASO is presenting present two concerts in a single weekend – the first on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Desert View Performing Arts Center, at 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive in SaddleBrooke, and the second on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, SW Sanctuary, 7575 N. Paseo Del Norte in Tucson.

For the SaddleBrooke concert, order tickets online at http://tickets/saddlebrooketwo.com or call 825-2818. Individual tickets for SaddleBrooke are $21 in advance or $23 at the door. For the St. Andrews concert, order online at www.sasomusic.org or call 323-7166. Individual tickets are $20, on sale in advance or at the door.

The balance of SASO’s season:

Jan. 29, 5 p.m. – SASO’s fifth annual gala, held at SaddleBrooke, features fine dining, musical entertainment, live and silent auctions.

Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 13, 3 p.m. – The program includes Ravel’s “Bolero” and “Concerto for Piano in G Major” with guest artist Jesus Maria Figueroa, plus Grainger’s “Colonial Song” and Hindemith’s “Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber.”

March 12, 7:30 p.m., and March 13, 3 p.m. – A special collaborative celebration of the 300th anniversary of Padre Kino’s death featuring SASO, the Catalinas Community Chorus and Tucson Masterwork Chorale with soprano Christi Amonson and mezzo-soprano Angela Diel. The program includes Mozart’s “Coronation Mass,” plus choral and orchestral works. The first performance will be at St. Augustine Cathedral downtown. The second location has yet to be determined.

April 2, 7:30 p.m., and April 3, 3 p.m. – This concert features the winner of the second annual SASO Youth Concerto Competition, plus Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino Overture” and Puccini’s “Suor Angelica” with soprano Ana Paula Brunkow, mezzo-soprano Kerry Grubel and the Southern Arizona Opera Company.

May 21, 7:30 p.m., and May 22, 3 p.m. – The season finale includes Chabrier’s “Espana,” Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s “Concerto for Two Guitars” with soloists Eduardo Costa and Gabriel Navia.

For more information about Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, visit www.sasomusic.org or call 323-7166.

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