SASO plays U.S. favorites in season finale performances
Contributed photo, Linus Lerner conducts the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in a May 31 season-finale at the DesertView Theatre in SaddleBrooke.

With an all-American theme, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra concludes its 2008-'09 season with concerts May 31 in SaddleBrooke and June 7 in Casas Adobes.

SASO returns to its homeland after this season's musical world tour with including Gershwin's famous "Rhapsody in Blue," featuring Angeline Ny as piano soloist.

Directed by Linus Lerner, the SASO program also highlights American composers Bernstein, Copland, Griffes and Ives.

On the playbill are two popular pieces from Bernstein's operetta "Candide," "Overture to Candide" and "Glitter and Be Gay," the latter sung by soprano Christi Amonson.

Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" combines elements of jazz with classical music. The composer once called it a "musical kaleidoscope of America." Pianist Ny is a popular local artist who has performed frequently with SASO.

Aaron Copland's "Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes" mixes the flavor of the Old West into classical motifs. Listeners may recognize the familiar Hoe Down tune from a recent television ad.

"The Unanswered Question" is a work by American composer Charles Ives.

Griffes' "Poem for flute and orchestra" is considered one of the best single-movement concerted works for flute and orchestra. Christine Harper, SASO's principal flutist, performs "this extraordinarily beautiful piece."

SASO was founded in 1979 by musicians with the enjoyment of music as its foremost mission. Throughout the years, students, amateur and professional musicians have partnered with soloists, composers and conductors to present an eclectic variety of new, seldom-heard and traditional classical music for audiences of all ages.

For the second year, the SASO season is sponsored by longtime Tucson arts supporter Dorothy Vanek, who also is a musician. For more information about SASO, visit the website at

Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra

Season finales

Sunday, May 31, at 3 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center in SaddleBrooke.

Tickets are $20 in advance or at the concert. Children 17 and under are admitted free. To purchase Saddlebrooke tickets in advance, call 825-5318 or visit

Sunday, June 7 at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Southwest Sanctuary, 7575 N. Paseo Del Norte. Tickets for the St. Andrew's concert are available at the door or in advance by calling 323-7166.

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