Music Director José Luis Gomez Opens Inaugural Season With Tucson Symphony Orchestra

by Tucson Symphony

Program to Feature Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Soloist Zhang Zuo

(Tucson, AZ)─The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will open its new season with the Classic Series program, TITAN: Beethoven and Mahler, on Friday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, September 24 at 2:00 p.m. at the Tucson Music Hall.  For his inaugural season Music Director José Luis Gomez took particular care to program music reflecting his life’s musical journey, giving insight into him as a person and artist. Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Carreño’s Margariteña, which opens the program, are two examples of his choices. The program will also feature a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 by Zhang Zuo, a soloist the Los Angeles Times says performs with “a powerful, passionate, and compelling representation of pure artistry.” Concert Comments, one hour prior to performances are complimentary with tickets.

“I played Margariteña with the Youth Orchestra at least 100 times, including once in Panama when we performed it with Mahler’s First Symphony,” says Maestro Gomez. “This performance of Margariteña will celebrate the life and work of the award-winning Venezuelan composer Inocente Carreño, who died in May, 2016 at 96.” Margariteña is a rhapsody of famous popular tunes and spirited Venezuelan rhythms.

Pianist Zhang Zuo, widely known as Zee Zee, has appeared with the BBC Symphony, the London and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Cincinnati Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, among others. She has worked with leading conductors including Paavo Jarvi and Marin Alsop and has appeared at some of the top festivals, such as the BBC Proms, Ravinia Festival in the U.S. and the Beethoven Festival in Poland. She studied at the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School, where she won the coveted Petschek Piano Award.

These performances with the Tucson Symphony will mark her public debut of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2.  About the piece, Zee Zee told Tucson Lifestyle: “I will have to quote my former teacher, Leon Fleischer. He described the concerto in one word, ‘debonair.’ Nothing suits it better. I love this piece because it’s so charming and endearing, and you would rarely describe Beethoven in those words. Although it’s an early work, it is still Beethoven; the character is there-young, ambitious and positive.”
With the Symphony No. 1, Mahler announces himself as the composer of long symphonies for large forces and with big ideas about life.  He said that “a symphony must be like the world; it must contain everything.” The music fulfills that goal with a sometimes startling blend of music from his own Songs of the Wayfarer to “Frère Jacques.”

The TSO Classic Series is sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Dyer Vanek. Zhang Zuo’s performance is made possible by support from Shirley Chann.

Tickets to TITAN: Beethoven and Mahler are $30 to $86. They are available online at, at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office, 2175 N. Sixth Avenue or by phone at 520.882.8585.  TSO Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

Programming, artists and prices are subject to change.

Contact: Terry Marshall, Public Relations Manager, 520.620.9158