Supporter Spotlight: Maestro Award Honoree Shirley Chann

by Tucson Symphony
Supporter Spotlight: Maestro Award Honoree Shirley Chann

This season we are thrilled to present Shirley Chann with the Maestro’s Award at the PRIMO24 Gala in January—a recognition she richly deserves. As a champion and ambassador for the arts across Arizona, Shirley has sponsored countless TSO performances and artists. This season she is sponsoring the return of highly esteemed guest conductor Keitaro Harada to lead the Ravel and Dvořák concert in November and TSO principal trumpet Hayato Tanaka’s performance of the Tamberg Trumpet Concerto No. 1 during the Masterworks concert in February. Though Shirley’s passion for music is very apparent, what moves her are the artists and musicians themselves. She always takes time to meet and get to know every TSO musician.

“Since Shirley was a child, her parents cultivated a love of music in her.  Earl loved art.  Shirley loved music.  When asked why she never had children, the answer was “every musician is my child “.. she wants the sound of music to be available for everyone.  She is generous in the giving of money, time and spirit.  I am proud to call her FRIEND.”

– Dr. Lori Mackstaller

She has also helped to advance the arts community in Tucson by serving on many boards including The University of Arizona School of Music, Arizona Public Media, UAPresents, Pima Community College Foundation, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, The Stonewall Foundation, and the Grand Canyon Music Festival. She also served as a national trustee of the National Symphony Orchestra and as a commission member of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

In September of 2016, Shirley’s friends established the Chann Endowment for Artistic Excellence, kicking off the fund with an exceptional performance by pianist Joyce Yang. The goal of the endowment is to bring aspiring young artists to perform with the TSO, and Shirley herself continues to sponsor artists so that the endowment can grow.

Thank you for all you do Shirley!  You inspire us.


Since 2018, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s most enthusiastic supporters have come together to shine a spotlight on the organization’s commitment to artistic excellence, diversity, partnership, and education. Principal musicians take center stage and share their passion with an exclusive, intimate audience, making for performances unlike any other during the season! The evening culminates with the presentation of the Maestro Award, given annually in recognition of significant contributions to the TSO, and the premiere of a musical composition by a participant of TSO’s award-winning Young Composers Project.