TSO Veteran Violinists Wynne Wong-Rife and David Rife Share Their Season Mix

by Tucson Symphony
TSO Veteran Violinists Wynne Wong-Rife and David Rife Share Their Season Mix

Our 2024–25 season, Discover the Mix, is all about experiencing the incredible diversity of creative musical expression in the world today. We can’t wait to share firm favorites from the classical repertoire along with some of the best new orchestral music being written today. Throughout the summer we have been sharing season mixes from community members and TSO musicians to inspire our audience to design their own perfect season with a Create Your Own subscription.

We recently asked Wynne Wong-Rife and David Rife, two of the most loved veteran violinists in the TSO, to give us their concert mix. A married couple with 80 years of service between them, Wynne and David have performed under the baton of four music directors and shared the stage with countless guest artists. Both Wynne and David are living encyclopedias of TSO history and are perfectly suited to recommend an exceptional season of diverse and exciting concerts.

Wynne: Choosing a few pieces for my mix is difficult because I look forward to playing everything scheduled for the 24-25 season. I want to choose them all! I have always considered myself very lucky because I sit in the middle of the orchestra, and it is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by the sound and the energy of the music. I can’t even put into words what it feels like to be a part of creating this beauty and sharing it with our audiences.

Lauren Roth plays Beethoven (Oct. 5 & 6)

Wynne: How lucky we are to have a world-class soloist in our orchestra! I love this concerto and Lauren has a gorgeous and expressive sound, and a wonderful sense of imagination and lyricism that will make this an unforgettable performance.

David: The Beethoven Concerto with Lauren Roth. This will definitely be an amazing and memorable experience.

Mendelssohn and Korngold (Nov. 9 & 10)

Wynne: Mendelssohn Reformation Symphony. Grand, majestic, moving; this symphony is Mendelssohn’s last, published 21 years after his death and is completely different from his other four symphonies. It’s a blend of his classical beginnings and romantic lyricism. I especially love playing the last movement.

Haydn & Brahms (Dec. 13 & 15)

Wynne: Brahms Symphony No. 2. Brahms is my all-time favorite composer! Everything that he composed is absolute perfection and playing and listening to his music makes me cry because every note is incredibly beautiful and heartfelt. This symphony is probably my favorite. I love the horns in the opening of the first movement, the cellos in the opening of the second movement; and the third movement just really touches my heart and soul.

David: Brahms Symphony No. 2 and the Haydn C major Cello Concerto….2 of my all-time favorite pieces in the orchestral repertoire.

French Impressions (Jan. 11 & 12)

Wynne: Jing Xia, guzheng. This is going to be amazing! I don’t know this piece and I’ve never played it, so I listened to a performance on YouTube and it’s a very cool, exciting piece. A side note, my older daughter plays the guzheng. Pélleas et Mélisande, specifically the Sicilienne. This is one of my most favorite pieces, because it is so lyrical and beautiful, and because it will be performed so beautifully by Alexander (Sasha) Lipay. We played this piece a few years ago and Sasha’s performance really touched my heart – I have never forgotten the sound of his flute with the lush sounds of my colleagues in the orchestra. It is one of those pieces that you do not want to end. It will touch your soul for a long time after.

Dvořák and the American Experience (Feb. 21 & 23)

Wynne: Paul Huang plays Dvořák Violin Concerto. Paul’s first performance with the TSO was cut short by the pandemic, and I was incredibly disappointed that we weren’t able to perform with him because I became a huge fan of his after our first rehearsal. The Dvořák isn’t performed often, but it is one of my three favorite violin concerti and I know that Paul will touch your soul with his performance. He has a gorgeous tone and very lyrical sense of phrasing. I particularly love the third movement!

David: I love the music of Dvořák…. especially the Violin Concerto in A minor.  Paul Huang is truly an amazing artist!