TSO’s 95th Season: Sharing Joy

by Tucson Symphony

Yo-Yo Ma Returns for One-Night-Only Special

Verdi’s Requiem and Holst’s Planets are Centerpieces of Classic Series

Federica Lombardi, Morris Robinson, Johannes Moser head stellar line-up of soloists

New Friday series, Classics with a Twist!

Masterworks series features Artists in Residence from Harlem Quartet and Soloists from TSO

TSO and Calexico Combine Forces for a Unique Concert Experience

100th Anniversary of Rhapsody in Blue in all-Gershwin celebration

Jennifer Higdon, Peter Boyer and Robert Muczynski premieres, and spotlight on international women composers

Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is excited to announce its 2023–2024 season: Sharing Joy. The 95th season will be the seventh under the inspired artistic leadership of Maestro José Luis Gomez. It focuses on expanding the repertoire with new and unfamiliar voices, and includes a special commitment to Hispanic-Latino cultures, while illuminating the masterpieces of the classical tradition in fresh interpretations joined by world-class soloists and the talented 77 musicians of the TSO.

Yo-Yo Ma Performs One-Night-Only Concert

One of the greatest musicians of our generation, Yo-Yo Ma, will return to Tucson on Thursday, May 9, 2024, to perform the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto. Ma stands in a class of his own, with musicianship and soulful playing that are unmatched. He has performed for audiences around the world and is a true ambassador for both music and humanity. Tucson audiences have sold out his last two performances with the TSO, and this concert is likely to be no exception. The program is inspired by the Belle Epoque, and features music by Bizet, Gounod and Saint-Saëns, as well as a world premiere of Peter Boyer’s Horizons, a piece co-commissioned by the TSO.

Classic Series

September 22 and 24, 2023  The season opens with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, the composer’s beloved evocation of visual masterpieces. The immensely talented Zhang Zuo returns to perform Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1, and Maestro Gomez’s focus on the music of the late Robert Muczynski, a long-time Tucsonan, continues with the first-ever performance of his 1958 suite for orchestra, Galena: A Town, an homage to the composer’s native Illinois.

October 20 and 22, 2023  Two great technicolor showpieces by Ottorino Respighi, the Pines and Fountains of Rome, complement Dutilleux’s haunting Cello Concerto “Tout un monde lointain,” based on poetry from Baudelaire’s “Les fleurs du mal.” The soloist is the incredible German-Canadian cellist, Johannes Moser, making his TSO debut. Valerie Coleman’s <cite?Umoja (Anthem for Unity for Orchestra) is the first of several works by women composers on the season receiving their first TSO performances.

November 10 and 12, 2023  Ravel and Dvořák features TSO favorite Keitaro Harada conducting his first Classic Series concert. He leads the orchestra in Dvořák’s sunny, lyrical Symphony No. 8 after a first half of jazz-inspired works: Frank Ticheli’s Blue Shades, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with soloist David Fung making his TSO debut.

December 1 and 3, 2023  Scottish Fantasy brings another popular conductor Mei-Ann Chen back to the TSO podium. She has put together a Scottish-inspired program featuring Symphony No. 3, “Scottish,” an ode to the country’s landscapes, and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, performed by virtuosic violinist Stefan Jackiw. Maxwell Davies’ An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise, concludes the program with a special surprise.

January 10 and 21, 2024  José Luis Gomez presents a colorful pan-American program, culminating in Ravel’s iconic Boléro. Music from North America (Bernstein’s Divertimento and Jonathan Bailey Holland’s The Party Starter) contrasts with the Latin rhythms of award-winning Julián Fueyo’s El Onceavo Cielo (The Eleventh Heaven) from Mexico and Santa Cruz de Pacairigua, music by the Maestro’s Venezuelan compatriot, Castellanos. A highlight is a special collaboration with The University of Arizona School of Dance and its director, Duane Cyrus, for Falla’s Interlude and Dance from La vida breve.

February 16 and 18, 2024  Rachmaninoff’s Second welcomes the return of Aram Demirjian to conduct the lush romanticism of the composer’s Symphony No. 2. The dance-inspired Conga del Fuego Nuevo by Mexico’s leading composer, Arturo Márquez, is followed by the Violin Concerto No. 1 of Florence Price, an African-American composer only now receiving the recognition her music richly deserves. Bulgarian-American violinist Bella Hristova makes her long-awaited TSO debut.

March 22 and 24, 2024  Verdi’s Messa da Requiem is one of the pinnacles of the orchestral-choral repertoire. Rarely staged because of its large forces, performances are always an event. These performances mark the work’s 150th anniversary, and who better than Maestro Gomez to lead this oratorio inspired by opera. He is joined by a hand-picked quartet of world-renowned soloists: Federica Lombardi (soprano), Ronnita Miller (alto), Mario Chang (tenor), and Morris Robinson (bass), and an expanded TSO Chorus.

April 12 and 14, 2024  The Classic season closes with an eye to the sky, with Holst’s explosive and expansive Planets, one of the most popular and recognizable works in the classical repertoire. Joining the TSO for the ending ethereal ascent into the heavens will be the TSO Women’s Chorus. The program includes a journey on the stormy seas with Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and Ravel’s Une barque sur l’océan. Tucson-based composer Daniel Asia’s At the Far Edge marks the composer’s 70th birthday.

Classic Series Concerts are at the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall Fridays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM.

Classics With a Twist Concerts Offer New Engaging Experiences

Three of the Friday evening Classic series concerts are presented as Classics with a Twist. These intermission-free concerts add new elements to create more relaxed and informative experiences for patrons, including on-stage introductions to the music, and your chance to ask questions of the artists in a post-concert Q and A. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the music as it is happening. Classics with a Twist take place on these Fridays: Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (Friday, September 22, 2023), Ravel and Dvořák (Friday, November 10, 2023), and Ravel’s Boléro (Friday, January 19, 2024).

Masterworks Series

October 7 and 8, 2023  The Masterworks Series opens with Copland’s evocative Appalachian Spring. Originally written for the Martha Graham Dance Company, it has become an American classic. Maestro Gomez rounds out this Pan-American program with Prieto’s Chichén Itzá, inspired by the Mayan ruins in Mexico, Barber’s Symphony in One Movement, and an orchestral suite from Jennifer Higdon’s opera Cold Mountain, specially co-commissioned by the TSO.

November 4 and 5, 2023  This season’s Artists in Residence are members of the celebrated and innovative Harlem Quartet, violinist Ilmar Gavilán and violist Jaime Amador. On the Mainly Mozart program, they are soloists for Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, a masterpiece flanked by Brahms Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn and Mozart’s Symphony No. 39. The Harlem Quartet pair will also program and lead an Up Close chamber program on October 28 and 29.

January 6 and 7, 2024  Zhang Plays Mendelssohn heralds the TSO solo debut of Principal Keyboardist Dean Zhang, who will perform the early romantic Piano Concerto No. 1. Maestro Gomez completes his cycle of Schumann symphonies with Symphony No. 2, and the orchestra revisits a work premiered in last year’s EarShot program A Hidden Sun Rises by the very talented young composer Chelsea Komschlies.

February 3 and 4, 2024 is a second TSO principal feature, with Hayato Tanaka demonstrating his virtuosic powers in Tamberg’s Trumpet Concerto. Teresa Carreño’s Symphony for String Orchestra is another delightful product of the Maestro’s native Venezuela. Haydn’s masterful, final Symphony No. 104 completes the program.

March 9 and 10, 2024  Guest conductor François López-Ferrer makes his TSO debut in a Latin-themed first half: Falla’s vibrant Three-Cornered Hat Suite No. 1 from the comic ballet, and Ginastera’s Variaciones concertantes. The Masterworks Series concludes fittingly with Beethoven’s gem of a Fourth Symphony.

Masterworks Series takes place at Catalina Foothills High School, with performances at 7:30 PM Saturdays and 2:00 PM Sundays in October and November, and 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM Saturdays and 2:00 PM Sundays in January, February, and March.


Cross-cultural indie rockers Calexico return to the Old Pueblo for a one-night-only symphonic experience with the TSO on January 13, 2024. Founded in Tucson, AZ, by guitarist/singer Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino, the band has received widespread acclaim with a string of arresting, evocative records that have blurred the lines between their roots, rock, and Latin influences. The performance will feature newly-created orchestral arrangement of some of the band’s most popular music, expertly conducted by TSO Music Director, José Luis Gomez.

Special Events

TSO SuperPops and Specials are now presented as Special Events! As audiences have increasingly favored a greater variety of Pops style concerts that don’t conform easily to make a series, the TSO now offers patrons the flexibility to choose single events or to build their Create Your Own subscription. Patrons can select single Special Events according to their interests, or add one or more to an existing series.

December 16 and 17, 2023  Messiah and Baroque Favorites introduces conductor Katharina Wincor, who will lead the TSO in the beloved holiday classic Messiah, as well as other baroque favorites of the season.

February 24 and 25, 2024  100 Years of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue celebrates the iconic jazz-inspired work by Gershwin on the 100th anniversary of its composition. Pianist Stewart Goodyear joins Maestro Gomez for an all-Gershwin program that also includes An American in Paris and some of Gershwin’s most-beloved songs.

March 16 and 17, 2024  She’s Got Soul! features electrifying vocalist Capathia Jenkins bursting back onto the scene to honor the leading ladies of soul and R & B, including Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Adele, and more!

Stay tuned: more special events will be announced soon!

Co-Commissions, World Premieres and focus on women composers

This season the TSO is proud to present several co-commissions and world premieres.

Peter Boyer’s Horizons, which was commissioned by a group of orchestras led by the TSO, will have its world premiere on May 9, 2024, as part of the special concert with Yo-Yo Ma.

Galena: A Town (Suite for Orchestra), Robert Muczynski’s 1958 evocation of his native Illinois will have its first-ever performances, September 22 and 24, 2023. The world premiere continues Maestro Gomez’s project to release a CD of orchestral works by the long-time Tucsonan, who passed away in 2010.

Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain Suite, a TSO co-commission (October 7 and 8, 2023) is one of 6 works by women composers to be featured throughout the season: fellow Americans Valerie Coleman Umoja (October 20 and 22, 2023) and Chelsea Komschlies (January 6 and 7, 2024), the mid-20th century Spanish composer, Maria Teresa Prieto (October 7 and 8, 2023), the late 19th century Venezuelan pianist and composer, Teresa Carreño (February 3 and 4, 2024), and Florence Price, the first African-American to be recognized as a symphonic composer and to have her music performed by major orchestras (February 16 and 18, 2024).

Up Close Returns

Up Close chamber concerts have become a firm favorite amongst TSO audiences, and they return for another season of innovative chamber programming. Artists in Residence Ilmar Gavilán and Jaime Amador will program and lead the second of the series, on October 28 and 29. The rest of the programs featuring TSO musicians will be announced soon!

Ticketing Information

Season Subscriptions for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra are now on sale at Tucsonsymphony.org. or 520.882.8585.

Tickets for Yo-Yo Ma are available exclusively for subscribers through November 1, 2023. All other single tickets go on sale August 1, 2023.

About the Tucson Symphony Orchestra

The first professional symphony orchestra in the Southwest, the TSO is the longest continuously performing professional arts organization in Arizona, where it impacts more than 120,000 lives each year. The mission of the organization is to engage, educate and transform our community through live musical experiences of the highest quality. Under the baton of Music Director José Luis Gomez, the TSO engages with audiences of all ages through concerts, educational programming, and outreach.

For more information, visit Tucsonsymphony.org