Special to The Explorer
The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra opens its 30th anniversary season this Sunday, Oct. 4, with a program that celebrates the orchestra's Arizona home and sets the tone for its first international tour to China later this year.
The concert features the "Grand Canyon Suite" by Ferde Grofe, plus the "Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto" by Chen Gang and He Zhanhao. The soloist is Larry Lang. Linus Lerner, music director of SASO, conducts.
The program is presented twice – on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 3 p.m. at the DesertView Performing Arts Center in SaddleBrooke, then on Sunday, Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. in the Southwest Sanctuary at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo Del Norte in Casas Adobes.
Violinist and conductor Lang, originally from Beijing, now calls Tucson his home. He received his doctorate in music from the University of Arizona in 1992. He's the founder and music director of Tucson Sino Choir and supports cultural and charitable activities in the Chinese communities in Arizona.
The Butterfly Lovers' Concerto was written by Chen and He while they were students at the Shanghai Music Conservatory. Lang wrote his doctoral thesis about this exotic, single-movement work that mixes Chinese and Western traditions. The orchestra will perform this concerto with Lang during its tour of China in late December and early January.
The evocative "Grand Canyon Suite" conveys the various moods and images of this natural wonder of the world. The five-movement work opens with "Sunrise," followed by "Painted Desert," "On the Trail," "Sunset" and "Cloudburst."
The program opens with Rimsky-Korsakov's "Overture to Tsar's Bride," scored for full orchestra. This music has Oriental, Slavic and definitely Russian influences.