Pete Fine is the latest Tucson composer whose work will be featured on the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra's debut CD.

The orchestra picked Fine's "Landscapes," which he wrote during a 2011 trip with his wife, Donna, to Rocky Mountain National Park.

"It's not like a lot of (contemporary) orchestral music. There are a lot of melodies, majestic and powerful. It's kind of like a late Romantic piece," said Fine, who is the guitarist for the Tucson Led Zeppelin tribute band Whole Lotta Zep.

Fine said he was partly influenced by 19th-century Austrian composer Anton Bruckner, whose music he described as "wonderful and powerful." But he was mostly inspired by the natural and majestic beauty surrounding him in the Rocky Mountains.

"There would be these incredible vistas on mountains at 14,000 feet and at other times these streams and wildlife," he said, images he brings to life through lush strings, brass chorales and woodwinds.

SASO recorded the piece last month, which was the first time Fine had heard it played by a live orchestra. He had recorded it himself using computerized instruments.

"When you write something like this, you never know if you're going to get to hear it. It's not like you can call up a few guys - 'Hey come over and let's play this,' " he said.

"Landscapes" is just over 14 minutes long and is among a rash of classical works that Fine has written in the last couple of years.

"I find even in my electric guitar playing a lot of classical stuff. I think I'm reliving a past life from Vienna," the 63-year-old joked. "I can't explain it. I've never studied this stuff; I'm self-taught. And the pieces are pouring out of me."

Since "Landscapes," he has written a couple of string quartets and a symphony called Revelation Symphony that he recorded earlier this year with his Tucson Virtual Philharmonic Orchestra - aka computer program. (It's available online at

Fine also is working on a three-movement work that he describes as a fairy tale with a villain, a hero and a heroine.

SASO conductor Linus Lerner said "Landscapes" is like a little tone poem.

"I think it's very rich. It's beautiful and it's very well-orchestrated," he said. "This is the best I've seen from him, and the orchestra seems to like it. I was proud seeing his piece come really alive. There are some really good moments of the piece."

"Landscapes" joins a program anchored by Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony and Chilean violinist Francisca Mendoza soloing on Saint-Saëns' three-movement Violin Concerto No. 3.

"She's young and she's beautiful and she plays with the Latin spice," Lerner said. "I think she will be a really good performer with us."

SASO will finish recording the CD in the fall and hopes to release it by year's end.

If you go

• What: Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in concert.

• Featuring: Violin soloist Francisca Mendoza.

• When and where: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive, SaddleBrooke; and 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte.

• Tickets: DesertView: $21 in advance at, $23 at the door. For St. Andrew's: $20 in advance at or at the door; kids 17 and younger are free.

• Details: 308-6226.

• Program: Pete Fine's "Landscapes." Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor featuring Francisca Mendoza. Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 in E minor.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.