The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 85th season with violin great Itzhak Perlman, pop singer and songwriter Neil Sedaka, and stars from the Metropolitan Opera.
Throw in the American Celtic music darlings Cherish the Ladies, the Midtown Men from "Jersey Boys," and the staging of Berlioz's "The Damnation of Faust" among other Tucson firsts and it's a season worthy of its title: "Brilliant."
"There's a wealth of stuff out there that doesn't get played. It adds a little variety and spice to our programs, which I think our audience will find very appealing," said George Hanson, the orchestra's music director and conductor.
"It also enhances the artistic development of the organization," he said. "It's always been part of our philosophy that we expect one of the pieces on the program will be a favorite work to anyone in our audience. There's one piece that you know and love, and when you leave the concert you're going to have not just one favorite but two or three."
First-time performances in the 2013-14 season include Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite and Strauss' Traumerei am Kamin from "Intermezzo" in November, Berlioz's Queen Mab Scherzo from "Romeo et Juliette," and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 on a program that also features the orchestra's first performance of Wagner's "The Ring Without Words" in April 2014.
Vocalist Michael Cavanaugh, of Broadway's "Movin' Out" fame, appearing in the newly renamed SuperPops series, will make a guest appearance.
And former TSO concertmaster Steven Moeckel returns to perform Corigliano's "The Red Violin" Concerto.
Hanson said the TSO's audience will love the lineup.
"There is hardly a piece on our programs that people are going to find inaccessible. What we're doing is stretching out and finding avenues to reach people who perhaps don't have that much interest in Beethoven symphonies but would love to hear a piece by Philip Glass."
There will also be guest conductor debuts from Andrew Grams, Tania Miller, Edwin Outwater, Jay Friedman and James Feddeck as the TSO searches for Hanson's replacement. Hanson, who is in his 17th season with the orchestra, will leave the job after the 2014-15 season. He is set to return in 2015-16 to conduct two programs.
Tucson Symphony Orchestra's season tickets are on sale through tucsonsymphony.org starting at $95 for the four-performance Classic Winter package and running as high as $482 for the eight-concert Classics Series by calling 882-8585 or online at tucsonsymphony.org
• Opening Night: "Victorious Shostakovich" featuring violinist Jennifer Frautschi, Oct. 4 and 6.
• "Rach 2 Rachmaninoff" with guest conductor/violinist Guillermo Figueroa, Oct. 25 and 27.
• "Dancing With Glass and Beethoven" with guest conductor Andrew Grams, Nov. 15 and 17.
• "Bach, Bees & Beethoven" with guest conductor Tania Miller, Dec. 6 and 8.
• "The Red Violin" with guest violinist Steven Moeckel, Jan. 17 and 19.
• "The Damnation of Faust" (part of the 2014 Tucson Desert Song Festival), with guest vocalists Jennifer Johnson Cano, William Burden and Jordan Bisch, Feb. 14 and 16.
• "Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto" with guest conductor Edwin Outwater and cellist Amit Peled, March 14 and 16, 2014.
• "The Ring Without Words" featuring pianist Jeremy Denk, April 4 and 6, 2014. MasterWorks Chamber Orchestra Series
• "Classic Conversation" with violinist Elena Urioste, Oct. 19 and 20.
• "Legends and Dances" with guest conductor Jay Friedman, Nov. 9 and 10.
• Schubert's "The Great!" Jan. 11 and 12.
• "Berlioz & Ravel: Poetry in Music" (part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival) with mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, Feb. 8 and 9.
• Beethoven's Fourth with guest conductor James Feddeck, March 8 and 9, 2014.
• "Hot! Hot! Hot!: An Evening of Latin Music, Dance and Romance," with guest conductor Victor Vanacore, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
• "Movin' Out" pianist/singer Michael Cavanaugh, Jan. 25 and 26, 2014.
• The Midtown Men, Feb. 22 and 23, 2014.
• "Cherish the Ladies," March 22 and 23, 2014.
• "Messiah," Dec. 14 and 15.
• "Magic of Christmas," Dec. 21 and 22.
• Violinist Itzhak Perlman, Jan. 14.
• Neil Sedaka "The Music of Our Lives," March 15, 2014.
TSO Rocks the Fox
• "An Evening With Pink Floyd," Oct. 11.
• "The Amazing '80s," March 28, 2014.
For the 2013-14 season programs, check the Caliente Tuned-In blog at azstarnet.com/calientetunedin
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at email@example.com or 573-4642. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/Starburch.