Citizen Staff Writer
Tucson Symphony Orchestra
The opening of the 2008-09 season marks an end and a beginning for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Violinist Steven Moeckel, who served as TSO’s concertmaster since 2002, opens the 80th season Thursday with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto before heading north for a new job in Phoenix.
“Our understanding of how Beethoven should be played is very similar,” said George Hanson, music director and conductor for TSO.
The opening also celebrates the upcoming international release of the TSO’s first commercial CD, recorded in Tucson in May.
The CD, “André Mathieu: Concerto No. 4 and Orchestral Works,” includes three works by French Canadian composer Mathieu and George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.” It can be purchased for $25 at both opening night events ahead of the Sept. 30 release.
“It is really going to open a lot of people’s eyes about what’s going on in Tucson,” said Hanson, who describes the pieces as “wonderful.”
“The TSO musicians have maintained that love of performing,” Hanson said.
That love so impressed internationally celebrated Canadian pianist Alain Lefèvre that he chose to record with TSO last May.
Moeckel, who has joined the Phoenix Symphony as its concertmaster, is also a featured soloist on the CD. Though he is leaving the Old Pueblo and TSO, he will return to Tucson as a performer.
“We are losing someone whose vibrant personality, leadership skills and ability as a violinist can’t really be duplicated,” Hanson said.
Hanson, in a 7 p.m. preconcert talk, will offer insights into the evening’s music selections, which, in addition to the Beethoven concerto, includes Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10.
“Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 is one of the greatest symphonies ever written,” Hanson said.
“It was inspired by the death of Joseph Stalin, and written as the first expression of the individual after he was gone.
“It says ‘I am still an individual’ – a core value of being an American – after people were not able to be themselves for so long. The sincerity with which Shostakovich wrote this, combined with his ability to share these feelings through music, is what makes it so great.”
The program starts at 8 p.m. with Hanson’s preconcert talk at 7.
The Cup Café, 311 E. Congress St., and the Rio Café, 2526 E. Grant Road, are offering a preconcert dinner for $50 that includes an orchestra seat ticket voucher.
Dinner reservations must be made before 6:30 p.m. and vouchers presented to the TSO box office by 7:45. Eat earlier if you want to attend Hanson’s talk.
Regular tickets can be purchased starting at $20 at tucsonsymphony.org or at the TSO box office, 2175 N. Sixth Ave., or by phone at 882-8585.
IF YOU GO
What: Tucson Symphony Orchestra 2008-09 season opening performances
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 25-26
Where: Tucson Music Hall
Price: $20 and up
Info: 882-8585, tucsonsymphony.org