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George Hanson Returns to conduct Tucson Symphony Orchestra

January 8, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0

Conductor laureate George Hanson returns to conduct the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s MasterWorks Series program Moonstruck: Schumann and Schmidt featuring the world premiere of the orchestral version of Heather Schmidt’s Lunar Reflections. Performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 8 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo Del Norte in Tucson. The program marks Hanson’s return to the TSO as Conductor Laureate. Moonstruck: Schumann and Schmidt will also feature Robert Schumann’s ManfredOverture and his Symphony No. 1, “Spring.” The pre-concert chat, one hour prior to performances, is complimentary with tickets.

After 19 years, George Hanson’s last concert as TSO Music Director and Conductor was Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, an artistic and box office success in March, 2015. As conductor laureate, he will also conduct the Classic Series program, Mahler and Martial Arts featuring Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde on January 22 and 24 at Tucson Music Hall. The program is in collaboration with the Tucson Desert Song Festival. Hanson was named Festival Director of the Festival earlier this year. In 2016, Hanson will make his Ravinia Festival debut conducting Joshua Bell with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Heather Schmidt has amassed over 40 composition commissions in the past decade. She has been a frequent and well-reviewed piano soloist with a number of major orchestras; she has also appeared extensively with chamber groups. At the age of 21, Schmidt became the youngest student ever to receive doctor’s degrees in both piano performance and composition from the University of Indiana. She subsequently also studied piano and composition at the JuilliardSchool.

Lunar Reflections has traveled an interesting road since it was originally commissioned by the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival in 2008. As a pianist, Dr. Schmidt originally conceived the piece as a piano solo. Her concept was to reflect in music a number of phases of the moon:
Blue Moon (once in a while)
Pink Moon (April flowers)
Wolf Moon (dark, hungry December)
Snow Moon (lovely February)
Thunder Moon (July)
These separate movements have now been transcribed into the orchestral piece which is enjoying its world premiere at this concert. The Toronto Star has complimented Dr. Schmidt for demonstrating “how new music and easy listening can co-exist.”

Poetry inspired the two works by Robert Schumann that are on the program. He created the musical theatre-piece, Manfred, using a German translation of Lord Byron’s English poem dealing with the supernatural. An entry in the diary of Clara Schumann, Robert’s wife, reveals that the title of “Spring Symphony” was bestowed upon it because ofa Spring poem by Adolf Böttger, and particularly its last stanza:
O turn, O turn and change your course-
In the valley spring blooms forth!

Schumann became so motivated by the poem that he outlined the entire work in four days and finished the composition less than a month later.

Tickets are $45 to $55. They are available online at, at the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance Box Office by phone at (520) 797-3959 x 7.

Programming, artists and prices are subject to change.

MasterWorks Concert Series – Moonstruck: Schumann & Schmidt
When: Friday, January 8, – 7:30 p.m. concert, 6:30 p.m. pre-concert chat
Where: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte
Cost: Starting at $45 per seat, with subscription discounts available
Phone: (520) 797-3959


January 8, 2016
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA)
(520) 797-3959


St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
7575 N. Paseo del Norte
Tucson, AZ United States
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