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Cue Sheet – October 2011


In case you missed the item in the newspaper over the weekend, here's the Tucson Symphony's announcement that George Hanson will be leaving his music director's post, but only after another few seasons:


(Tucson, AZ)—Music Director and Conductor George Hanson has signed a contract extension that will keep him on the podium with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra through June 2015, Tucson Symphony Society Board of Trustees President Barbara R. Levy announced today. Mr. Hanson has informed the Board of Trustees that his newly-renewed contract will be his last with the TSO. He will conclude his 20 year tenure with the Orchestra as Music Director Laureate in the 2015-16 Season.

“On behalf of the Board, we are immensely grateful to George for the exciting growth of our orchestra and the many memorable performances he has brought to our community,” stated Ms. Levy. “He has become an icon for the Tucson Symphony. Thanks to his accessibility, his easy going conversations with audiences and his strength on the podium, the Tucson Symphony has blossomed and grown. Our musicians are providing everyone with a level of artistic excellence Tucson is fortunate to enjoy.”

George Hanson is the fourteenth Music Director and Conductor in the 83-year history of the TSO and the conductor with the longest tenure. Mr. Hanson is the primary conductor and artistic director of the Classic, TSO Pops! and MasterWorks Chamber Orchestra Series. He began his sixteenth season with the TSO by conducting Fabio Bidini’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz October 14 and 16 at the Tucson Music Hall.

Critics have noted remarkable artistic growth by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra during Mr. Hanson’s tenure. Since his arrival in 1996, he has led the TSO to international recognition. TSO’s first recording, released in 2008, reached No. 1 in Canada and No. 2 on U.S. Classical charts, and was lauded by critics around the globe. Stereophile Magazine praised the orchestra’s “chamber-music-like interaction” with pianist Alain Lefèvre in André Matthieu’s Piano Concerto No. 4, “a work demanding-- and here receiving- utmost virtuosity and musicality.” In an editorial, the Arizona Daily Star proclaimed, “TSO recording proves Tucson has a gem.”

“My work with this organization and its wonderful musicians and staff has been deeply gratifying,” stated Mr. Hanson. “I will remember forever the many wonderful performances and the dedication of all involved with TSO. It is in the best interests of the TSO and the community to have a smooth transition into the future. We look forward to staying involved with the orchestra and the community in the coming seasons.”

In a statement, the musicians’ orchestra committee said: “During George Hanson's tenure, the Tucson Symphony has seen consistent artistic growth. He and his wife Petra have been instrumental in helping to raise the level of relevance and recognition of the TSO through their work in the Tucson community. His collaborative efforts with guest soloists have also given the Tucson Symphony worldwide attention with our first commercial recording. The musicians will miss the intensity and energy he brings to the podium, but we understand and respect his decision to move on to other projects. We wish George and his family the best of luck in their future endeavors.”



"NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies" involving issues NPR covers, according to NPR's code of conduct. Well, fine. But Lisa Simeone, host of World of Opera (which we do not happen to carry), is not a journalist, she's the host of an entertainment program, and she doesn't even work for NPR--she's paid by a station that produces the series, and NPR merely distributes it. Yet NPR is now refusing to distribute the program because Simeone was helping organize a political protest. There is absolutely no justification for this, aside from the justification that the sniveling cowards in charge of NPR want to avoid attacks from right-wing extremists. Shouldn't America expect more backbone from NPR?



I spend so much of my time working in radio and print that I've passively resisted efforts to get me onto TV as well, but I ran out of excuses when the AZPM news folks asked me at the last minute to interview the Tucson Symphony's new executive director for Arizona Illustrated. I complied, taped the interview, and then moved on to other things, forgetting that it had an actual airdate. That has come and gone, but things seem to live forever on the Internet, so if you're interested, you can watch the interview online. Try to ignore the bags under my eyes; I did the interview at the conclusion of my morning radio shift.


About Cue Sheet

James Reel's cranky consideration of the fine arts and public radio in Tucson and beyond.