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Tucson Symphony Orchestra Announces New President & CEO

For immediate release: March 29, 2017

(Tucson, AZ)—Thomas J. McKinney has been named President and CEO of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra it was announced today by Board Chair Cecile Follansbee.

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Big Finish to 16-17 Season with An Alpine Symphony

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has a big finish in store for the 2016-17 season with the orchestra’s first performance of Richard Strauss’ monumental masterpiece, An Alpine Symphony. Music Director José Luis Gomez will lead this fast-paced, hour-long musical trek up an Alpine peak, inspired by the composer’s own experiences as a young hiker. More than 120 musicians are needed to perform this gorgeously colored and consistently engaging music, an orchestra so large it precludes An Alpine Symphony from being performed very often. This may be Tucson audiences only chance to hear it live. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36, “Linz,” will open the program. Performances are Friday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 9 at 2:00 p.m. at the Tucson Music Hall. Concert Comments, one hour prior to performances, are complimentary with tickets.

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Mark Blakeman to leave TSO at end of season

For immediate release: March 3, 2017


(Tucson, AZ)─The Tucson Symphony Orchestra announced today that after three seasons as President and CEO, Mark Blakeman will leave the post at the end of May. Blakeman has been appointed the Marilynn and Carl Thoma Executive Director of the new McKnight Center for the Performing Arts currently under construction on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. Blakeman is a native of Oklahoma and earned his Master of Business in Arts Administration from Oklahoma City University. 

Cecile Follansbee, Chair of the Tucson Symphony Board of Trustees, commented: “Mark's leadership, creativity and high standards have launched the TSO on an upward trajectory to become an even stronger leader of artistic excellence and partner to the community, bringing music to people of all ages and means.”

During his tenure, Blakeman expanded the TSO’s community partnerships and broadened its appeal through the creation of a popular new Family Series.

Blakeman stated: “I was proud to have been involved in the successful recruitment and engagement of our 17th Music Director, José Luis Gomez. Maestro Gomez is a conductor of international caliber. He brings to the TSO a passion for great music, a commitment to music education and a strong and articulate vision for the future of TSO. It has been a pleasure to be in this beautiful community for the past three years.”

The Tucson Symphony Board of Trustees is engaged in the transition process.

Contact: Terry Marshall, Public Relations Manager
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(520) 620-9158, 250-5947 (mobile)

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YO-YO MA Elgar Cello Concerto

Tucson Symphony Orchestra
José Luis Gomez, conductor
Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Tuesday, December 5, 7:30 p.m.
Tucson Music Hall

Reigning cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma performs with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for the first time since 2009. Awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Kennedy Center honoree and 18-time Grammy® winning performer has enthralled audiences worldwide on stage, recordings, film and television. Don’t miss your chance to see and hear this unforgettable one night only performance!*

Preview 2017-18 Season Subscribe Now

Yo-Yo Ma at The Trent School

*Yo-Yo Ma tickets are only available for purchase as an addition to a 2017-18 TSO discount ticket package. Limit one per package. Purchase by phone, in person at box office or mail order only. Sorry, Yo -Yo Ma tickets are not currently available online.

Yo-Yo Ma to Perform with Tucson Symphony

For immediate release: February 21, 2017


José Luis Gomez to Conduct December 5 program

(Tucson, AZ)—Reigning cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma will perform with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for the first time since 2009 one night only on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tucson Music Hall.

Awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Kennedy Center honoree and 18-time Grammy®-winning performer has enthralled audiences worldwide on stage, recordings, film and television.  

His debut with the Tucson Symphony in December, 2009 was sold-out. “With nuance, warmth, Ma does great show with the TSO,” stated the headline in the Arizona Daily Star. He “produced a luxuriant tone that resonated throughout the hall,” the review continued. “He is called the greatest living classical musician for a reason. He is a cellist whose energetic, inspired technical skills mesmerize from the first stroke.”

Yo-Yo Ma tickets are only available for purchase as an addition to a 2017/18 TSO discount ticket package for the Classic, Masterworks and SuperPops! series and Create Your Own and Flex Pass subscribers.  Tickets are limited to one per package. Tickets, $60 to $150, can be purchased by phone, in person at the TSO box office or by mail. TSO Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.  The box office is in the Tucson Symphony Center at 2175 N. Sixth Avenue. The phone number is (520) 882-8585.

Contact: Terry Marshall, Public Relations Manager, (520) 620-9158, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 250-5947 (mobile)

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Be a TSO Keys to Success Partner!

Your gift of $500 will make TSO’s award-winning children and youth programs happen.

TSO’s educational programming depends on support from you.  Symphonic music has been proven to develop life-skills, critical thinking, self-awareness and academic achievement. 

Tucson Symphony musicians believe so firmly in the orchestra’s mission to engage, educate and transform young lives that they are donating their service fees for this concert to help support TSO education programs.  

For your $500 Keys to Success Partnership gift we will thankfully provide:

  • Two premium tickets to the Piano Bash! 
  • An invitation for two to the Key Note After-Bash to enjoy post-concert wine, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment while mixing and mingling with artists and guests
  • Name recognition as a Keys to Success Partner in the concert program insert, an on-screen listing and on the post-event Piano Bash! Thank You page in the spring programs

You are the key to the success of children! 
Make your gift over the phone by calling Celena Robles at 520.620.9162

Shaham, Beethoven's 9th, Sandoval for TSO's 2017-18 Season

José Luis Gomez has programmed music reflecting his life’s musical journey for his inaugural season as Music Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. His choices are important, beautiful and even surprising.

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TSO Receives $100,000 Grant from FLINN Foundation

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has received a $100,000 grant from the FLINN Foundation. The award, from the Foundation’s Initiative for Financial and Creative Health, enables the TSO to purchase and integrate high-quality digital projection equipment into performances. Patrons will be able to enjoy the benefits at programs like The Planets on the Big Screen this weekend and at Home Alone in Concert over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

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TSO Young Artists Competition Winners - 2016

Tucson Symphony Orchestra & the Tucson Symphony Orchestra League are pleased to announce the winners of the 29th Annual Tucson Symphony Orchestra's Young Artists Competition.

Division I:

First Place Winners
Rachael and Melissa Radtke – Pianos

Second Place:
Grace Chen – Alto Saxophone

Third Place:
Ramon Garavito – Tuba

Division II Winners

First Place:
Carissa Powe - Violin

Second Place:
Sophia Rightmer – Cello

Third Place:
Claire Thai – Harp

Division III Winners

First Place:
Damian Galasso – Piano

Second Place:
Lee MacDonald – Cello

Third Place:
Jisue Choi – Piano


Tucson Symphony & Museum of Art Announce Big Win! Arts Raffle

September 19, 2016

Contact:  Kelly Wiehe
Director of Communications & External Affairsbr /> (520) 616-2687
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Terry Marshall
Public Relations Manager
(520) 620-9158
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The Tucson Museum of Art and The Tucson Symphony Orchestra Team for
THE BIG WIN! Arts Raffle of Tucson

(Tucson, AZ)─The Tucson Museum of Art (TMA) and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO) – two of the most respected arts organizations in the Southwest – present the second BIG WIN! Arts Raffle of Tucson. This year, the Grand Prize equals one-third of the overall net revenue and the winner will be picked on December 21. Ticket buyers will have roughly a one in 20 chance of winning a prize with the grand prize winner taking home $85,000 if 5,500 tickets are sold. THE BIG WIN! Arts Raffle of Tucson kicks off on September 23, 2016, with the opening performance of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-17 season, Classic Gershwin, at the Tucson Music Hall.

“We are thrilled to partner with the TSO in a fundraising effort to support two of Tucson’s finest organizations,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, TMA Chief Executive Officer. “Raffles have long been an excellent way to assist not-for-profits in this region and sustain an active and vibrant cultural community.”

“Our organizations and the community benefit from this partnership,” said Mark Blakeman, TSO President, and Chief Executive Officer. “Besides having a chance at winning fantastic cash prizes, everyone who buys a ticket is providing thousands of children great music and art.  Proceeds from THE BIG WIN! Arts Raffle of Tucson keep our programs going on the stage, in the museum, in schools, and throughout the community.”

Tickets are $75 each, $200 for a pack of three, or $600 for a pack of ten. Cash, check, and VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted. There is no limit to the number tickets that can be purchased. Purchaser must be 21 or older and present in the state of Arizona at the time of ticket purchase.

Prize Highlights

  • Grand Prize: 1/3 of overall net revenue.  $85,000 if 5,500 tickets are sold.
  • Second Prize: $5,000 in cash
  • Third/Fourth Prizes: $2,500 in cash
  • Fifth/Six Prizes: $1,000 in cash
  • Other prizes: For every twenty tickets sold, a ticket will be drawn at random and awarded $75 in cash

Key Dates:

  • Friday, September 23, 2016 – The Big Win Arts Raffle Kick Off
  • Sunday, December 18, 2016 – Final Day to purchase tickets
  • Wednesday, December 21, 2016 – Grand Prize Drawing and Announcement

How to Purchase:

  1. Website:
  2. Phone: TSO: (520) 882-8585; TMA: (520) 624-2333
  3. In person: 
    TMA Admissions Desk, 140 N. Main Ave., Tue., Wed., Fri., Sat.: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Thur.: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Sun.: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    TSO Box Office, 2175 N. 6th Ave., Tue. – Sat.: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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About the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block
The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block’s mission is Connecting Art to Life. The Museum was founded 1924 in the El Presidio Historic District of downtown Tucson. It is Southern Arizona’s premier presenter of fine art and art education programs.

The Museum features permanent and traveling exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary, Native American, American West, Latin American, and Asian art. The 74,000 square foot Museum offers tours of exhibits, public education programs, and studio art classes in a contemporary building. The Museum’s Historic Block of 19th and 20th C. adobe and Mission Revival-style buildings, encompassing an entire four-acre city block, includes the John K. Goodman Pavilion of Western Art, displaying the Museum’s notable art of the American West collection, the highly acclaimed Museum restaurant Café a la C’Art, and additional exhibition and studio spaces. For more information, please visit or call(520) 624-2333.  Keep current on the latest events by following the Museum on Facebook. TMA is a private 501 (c) (3) charitable arts and education organization.

About the Tucson Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1929, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is the first symphony orchestra in the Southwest and the longest continuously performing professional arts organization in Arizona. The TSO serves Tucson and Southern Arizona communities with performances and education programs of the highest caliber. Each concert season offers Classic, SuperPops! and MasterWorks Series, Classic, MasterWorks and SuperPops! Specials, Moveable Musical Feasts, and a series of free chamber ensemble performances for families entitled Just for Kids.  In 2004, the TSO received the Governor’s Arts Award recognizing its 75 years of significant community impact. With an annual budget of $4 million, the TSO employs more than 75 professional musicians and injects more than $20 million into the Southern Arizona economy each year. The TSO is a 501 (c) (3) organization.

Tucson Symphony, Marshall Foundation Launch TEAMtix for Students

For immediate release: August 15, 2016


Middle & High School Band, Orchestra & Choir Students Can Attend Free TSO Concerts
All Year Long

Students Can Win $500 for their School’s Music Programs

(Tucson, AZ)─The Tucson Symphony Orchestra with support provided by the Marshall Foundation is launching TSO TEAMtix so middle and high school band, orchestra and choir students can attend performances this season for free. The Marshall Foundation will provide a ticket for the student and the TSO will match that with a ticket for a companion.

Students in the Amphi, Ajo, Catalina Foothills, Marana, Oracle, Sahuarita, Sunnyside, Tucson Unified and Vail school districts are eligible to take advantage of TEAMtix along with private and charter schools and members of the Tucson Junior Strings, Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra, the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, the Tucson Girls Chorus, and Music and Dance Academy. Once students register for TEAMtix they will receive notifications about upcoming concerts and will be able to go online and choose seats. TEAMtix will be available for all Classic Series performances at the Tucson Music Hall and for the Friday evening MasterWorks programs at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Oro Valley.

TEAMtix has been enthusiastically embraced by teachers.

Suzette Battan, Director of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra, says     TEAMtix is a much-needed program. “In this age of technology, programs that promote exposure to and love of the performing arts are crucial to the development of creative and imaginative community leaders of tomorrow,” she explained. “Providing an opportunity for children to experience concerts of inspiring symphonic music and performers enriches their minds and hearts, and helps ensure the future of great music for many generations.”

Hillary Engel, Band Director at Sahuaro High School, notes: “The TEAMtix program is so beneficial for our students because most of them wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to experience live classical music of the Tucson Symphony’s caliber.  For our world of classical music to continue, it is our duty to give these experiences to our young musicians. This also gives our young musicians a chance to see a different side of the Tucson music scene, which is as diverse and rich as our Tucson community.”

"Learning music (playing and listening) takes a life time,” explains Toru Tagawa, Orchestra Director at Canyon Del Oro High School and Director of the Tucson Repertory Orchestra. “It is very important for young music learners to be able to experience the best quality music beyond the classroom and private lesson settings. A free ticket is a great and extremely generous offer, and all music students should take part in this program and enjoy as many concerts as possible.”

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will open the 2016-17 season on September 23 and 25 when newly appointed Music Director José Luis Gomez conducts Classic Gershwin, featuringAn American in Parisand Van Cliburn medalist Joyce Yang performing Ravel’s Piano Concerto. The school with the most students registered for TEAMtix by September 15 will receive a $500 cash prize for the music department. Students can register for TEAMtix here.

The mission of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is to engage, educate and transform our community through live musical experiences of the highest quality. The four pillars of the mission are programming, engagement, partnership cultivation and learning. The TSO continues to be an outstanding regional resource for music education reaching toddlers through seniors. TSO offers a continuum of education programs extending to underserved and remote communities. From an introduction to music for kindergarten children to yearlong workshops in composition for youth, the TSO currently offers seven music education programs. These nationally recognized programs are developed in collaboration with schoolteachers, education specialists, professional musicians and TSO staff.   Last year, the TSO provided quality music education to more than 40,000 students.

Marshall Foundation, founded in 1930, seeks to enhance the lives of the citizens of Tucson and Pima County through its support of charitable and educational institutions. The Foundation gives primary consideration to organizations involved in health, education and youth-oriented projects and services.    

Contact: Terry Marshall, Public Relations Manager, (520) 620-9158, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 250-5947 (mobile)