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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.

In making the grant, the FLINN Foundation Board of Directors cited the need for multimedia programming based on the Orchestra’s past successes with such programming and with marketplace trends.

The Foundation’s Grant Review Board noted: “The orchestra field is most definitely moving towards multimedia programming particularly film programming in which the orchestra plays a film score while the film is projected in a dark hall, and artistic visualizations of core classical pieces such as Holst’s The Planets.”

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra has programmed the films, The Wizard of Oz and Disney’s Fantasia and Pixar in Concert, with full orchestra. Other programs with visuals include two sold-out performances of The Lord of the Rings Suite in 2008, Video Games Live in 2010 and the Arizona Centennial Celebration in 2012.  That program featured the orchestra’s performance of the Grand Canyon Suite accompanied by stunning new images of the Grand Canyon created by famed “photochoreographer” James Westwater, commissioned by the TSO.

This season, The Planets on the Big Screen features newly developed visual accompaniment by Adrian Wyard, produced in collaboration with the University of Arizona’s Dr. Peter Smith, principal investigator for the Phoenix Mars Mission. Home Alone in Concert will feature the beloved holiday film with the Tucson Symphony performing John Williams’ acclaimed score. At least three multimedia programs are planned for the 2017-18 season.

“The support of the FLINN Foundation will provide the capital and technology to set the TSO on a secure path to making multimedia programming a standard element of season repertoire,” said Mark Blakeman, President and CEO of the Tucson Symphony. “The inclusion of a high definition projection system will open wide the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s doors to the broader Tucson community.”

The FLINN Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. Flinn, a prominent cardiologist, and his wife, Irene. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. To achieve this mission, the Foundation aims to advance the state’s bioscience sector, provide a top-notch education to high-achieving students at an Arizona public university, boost the fiscal and creative capacity of the state’s arts and culture organizations, and develop future state-level civic leaders. Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations to advance interests in the biosciences, FLINN Scholars, and arts and culture.

The first professional symphony orchestra in the Southwest, the TSO is the longest continuously performing professional arts organization in Arizona, where it impacts more than 120,000 lives each year. The TSO infuses $20 million into the economy of Southern Arizona annually and employs over 75 professional musicians who live in Tucson and perform here and throughout the state.  The vision of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is a community where music brings people together across all boundaries for inspired living. The mission is to engage, educate and transform our community through live musical experiences of the highest quality.