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New Hire

  • 1929-1949

  • Clients

  • Ensembles

  • Music Directors

The Orchestra’s first performance, on January 13, 1929, took place in the Tucson High School Auditorium under its first conductor, Tucsonan Camil Van Hulse. The Orchestra played Schubert’s “Rosamunde Overture” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Local papers hailed the debut as a monumental achievement and said the audience greeted the Symphony’s performance with “surprise, admiration and bursts of enthusiasm. ”

Though there were only two concerts the first season, the second offered three concerts and featured a new conductor, Joseph De Luca, who remained with the Symphony for five years. Concerts were held on Sunday evenings at 8:30. The early concert programs were all-orchestral; on March 16, 1930, soprano Mary Margaret Fischer appeared as the orchestra’s first soloist. Midway through the third season, the TSO moved to the Temple of Music and Art, first playing there on January 25, 1931.

1935 was a year of dramatic change. Up to that point, funds were meager and obtained through ticket sales ($5 for a season!) and the fundraising. Even the daily paper observed that “against many odds the symphony came through the year sans debt—but it managed on a starvation diet as to musical library and many other details. ” The Tucson Symphony Society’s board of directors soon agreed, in a controversial decision, to allow the orchestra to come under the aegis of the University of Arizona. The brief and stormy union of the university and orchestra allowed growth through student players, financial aid, scores and instruments. TSO regained its independence at year’s end.

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Past clients include

Academy Village • ALFA International • Arizona Historical Society • Assessment Technology, Inc. •  Barrio de Tubac • Bellsouth Corporation • Caterpillar, Inc. • Catholic Community Services • DuPont & Company • Events Made Special • Greater Tucson Economic Council • Jewish Family and Children’s Services • Kartchner Caverns State Park • Lockheed • L’Oréal, Inc. Designer Fragrances • NationsBank • Nortel Networks • Oro Valley Country Club • Rincon Research Corporation • Sahuaro Girl Scouts Council • Skyline Country Club • Southwest Area Textile Manufacturers Association. • Tubac Center for the Arts • Tucson Association of Realtors • Tucson Conquistadors/Northern Telecom • Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce • Tiffany & Company • University of Arizona College of Medicine • Westcor/La Encantada • and countless happy couples and families 

Ensembles include:

Piano Trio - piano, violin and ‘cello
Harp Trio - flute, viola and harp
String Quartet - two violins, viola and ‘cello
Brass Quintet - two trumpets, French horn, trombone and tuba
Brass Quintet with Percussion
Percussion Quartet - four mallet instruments
Wind Quintet - flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn
String Orchestra - approximately 28 musicians
Chamber Orchestra - 35-50 musicians
Pops Orchestra - 65-84 musicians
Full Orchestra - 65-84 musicians

Music Directors

The Orchestra has played under the leadership of the following music directors:

1928 - 1929 Camil Van Hulse
1929 - 1935 Joseph DeLuca
1935 - 1937 Henry Johnson, Jr.
1937 - 1938 Iver Johnson
1938 - 1939 William X. Foerster
1939 - 1946 George C. Wilson
1946 - 1950 Samuel S. Fain
1950 - 1951 Stanley Schultz
1951 - 1952 Harold Goodman
1952 - 1966 Frederic Balazs
1966 - 1977 Gregory Millar
1977 - 1981 Dr. George Trautwein
1981 - 1982 Denis de Coteau (music advisor)
1982 - 1987 William McGlaughlin
1987 - 1996 Robert Bernhardt
1996 - present George Hanson