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Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Grand Canyon State at Tucson Music Hall
March 2, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
One event on March 3, 2019 at 2:00 pm
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will join the celebration for the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park when Music Director José Luis Gomez conducts Grand Canyon State featuring Ferde Grofé’s popular Grand Canyon Suite. The performance will be accompanied by symphonic photochoreography showing the unrivaled vistas of the grandest canyon in the world projected on large screens. Performances are Saturday, March 2 at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 3 at 2:00 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall.
The TSO co-commissioned the work with one other orchestra for the 100th anniversary of Arizona statehood in 2012. Since then, the production has toured the US and Europe. Symphonic photochoreography is a performance art that blends evocative panoramic photography with live classical music. Nicholas Bardonnay is a photographer, multimedia artist and the Creative Director of Westwater Arts, which produced the commissioned work. He uses multiple digital projectors to fill a large panoramic screen with hundreds of tightly choreographed image transitions. He has worked with more than 90 symphonies worldwide.
Once the idea to compose music inspired by the Grand Canyon, “had me in its grip,” Grofé wrote in the December, 1938 issue of Arizona Highways, “it seemed to call for a tonal language not that of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, or even symphonic moderns, but for a truly American idiom, falling easily into the average ear and completely understandable. Whether or not I have succeeded, I leave it to others to judge.”
Grand Canyon State will open with Aaron Copland’s El Salón México, another photochoreographed piece by Bardonnay called Magico. In Magico, Bardonnay discovers the magic of modern Mexico—brimming with diversity, beauty, and warmth. Copland composed El Salón México based on Mexican melodies and a dance hall in Mexico City. In his memoirs he wrote that the piece, “started the ball rolling toward the popular success and wide audience I had only just begun to think about.”
Completing the program are “The Promise of Living” from Copland’s only opera, Tender Land, and music from Manuel de Falla’s ballets, Three Cornered Hat and El amor brujo. The Ritual Fire Dance from El amor brujo was influenced by the traditional, religious ceremony of a dance used to worship the fire-god, in which people would often jump through or leap around the fire.
Tickets are $30 to $86. They are available online, at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office, 2175 N. Sixth Avenue, or by phone at (520) 882-8585.