Das Lied von der Erde, January 22 and 24

January 20th, 2016

A Personal Message from George Hanson


Top Ten Reasons Why You MUST Come Hear TSO This Weekend!


On Friday, January 22 at 8pm and Sunday, January 24 at 2pm, I will rejoin my TSO colleagues onstage to present a unique and exciting program of Mahler and Tan Dun. Here’s why you do not want to miss it:


No. 10: Gustav Mahler’s “Song of the Earth” is the most beautiful piece TSO NEVER played.

That’s right—the TSO has NEVER played this beautiful work in its full original version—songs of love, passion, youth and beauty. And the reason TSO has never played it: The demands on the two singers are so enormous that it can really only be approached with world class singers, like Sasha Cooke and Richard Cox.


No. 9: Tan Dun’s “Crouching Tiger” Concerto, played by TSO principal cellist Anne Gratz, will blow your mind!

Mahler’s songs are based on Chinese poetry; this extraordinary work (also a TSO premiere), the sounds of which formed the basis for the sound track for the movie “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” makes a perfect pairing for Mahler’s masterpiece. The percussion section is featured; Tan Dun asks the players to do things on their drums that are actually illegal in some states!


No. 8: Leonard Bernstein, the great Mahler interpreter, said Mahler’s “Song of the Earth” is in fact his greatest “symphony,” the “essential Mahler,” and concluded that this is “Mahler’s GREATEST WORK”—and that ‘s saying something!!!! Here are his comments, linked at Youtube:




Did I mention I was LB’s assistant? Wink. . . . .


No. 7: Who doesn’t love a good drinking song?

It seems our tenor may have a booze problem— but it is resolved with grace.


No. 6: Youth and Beauty, celebrated by colorful and intimate Chinese poetry, set to meltingly beautiful music by Mahler.

Imagine the first time you gazed on your one true love—then imagine the music going on inside your head; this is Mahler’s “Song.” However, these versions are with an Eastern twist—they are composed using the pentatonic scale.


No. 5: The most beautiful, most heavenly “Farewell” ever composed.

The final song in Mahler’s work will transport you from sadness and bitterness no visions of a beautiful eternity::”Ewig, Ewig. . . . . .” as our mezzo soprano describes seeing her departed friend in heaven. It is great art, and it may help you deal with any goodbyes you may face in your own life.


No. 4: Dr. Matthew Mugmon, currently the New York Philharmonic’s “Leonard Bernstein Scholar” and professor at the Fred Fox School of Music, will join me for the pre-concert talk!

Matthew has written a number of important articles on Mahler; his entertaining talks brought him to the attention of the NY Phil—and we get to hear him share his wisdom. The talk starts one hour before the concert—come early and get the best parking spots!


No. 3: This is my only Classic Series concert as Music Director Emeritus.

During my 20 year association with the musicians of TSO, we have worked hard to develop a stylistic approach to the music of Gustav Mahler. It is such a pleasure to work with my colleagues again, this time in my new role, on a culminating project like this one.


No. 2: We celebrate a special collaboration with the Tucson Desert Song Festival.

One of my responsibilities since leaving TSO is to serve as Director of TDSF. The supporters of the Festival are the ones who make it possible for groups like TSO to bring world class voices to Tucson. This year’s Festival runs from January 21 to February 5; see the lineup at TucsonDesertSongFestival.org


And the Number One reason you simply MUST come to hear this wonderful concert:


January 24th is my birthday!!!!!!!!!!





Tucson Desert Song Festival: $150k gift to celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday

November 22nd, 2015


Thank you Dorothy Vanek!  I am looking forward to working with Dorothy to develop an expansion of TDSF, and to build a great celebration of LB’s 100th birthday in 2018:

Article: Strong Benefactor Behind Songfest, Tucson Classical Arts

New Video: 20 Years with TSO

November 22nd, 2015

Please enjoy this wonderful video, a gift of my friends and colleagues at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra!

Pleased to announce Chicago Symphony conducting debut at Ravinia

September 17th, 2015

We are pleased to announce George’s conducting debut with the Chicago Symphony!

August 12, 2016, at the Ravinia Festival.


Sunriver so far. . . . .

August 13th, 2015

We are having a wonderful time at the Sunriver Music Festival in beautiful Sunriver, Oregon!  Last night (August 12) brought another full house and three standing ovations:  first for the world premiere of Heather Schmidt’s “Lunar Reflections,” then for Amit Peled’s beautiful and virtuosic presentation of Haydn’s C Major Cello Concerto, and finally for Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.


This Saturday’s concert (August 15) at the Tower Theater in Bend includes Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms; nearly sold out, as is Wednesday’s concert (August 19) with Sean Chen, pianist.

Two World Premieres at Sunriver (audio)

May 30th, 2015

Two brand new works for orchestra will have their first hearings at this year’s Sunriver Music Festival in Oregon.

Kip Winger and Heather Schmidt have composed new pieces for the Festival.  Both are beautiful, accessible, powerful, meaningful and inspired works.  Having these two composers participate at this year’s SRMF will add an important dynamic to the nearly two dozen traditional works we will present.  We look forward to these exciting premieres!

2015 Sunriver Music Festival Preview! (audio)

May 30th, 2015

Please enjoy this preview of our 2015 Sunriver Music Festival. . . . . . . America the Beautiful!

Something Old, Something New, Something Red, White and Blue. .. . . . .


George Hanson named Director of Tucson Desert Song Festival

April 25th, 2015