You Heard It Here First

Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival

Sunday, March 16, through Sunday, March 23

Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave;

Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St.


The Arizona Friends of Chamber Music is in the midst of a 66th season of bringing some of the top acts in the world to Tucson. And the nonprofit's annual Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival, which turns 21 this year, begins Sunday. "Our artistic director, Peter Rejto, has done a great job of bringing together this group of internationally renowned musicians," AFCM board member Randy Spalding said. "He doesn't want to just play pieces that everybody loves. He wants to bring new things, and you'll hear a lot of that." Spalding said that what makes the winter festival stand out is its reputation for debuting new works rather than relying on a lineup of chamber music standards. He said AFCM has hosted more than 50 world premieres over the years, including pieces that local audience members have commissioned. "At this particular festival, composer Gunther Schuller has been commissioned to write a string quartet piece, which will be performed Friday (March 21)," Spalding said. A second world premiere, a sonata by pianist Sylvie Bodorova, is scheduled for the festival's final show on March 23. Other highlights of the festival include an oboe performance by James Austin Smith on March 23 and performances by world-renowned guitarist Pepe Romero on Sunday and Monday. All told, the festival includes five shows at the Tucson Convention Center's Leo Rich Theater as well as a gala dinner and recital, set for March 22 at the Arizona Inn. Tickets for individual shows are $30 for adults and $10 for students. A five-show pass is $130. Tickets to the gala are $160, and an all-events package that includes the gala is $280.