The Fall Arts Preview 

Mat Bevel's joyous, vibrant kinetic sculptures move to Tucson Museum of Art as part of the season's cultural offerings

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Tucson Symphony Orchestra, one of the oldest arts organization in the city, opens its packed season Sept. 26 and 28 at the Music Hall with a classic concert of "American Essentials." Music director George Hanson, in his last season, leads TSO through Bernstein's "On the Town," Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F and Copland's Symphony No. 3. Alain Lefèvre is the guest pianist.

TSO also performs smaller "Masterworks" concerts at Catalina Foothills High School; guest violinist Lauren Roth plays on Menotti's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Oct. 18 and 19. And sometimes the symphony jumps into pop: Broadway singer Michael Cavanaugh sings the songs of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor to orchestral accompaniment Oct. 25 at the Music Hall.

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, another longtime Tucson stalwart, has a rep for importing top chamber musicians to the Old Pueblo. It opens its 67th annual series with the Hagen Quartet on Nov. 5 and 6, followed by the Morgenstern Trio Dec. 10 and 11. Its separate Piano and Friends series features Behzod Abduraimov on piano Nov. 9. All shows are at Leo Rich.

The other musical powerhouse, Arizona Opera, stages one more opera this fall following the groundbreaking mariachi work in October. On Nov. 22 and 23, the company returns to an old favorite, Verdi's 1851 tragedy "Rigoletto" at the Music Hall. A critically acclaimed young soprano, Anna Christy, sings the part of Gilda.

Tucson has a host of beloved choral groups. The Sons of Orpheus men's choir presents a magical concert at Mission San Xavier del Bac each year just before Christmas; this year's performances are Dec. 9 to 11. Southern Arizona Women's Chorus performs "Peace, Lullabies and Winter Song" – including "Dona Nobis Pacem" in Latin – Dec. 5 at Catalina Foothills High School and Dec. 7 at Ascension Lutheran Church. Arizona Repertory Singers perform a Christmas show at St. Thomas Apostle Church Dec. 7, and the Benedictine Monastery Dec. 14 and 19.

And for something completely different – and completely Celtic – Don Gest presents two bands from Ireland. Five-member traditional ensemble Beoga plays Sept. 20, aided by the young Tir Conaill Dancers of Tucson. Instrumental band Lunasa pairs with guest soloist Karan Casey Dec. 14. Both shows are at Berger.


Don't forget the reading series at Antigone Books, everyone's favorite independent store. In fall highlights, on Sept. 12, Tucsonan Marge Pellegrino reads from "Journey of Dreams," her YA novel of a refugee family fleeing Guatemala. Pellegrino is joined by two other authors of teen fiction, Lydia Millet and Austin Aslan. On Sept. 26, Arizonan Mary Sojourner presents "29," her raucous desert novel. Nonfiction writer Alison Hawthorne Deming hits the UA Poetry Center on Oct. 2 (with Susan Briante) and Antigone on Oct. 3, to read from her new book of essays, "Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit."

POG & Friends, a poetry group, kicks off its season with a massive group read on Sept. 20. A host of writers, including yours truly, each will read from their work for three minutes or less at Conrad Wilde Gallery in the Steinfeld Warehouse. Casa Libre en la Solana powers up its reading series this month; a highlight is "Stjukshon: An Indigenous Reading Series," on Sept.26, featuring three authors, Adrian L. Jawort, Cinnamon Spear and Luella N. Brien. The Pumpkin Vyne Singers perform.

For a little moon magic, "Glow! 2014: A Nighttime Art Experience" rolls out under moonlight on a high-desert Oracle ranch. Lighted sculptures guide visitors down pathways, and musicians perform on an outdoor stage. Sept. 6 and 13, Oct. 4 and 11 at Triangle L Ranch.

For a little magic magic, step into the Carnival of Illusion: An Evening of Old-World Magic at the Doubletree Hotel. Magicians Susan Eyed and Roland Sarlot conjure tricks and mysteries in a charming Victorian-style show. Most Fridays and Saturdays from Sept. 26 to Dec. 20.

And for lots of movie magic, try the three-screen Loft Cinema on for size. Throughout September, in addition to a full roster of current indie movies, the Loft hosts a Quentin Tarantino retrospective. October brings a month-long retro on Monty Python.

The Loft Film Fest, Oct. 16 to 19, combines live conversations with film artists with a roster of recent festival-screened movies, including "I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story," "White Bird in a Blizzard" and "Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter." Filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner, creators of "Kumiko," will show up in person to talk about their movie.

More by Margaret Regan


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