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Tucson Desert Song Festival Celebrates the American Voice

Tucson Desert Song Festival

For Immediate Release:

Friday, June 14, 2019

Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Matthew Polenzani, Ian Bostridge, and Morris Robinson

headline Tucson Desert Song Festival 2020

Celebration of American Voice!


Tucson Desert Song Festival Celebrates the American Voice


January 15 to February 6, 2020

See below for full schedule, or visit TucsonSongFest


Concerts take place in different venues around Tucson:

  • Tucson Music Hall
  • Crowder Hall, University of
  • Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
  • Holsclaw Hall, University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
  • Centennial Hall, University of Arizona CampuPima Community College Center for the Arts
  • Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium
  • Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
  • St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church, Green Valley
  • Lutheran Church of the Risen Savior, Green Valley


Each TDSF partner assigns prices to its event.

Visit for more information.


Emily Hansen, TDSF Public Relations

George Hanson, Festival Coordinator

Related Websites

The eighth annual Tucson Desert Song Festival, Jan. 15-Feb. 6, 2020, celebrates the American voice with a gathering of world-renowned classical singers exploring the colors, rhythms and melodies of America’s rich and complex musical character. Richard Danielpour will be the festival’s Artist-in-Residence.Ten of Tucson’s leading performing arts organizations explore America in music with such leading vocal artists as Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Ian Bostridge, Matthew Polenzani, Morris Robinson, and Reginald Mobley.

Says Festival Coordinator George Hanson, “TDSF is thrilled to bring to Tucson its biggest lineup of major vocal stars in the history of the Festival. TDSF’s international reputation has been growing, both in reach and in profile; this makes it possible for us to attract the world’s biggest names in the world’s vocal arts scene.”

Regarding the 2020 festival’s theme, Hanson says, “America’s singers and composers bring a special perspective to their art— a particular blend of influences from the world’s diverse cultures. This year’s Festival celebrates that special American ‘voice,’ an American perspective that brings together many voices. American composer Richard Danielpour incorporates ancient Persian poetry in a set of songs of life, death and love; American baritone Thomas Hampson brings a program of American vocal music spanning much of the country’s history; other artists bring their own take on America’s diverse, yet unique, musical voice.”

Among the festival’s highlights:

Richard Danielpour, one of America’s most important composers, is the first to be commissioned through the Wesley Green TDSF Composer Project. Danielpour has written a set of songs based on ancient Persian texts: Songs of Love and Loss (Five Songs on Poems of Rumi) for his friend, renowned Israeli soprano Hila Plitmann. This concert will be part of Danielpour’s Artist-in-Residence engagement, along with a composing seminar and outreach activities.

● Superstar soprano Renée Fleming, whose accomplishments range from headlining the Metropolitan Opera Gala to winning a Tony for her performance in a Broadway revival of Carousel–and who has sung The Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl and Danny Boy at John McCain’s memorial service–joins the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for a jubilant festival finale.

● Arizona Opera presents American lyric tenor Matthew Polenzani, renowned for his romantic, honeyed tone, and widely recognized as one of the great tenors of our time. He joins pianist Christopher Cano, head of Arizona Opera's Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio, for a special recital.

● For UA Presents, beloved baritone Thomas Hampson performs the American Songbook and explores the influential people and monumental events that helped create and define “the land of the free.” Illuminating and questioning the role of core American values such as freedom and brotherhood, Song of America: Beyond Liberty takes the audience through centuries of songs and includes personal anecdotes and historical monologues along with readings of American poetry.

● Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs, timeless songs by Stephen Foster, and spirituals performed by African American bass Morris Robinson demonstrate how brilliant artists gave a sound to a nation, and explore how individuals have influenced this nation through song, in concert with True Concord Voices & Orchestra.

● Renowned British tenor and 15-time Grammy nominee Ian Bostridge is joined by his guitar colleague from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Xuefei Yang, in a recital presented by the Tucson Guitar Society. Each will also teach a master class at the Fred Fox School of Music.

● The Arizona Early Music Society embarks on a musical voyage to the Americas, featuring star countertenor Reginald Mobley with the San Francisco-based string ensemble Agave Baroque.

● Soprano Federica Lombardi, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut this past January, joins conductor José Luis Gomez and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a program called Windows into Song, offering sacred music by Gioachino Rossini, Church Windows by Ottorino Respighi, and the world premiere of Vokas Animo by Tucsonan Robert Lopez-Hanshaw.

● Four singers from the New York Festival of Song bring to the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music a concert called Killer “B”s–American Song from Amy Beach to the Beach Boys. The hopes, joys and struggles of 20th-century Americans, from the working class to the patrician blue bloods, are told entirely by composers whose last names begin with B, including Berlin, Bernstein, Blitzstein, Bolcom, Barber, Beach and, yes, the Beach Boys.

Tickets are available from the individual presenting organizations.


Wednesday, January 15, 2019

Opening Lecture:“Art Song in America”

Presented by Professor Kristin Dauphinais

7:00 p.m. (Holsclaw Hall), Free event

Friday, January 17, 2019

“Composer's Concert: Richard Danielpour’s Songs of Love and Loss”

7:00 p.m. (Holsclaw Hall)

Sunday, January 19, 2019

Agave Baroque and Reginald Mobley, countertenor: “American Originals”

3:00 p.m. (Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church)

Wednesday, January 22

Lecture: “New Directions in Song”

Hosted by Professor Kristin Dauphinais

12:00-1:00 p.m. (Holsclaw Hall), Free event

Ian Bostridge, tenor, and Xuefei Yang, guitar, in recital

7:00 p.m. (Holsclaw Hall)

Thursday, January 23

Masterclass, voice: Ian Bostridge

10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (Holsclaw Hall), Free event

Masterclass, guitar: Xuefei Yang

10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (Crowder Hall), Free event

Friday, January 24

“America Sings!”

Featuring Morris Robinson, bass

7:00 p.m. (St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church, Green Valley)

“Windows into Song”

Featuring Federica Lombardi, soprano

7:30 p.m. (Tucson Music Hall)

Saturday, January 25

“America Sings!”

Featuring Morris Robinson, bass

7:30 p.m. (Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium)

Sunday, January 26

“Windows into Song”

Featuring Federica Lombardi, soprano

2:00 p.m. (Tucson Music Hall)

“America Sings!”

Featuring Morris Robinson, bass

3:00 p.m. (Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church)

“Festival of Hymns”

Featuring Kevin Hildebrand, organist and composer, with LCRS Choir and instrumentalists.

3:00 p.m. (Lutheran Church of the Risen Savior, Green Valley; Free will)

Tuesday, January 28

“Song of America: Beyond Liberty”

Featuring Thomas Hampson, baritone, and Lara Downes, piano

7:30 p.m. (Centennial Hall)

Thursday, January 30

“Killer B’s” - New York Festival of Song in concert

7:30 p.m. (Crowder Hall)

Friday, January 31

Matthew Polenzani in recital

7:00 p.m. (Holsclaw Hall, Fred Fox School of Music)

“Made in America”

7:30 p.m. (PCC Center for the Arts)

Saturday, February 1

“Made in America”

2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (PCC Center for the Arts)

“La Bohème”

Featuring Ellie Dehn, soprano, as Mimi and Mario Chang, tenor, as Rodolfo

7:30 p.m. (Tucson Music Hall)

Sunday, February 2

“Made in America”

1:00 p.m. (PCC Center for the Arts)

“La Bohème”

Featuring Julie Adams, soprano, as Mimi and Yongzhao Yu, tenor, as Rodolfo

2:00 p.m. (Tucson Music Hall)

Thursday, February 6

Renée Fleming in concert

7:30 p.m. (Tucson Music Hall)

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