The Tucson Desert Song Festival provides a world-class experience for music enthusiasts and novices alike—of enjoyment, education and interaction with acclaimed classical voices singing with some of Tucson’s leading performing arts groups. Ultimately the mission is to elevate Tucson to a world-class destination for music lovers.
Where might you savor performances by some of the world’s leading classical singers collaborating with accomplished regional arts groups, while enjoying moderate winter temperatures, breathtaking sunsets, and endless outdoor activities?
It’s the Tucson Desert Song Festival, a unique three-weekend blend of glorious singing in orchestral, chamber, choral, and solo formats along with related lectures and master classes in the warmth and charm of Arizona’s renowned Sonoran Desert resort region. Internationally celebrated soloists join the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, UA Presents, Arizona Opera and other organizations, as well as master classes and lectures in intimate settings at the University of Arizona School of Music.
Between the festival events, enjoy the many wonders of the Sonoran Desert and Southern Arizona—the perfect winter destination known for its mild temperatures, numerous golf courses, art galleries, sumptuous restaurants, and hiking in any of four mountain ranges. Nearby are historic and art-filled towns such as Tubac, Bisbee, and Patagonia, not to mention Kartchner Caverns and prime birding sites.
HOW WE BEGAN
Tucson has a long tradition of classical music leadership in the Southwest. The University of Arizona has offered instruction in music since the late 1800s, and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is the oldest continuing professional performing arts organization in Arizona.
With these artistic partners as a foundation, the Tucson Desert Song Festival was formed in 2010 as a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation by a group of music-loving volunteers. The driving force behind the festival is Jack Forsythe, co-founder of the successful St. Paul, Minnesota Summer Song Festival, which ran from 2002 to 2006.
Our purpose is to coordinate, subsidize and publicize a unique classical voice festival highlighting the rich musical life of Tucson along with some of the country’s leading vocal performance artists through a series of concerts, lectures and master classes throughout the three-weekend festival.
And it’s working! According to the Arizona Daily Star, “The Tucson Desert Song Festival is a bonanza of gorgeous music. Arts groups and the fest folk have teamed up to bring us internationally known talent, as well as rising stars in the art song field.”
The participating organizations in the festival include the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, True Concord Voices & Orchestra (formerly the Tucson Chamber Artists), UA Presents, Arizona Opera, the Tucson Guitar Society, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Arizona Early Music Society, Ballet Tucson and the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music.
The annual festival presented its inaugural performances February 8–17, 2013.