Festival Notes, Articles and News

Tucson Desert Songfest Newsletter

Nov 21, 2019   |   Share this Online:



Is there a uniquely American musical “voice?” This year TDSF will explore the question.

It’s difficult to imagine any musical culture more diverse than ours. Latin rhythms mixed with Caribbean styles which originated in Africa led to what we now call “Jazz,” a label that encompasses almost an infinite number of sub-genres. Europeans brought their own styles, and America became a true musical melting pot.

On the classical side, composers like Aaron Copland set out to define a true American “voice”: using simple harmonies to represent the straightforwardness of frontier Americans, and melodies with big jumps to symbolize the breadth of America’s geography, Copland created a sound that is instantly recognizable. Gershwin and Bernstein broke down barriers between classical and popular music-barriers which the Europeans still struggle with today.

This year marks the first in TDSF’s series of composer commissions. American composer Richard Danielpour has written a stunning set of songs based on ancient Persian texts, to be sung by Israeli soprano Hila Plitmann. This is the sort of diverse project that truly represents the American musical voice.

TDSF’s 2020 roster of artists is the most stellar in our history. With American icons like Renée Fleming and Thomas Hampson, and rising stars like Italian soprano Federica Lombardi, Tucson will be the cultural destination for lovers of great singing. I hope to see you there!

George Hanson

Tucson Songfest Sponsors