Now that I live in Tucson, AZ, there are a few projects that I'd like to bring to fruition. Can you help?
Wouldn't it be great if a group of us got together each month to listen to and discuss recordings of favorite classical music pieces we love and would like to introduce to others? Well, now we can!
I'd soon like to teach the first in a series of classical music short courses called "Music for Listeners" that will present the works of well-known and not-so-well-known composers more from a listener's, rather than a musician's, perspective. As such, the only requirement is that you love music! If you have had any previous musical training or have a background in music, so much the better, but it is certainly not a requirement. The first course I'll teach will feature the music of Johannes Brahms. There will be four or five weekly in-person classes, so I'm currently looking for a meeting room where we can gather to listen to, learn about, and talk about great music. When we meet will be tailored to the schedules of those participating. If you are interested in attending the Brahms course, or if you know of a good place to meet, please contact me here.
We have a great classical music station in Tucson: Classical 90.5 FM. But there is no "friends" group and no direct involvement of listeners in this public radio station. There isn't even a way to make a financial contribution directly to classical radio—or even public radio in general—as it is under the Arizona Public Media (AZPM) umbrella that includes public television. In Wisconsin, financial contributions are made separately to public radio and public television, and I liked that.
One of the best ways to directly involve listeners in our local classical radio station is to have a weekly request program. I have written to the station (twice) about this and offering to help, but have received no response.
I'd like to bring one or two touring orchestras to Tucson each year. During my seven years on the board of the Ames International Orchestra Festival Association (AIOFA)—including two terms as President—I had the privilege and honor of helping to present orchestras from all around the world to central Iowans in C.Y. Stephens Auditorium with its outstanding acoustics. I have many fond memories of entertaining orchestra musicians and making them feel at home while they were in Ames, and those activities began for me many years before I served on the board. Loaning bicycles to orchestra members was always popular, and I will never forget the opportunity I once had to bring three members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to our local astronomy club's observatory for an evening of stargazing.
There are some amazing opportunities to bring a world-class orchestra to Tucson. For example, the Berlin Philharmonic performed in these cities during its 2022 U.S. tour:
The Berlin Philharmonic is arguably the greatest orchestra in the world. If they can come to Ann Arbor, Michigan or Naples, Florida, then why not Tucson?
Perhaps, first, do we need a truly great concert hall?
When I moved from Wisconsin to Tucson (to be closer to family), I regrettably had to leave behind my well-equipped research observatory housing an equatorially-mounted Meade 12-inch LX200 telescope. I used that telescope almost exclusively to observe stellar occultations by asteroids and trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) for IOTA. During the past couple of years I was one of the most productive occultation observers in North America. Not any more. My new home is in a location where the best I can do is to set up a portable 8-inch alt-az telescope on the back patio for a view of only the eastern half of the sky (my home and other homes block the western half). Moreover, I can no longer point the telescope any higher in the sky than 59° because the camera runs into the telescope base. All the equipment has to be set up and taken down for each night of observing. Making scientifically-valuable observations is now an order of magnitude more difficult than it was in Wisconsin, and I am much less productive.
Is anyone interested in working with me to build an astronomical observatory housing a telescope of 12-inch aperture or larger? If you have a small parcel of land with a good view of most or all of the sky where an observatory could be built, and it is within a mile or two of N. El Moraga Drive on the WNW side of Tucson, that would be perfect!