KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 10/9/11, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews George Hanson, Music Director and Conductor,and Andrew Birgensmith, Executive Director, Tucson Symphony Orchestra. TSO is entering its 83rd season.  

Hanson says Italian star Fabio Bidini returns as featured pianist for the classic performance October 15 and 16.

Hanson says the orchestra brings a lot of value to the community.  He says most of the musicians in the orchestra live in the City of Tucson and spend most of their income here.  He says while the orchestra continues to face difficult economic challenges, it is important people realize the economic contributions it makes.  He says fine arts and cultural programs lure people downtown, where they spend money.  He says with its annual budget of $3.4-million, TSO pumps more than $20-million into the Southern Arizona economy each year.

Birgensmith was just hired after spending 10 years with the Kansas City Symphony.   He says his goal in Tucson is to increase and strengthen TSO’s presence in the community.  He says TSO had to make some painful financial adjustments last year, but moving forward, the the future of the organization is much brighter.  He says he will be talking to community leaders to help them understand and appreciate the significant role TSO plays in Tucson and Pima County’s economy.