Young music maestro takes helm at Phoenix Symphony

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Symphony launches its 2014 - 2015 season next month. And 31-year-old  Tito Muñoz is about to debut as the Music Director and Maestro.

Muñoz is one of only a handful of Latinos working as music directors and conductors of a symphony orchestra in the US.

Muñoz has led orchestras in other major markets. He rose to top positions after he began studying violin at age 13 in the Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program. He moved to the Manhattan School of Music while also attending the Fiorello LaGuardia High School for Music and the Performing Arts (also known as "the Fame school.") Further instrumental study took him to Queens College.

"It all happened very fast, and I'm excited to be here," he says. "This is a very new thing for me, being in Phoenix and being in the Valley. I'm excited."

The Phoenix Symphony season begins with Carl Orff's Carmina burana on September 19 and 20 at Symphony Hall. Maestro Muñoz will lead the powerful program, which features the famous "O'Fortuna" movement heard in numerous movie and television commercial scores.

The Phoenix Symphony is joined by The Phoenix Symphony Chorus, the Phoenix Boys Choir, and features soloists soprano Mary MacKenzie, tenor Christopher Pfund, and baritone Corey McKern.

There will also be a special guest on the second night. Sandra Day O'Connor, Former Supreme Court Justice and prominent supporter of arts in Arizona, will conduct our nation's national anthem before the Sept. 20 concert.

"It will be fun," Muñoz says. "I hear she's a quick learner, and I don't doubt that."
 
This 1936 cantata is based on a set of poems and dramatic texts from the 11th through 13th centuries. The stories deal with subject matter such as greed, love, lust and gluttony.
 
Tickets start at $18 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 602-495-1999 or online at phoenixsymphony.org.