Music of Tucson, Arizona

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Tucson, Arizona has a strong, growing independent music culture that focuses on locally grown and locally derived musical genres. The city is home to musical organizations that seek to nurture artists from the local music scene as well as introduce the community to other musical styles from beyond Southern Arizona.

Regional musical genres[edit]

Tucson is home to both home-grown and imported musical styles and influences, including:

  • Desert Funk / Desert Groove / Roots Music — influenced by Sly and the Family Stone, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson and Billie Holiday
  • Desert Noir
  • Desert Rock
  • Mariachi — an integration of stringed instruments highly influenced by the cultural impacts of the historical development of Western Mexico
  • Native American Jazz — blends Native American and non-Native musical traditions
  • Sonoran Dirty Rock
  • Tohono O'odham waila[1]
  • Western Cowboy[2]

Musical organizations[edit]

  • Arizona Friends of Chamber Music — brings chamber music artists to Tucson
  • Tucson Chamber Artists — vocal and instrumental musicians performing masterworks and modern classical music.
  • Arizona Opera — baroque, bel canto and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas and American operas
  • Desert Bluegrass Association — promotes traditional bluegrass music in Tucson and Southern Arizona
  • Mexican Institute of Sound[3] — electronic music project created by Mexico City-based DJ and producer Camilo Lara
  • Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra (SASO)
  • Tucson Jazz Society — helps develop local jazz and brings jazz musicians to perform in Tucson,
  • Tucson Junior Strings
  • Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association — acoustic music and other folk arts
  • Tucson Masterworks Chorale — 100-voice community choir performing masterworks with orchestra. (oldest community choir in Tucson)
  • Tucson Symphony Orchestra — the oldest symphony orchestra in the American Southwest
  • UA Presents — The University of Arizona's performing arts presenter, featuring jazz, classical, opera and world music.
  • Classical Revolution Tucson — a local nonprofit organization dedicated to making classical music more accessible by bringing it to nontraditional venues.

Tucson Area Music Awards (TAMMIES)[edit]

The annual public-choice music awards — nicknamed the TAMMIES[4] — seeks to recognize local talent by highlighting Tucson's best musical performers.[5] The awards are held in the fall and are sponsored by Tucson Weekly magazine.

Recurring musical festivals and fairs[edit]

Prominent local musicians and bands[edit]

The following Tucson-based artists have been featured in a variety of local and national media.

Established choirs and choral groups[edit]

Major music performance venues[edit]


  1. ^ Sturman, Dr. Janet, "World of Music and Dance in Tucson, Arizona", content by University of Arizona students enrolled in Music 334
  2. ^ Cowboy music fest debuts here, Arizona Daily Star, Caliente section, Thursday, May 26, 2011. Retrieved: September 5, 2011.
  3. ^ Armstrong, Gene, "A Tucson Music Hub ", Tucson Weekly, September 1, 2011.
  4. ^ Seigel, Stephen, Soundbites, Tucson Weekly, August 25, 2011.
  5. ^ McLemore, Mark, "And The Winner Is...", Arizona Public Media, Arts and Life, August 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Raven, Daniel, "Industrial Strength: Alter Der Ruine grins through the goth", Phoenix New Times, Thursday, Nov 8 2007.
  7. ^ Soundbites, Tucson Weekly, Aug 10, 2011.
  8. ^ "The Black Sun Ensemble (Camera Obscura Records)", Phoenix New Times, May 17, 2001
  9. ^ Golston, Maggie, "Welcome to the Cadillac Steakhouse. May they rock your face off?", Tucson Sentinel, Posted Feb 11, 2010.
  10. ^ Smith, Dylan, "Calexico on Jimmy Kimmel Live", Tucson Sentinel, Posted May 6, 2011.
  11. ^ 2009 "Tucson Music Hall of Fame: Calexico", Tammies: Tucson's Music Site, Posted by Tucson Area Music Awards on September 7, 2009.
  12. ^ Newman, Paige, One more gift from two great bands,, Updated 10/13/2005.
  13. ^ "Tucson HoCo Fest features Latin music tonight", Arizona Daily Star, Tucson's entertainment guide, Posted Friday, September 2, 2011.
  14. ^ Tucson: Southern Arizona's Music Sanctuary, Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau, News Release, December 16, 2010.
  15. ^ "Messing With Texas: Alt.Latino's Favorite Music From SXSW 2014". 22 March 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "'World Music' With A Kick". 20 November 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "Orkesta Mendoza - virtualWOMEX". 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 

External links[edit]