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School and Youth Symphony Collaborate on The Sleeping Beauty

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The School of Ballet Arizona (SBAZ) and Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) will be presenting The Sleeping Beauty this weekend at Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix. The collaboration between a ballet school and a youth symphony is apparently quite unique. In the following video, School Director Maria Simonetti and Youth Symphony Artistic Director Matthew Kasper discuss the production:


This is the second year that the two organizations will be performing together. Last year, the performances were outdoors at the Desert Botanical Garden, which was already outfitted for Ib Andersen’s The Four Seasons. Curiously I was unable to locate any photos of that performance, but here’s a video showing the preparations for that event:

Ms. Simonetti has been at BAZ since 1997. Most of that time she has served as Rehearsal Director – essentially the trusted right-hand person to AD Ib Andersen. Several years ago, she was named SBAZ Director. The BAZ website alternately lists her as either Rehearsal Director or School Director, depending on where you look – perhaps an indication of the difficulty of divorcing oneself from the long-held and key Rehearsal Director position. Either way, Maria is definitely one of the ‘glue’ people who is invaluable to the organization.

In addition to his role at the PYSO, Mr. Kasper also serves as Resident Conductor of The Phoenix Symphony. He has also been conducting The Phoenix Symphony for Ballet Arizona since live performances restarted at Symphony Hall for the Nutcracker in 2021.

The Sleeping Beauty can be seen at Madison Center for the Arts on June 3, 4, and 5, 2022:


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