Two programs, both live and in-person, place Rufus Wainwright
and the Scottsdale Philharmonic centerstage this weekend.
Text by Fiona Clarke

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts invites music devotees to attend live, in-person performances this weekend. On Friday and Saturday, Rufus Wainwright will perform a solo program, and  the Scottsdale Philharmonic will return to its first venue on Sunday. Following health and safety protocols, seats will be socially distanced and guests will be required to wear face masks.


On Friday and Saturday, Rufus Wainwright takes the stage for three performances over two nights in Scottsdale. For Oh Solo Wainwright, a special solo performance, the accomplished musician will perform songs from his self-titled debut album Poses and his second album Want One. 

Praised by The New York Times for his “genuine originality,” Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists, songwriters, and composers of his generation. The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer-songwriter has released seven studio albums to date, three DVDs, and three live albums including the Grammy®-nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. 

To view Rufus Wainwright’s rendition of
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” CLICK HERE.

Wainwright has collaborated with artists such as Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Robert Wilson, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys, Heart, Robbie Williams, Jessye Norman, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sting, and producer Mark Ronson, among many others. Wainwright is affectionately referred to by Elton John as “the greatest songwriter on the planet.”

His 2020 Grammy®-nominated album, Unfollow the Rules, finds Wainwright at the peak of his powers, entering artistic maturity with passion, honesty, and a new-found fearlessness.

Opening for Wainwright on Saturday’s performances is singer and Keyboardist Rachel Eckroth. Having backed up Wainwright in the past, her other recent work as a sideman includes world tours and performances with Chris Botti, KT Tunstall, and St. Vincent. 


The May 2 Scottsdale Philharmonic Orchestra concert marks not only the Philharmonic’s first performance since the onset of the pandemic but also the group’s return to their first venue. However, given health and safety protocols, the concert will feature a smaller ensemble and will only allow around 250 socially-distanced people into the Virginia G. Piper Theater venue. Tickets are available for a small donation of $15. 

Returning to the stage on Sunday at 4 p.m., the 1-hour concert will feature selections from four legendary composers: Tomaso Albinoni, Benjamin Britten, Samuel Barber, and Wolfson Amadeus Mozart: Adagio in G Minor, a composition, attributed to Tomaso Albinoni, is widely familiar through its frequent use in film scores. The work is slow of pace, solemn of mood, and frequently transcribed for various combinations of instruments. It often appears on recordings of various short Baroque classics.

In 1934, during his last year at the Royal College of Music, Britten raided that stock his early music to create his Simple Symphony. Although based on material from works which the composer wrote between the ages of 9 and 12, the development of these themes is quite new.

Barber’s Adagio for Strings was originally the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11, composed in 1936 while he was spending a summer in Europe with his partner Gian Carlo Menotti, an Italian composer who was a fellow student at the Curtis Institute of Music. He was inspired by Virgil’s Georgics.

Mozart produced many serenades, the 13th of which, nicknamed Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, is his best known. The four-movement work opens with a bright allegro in sonata form, and a slow, lyrical second movement follows. The third movement is a light minuet, and the finale is a brisk rondo.

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