Civic Orchestra of Tucson

Civic Orchestra of Tucson

November 2020: The Civic Orchestra of Tucson Board of Directors has decided to cancel the remainder of our 2020–2021 season. We hope to return to music-making in October 2021. Stay cautious and healthy, and please keep the Civic Orchestra of Tucson in your hearts and minds.

All the very best, Charles Bontrager, Music Director/Conductor

Spring 2021: Civic Orchestra of Tucson Presents World Premiere by Bob Atwell

During the pandemic, the Civic Orchestra of Tucson performed and recorded “Soliloquy” by local composer Bob Atwell in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Click to read more about this piece and view it on YouTube.

A Community Treasure Since 1975

Founded in 1975, the Civic Orchestra of Tucson is a 75-piece community orchestra presenting free concerts to residents of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Our accessible concerts enrich the cultural life of the greater Tucson area. Soloists are well-known musicians from Tucson and across the country as well as winners of our Young Artists’ Competition.

Each year we partner with Dancing in the Streets Arizona by providing live orchestral music for one of their productions. In December 2019 we once again collaborated with them in two performances of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet.

Our Pops concerts are filled with familiar tunes that all ages will enjoy.

Please visit our Concert Schedule page for information about our season. We are hopeful that we will be able to present all concerts as scheduled this year.

Mission Statement

The Civic Orchestra of Tucson (COT), an all-volunteer symphony orchestra, is dedicated to enriching the cultural life of the greater Tucson area through its free concerts at various sites and using innovative ideas to provide music education opportunities for students. The Civic Orchestra of Tucson sponsors guest artists representing talented elementary, secondary, college-age and other musicians. COT is also committed to providing opportunities for adult avocational symphonic instrumentalists to utilize and improve their skills through performance in a symphonic group.

Our Commitment to Youth

The COT is dedicated to encouraging young musicians through innovative educational programs. At our Instrument Petting Zoos, children enjoy a hands-on musical experience as they hold and play a variety of instruments. COT also plays a critical role in cultivating local and statewide musical talent by sponsoring an annual Young Artists’ Competition.


Rehearsals for the COT are held on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 9:30 pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1540 E Linden Street in Tucson. Our season runs from early September through mid-May.

Musicians Welcome

The COT provides local musicians with an opportunity to play in a full symphony orchestra. If you are a musician who enjoys playing symphonic music—and occasionally Pops music—we invite you to join us. We are currently seeking musicians for our trumpet, horn, percussion, and all string sections. Other vacancies in the winds and brass may be posted at a later time. Learn more.

Our 2020–2021 season is supported in part by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which receives support from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts.


and also by the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, funded by the City of Tucson and Pima County.


Photos of Charles Bontrager and the orchestra by Photography by Casey James.