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Our First CD Is Available Now!

SASO "Celebration!" CD

Celebration! is SASO’s new CD, presenting attractive music by Tucson composers Pete Fine, Bruce Stoller, Jay Vosk, Richard White, Brian Goodall and A.F. Schultz. Linus Lerner conducts the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in pieces that are alternately exciting, soothing, engaging and moving.

This is the only disc where you’ll find such intriguing music as Bruce Stoller’s Open Spaces for yucca shakuhachi flute (played by the composer) and orchestra, and Richard White’s tender For Patte—A Simple Song, written in memory of a beloved longtime SASO musician.

Online, each disc costs $18.50, including shipping and handling. Support SASO and encounter captivating new music by our own composers!

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Welcome to SASO!

Founded in 1979, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra is a vital community resource that unites performers and audiences through a passion for music. The orchestra presents world premieres, seldom-performed treasures and classical gems. Our 2014–15 season continues in February with one of the most appealing of all Romantic-era symphonies, and a Beethoven concerto for not one, not two, but three soloists, featuring …

Edwin E. Soo Kim

Born in Korea, Edwin Eun Soo Kim began studying the violin at age 7 and won a local music competition a year later. He has since won several international competitions. After high school he moved to Vienna to continue his violin studies. He has soloed with numerous orchestras, performed recitals in Asia and Europe and released several recordings. His debut in the Berlin Philharmonie in 2007 was highly successful and he was invited back to perform the Mendelssohn, Dvorák and Tchaikovsky concertos. His debut with the Khachaturian concerto in Seoul was enthusiastically received. Currently, he is professor at Hanyang University in Seoul and lead soloist for the annual Lech Classic Music Festival at Lech am Arlberg, in western Austria.

Melanie Chae

The Vienna-based pianist Melanie Moon-Young Chae studied at the Purcell School and the Royal College of Music in London. During her training she received numerous scholarships. Among her awards have been first prizes at the International Zinetti Chamber Music Competition and the Maria Canals Competition and second prizes at the Concorso Internazionale Città di Pinerolo and the Beethoven Competition, as well as a special prize at the Concorso Internazionale di Provincia di Caltanissetta.

Melanie has found appropriate settings for her performances in such locations as the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Vienna Musikverein and the Purcell Room in London. She has given concerts as a soloist and together with her husband, Edwin E. S. Kim, in Vienna, London, Lindau, Koblenz, Seoul, and Hannover. She has been an accompanist at the Queen Elisabeth Competition, Tchaikovsky Competition, Seoul International Music Competition and Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover.

Melanie also devotes herself to chamber music. She has collaborated with personalities such as Boris Kuschnir, Pavel Vernikov and Igor Ozim and has shared the stage with Julian Rachlin, Lidia Baich and Alisa Weilerstein. She has recently had engagements for extensive concert tours in Austria, Korea and Germany.

Zoran Stilinstilin

Zoran Stilin is a native of Zagreb, Croatia and a prize-winner of the former Yugoslavia National Cello Competition. He was a performing soloist with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio-Television Orchestra, Music Academy Symphony Orchestra, and Gaudemus Chamber Orchestra.

Zoran continued his studies in Switzerland, and later the University of Arizona, where he received a Master of Music under the direction of Gordon Epperson and Peter Rejto. During this time in Arizona is when Zoran first developed his skills as a restorer and maker of fine string instruments. He was a student of the late Karl Roy, German violin maker and one of the world’s leading authorities on violin making.

By combining his passion for music and fine instruments, Zoran offers a complete approach to instrument making and repair. His instruments and bows have won top awards at the Violin Makers Association of Arizona International Competition. He is a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra; principal cellist of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, with which he has performed as a soloist in previous years; and an active solo and chamber musician. In this concert, he will be performing on his latest-made cello.

Linus Lerner, DMA

linusPraised for bringing charismatic and passionate energies to music performances, Linus Lerner has conducted orchestras, operas, choruses and instrumental groups around the world. He’s conducted in Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Spain and the United States.

Lerner is music director of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil. He also serves as clinician and vocal coach here and abroad.

He’s led SASO on two tours of China. He’s also guest conducted the Hunan Symphony Orchestra, Fuzhou Symphony Orchestra, National Film and Radio Orchestra and Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, all in China.

Other engagements include the Orchestra Nacional de Valles in Spain, the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras of Porto Alegre and the Symphony Orchestra of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, the International Opera Workshop in Bulgaria and Czech Republic, the Solistas Ensamble del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Primavera Symphony in Mexico.

Previously Lerner served as artistic director of Bayou City Performing Arts in Houston, and associate conductor for Opera in the Ozarks, Tallahassee Youth Symphony Orchestra and the University of Arizona Philharmonic. Lerner’s passion for music transcends cultural boundaries. Throughout his travels, he finds that music truly is the international language.

Support Us

Your support helps SASO continue to explore the world of music with our audiences.

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Special Thanks to our 2014-15 Season Sponsor
Dorothy Vanek

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SASO’s Story

Early audiences had to be loyal followers of this itinerant orchestra, which performed all over the city, frequently in churches. In the 1980s SASO rented the Temple of Music and Art for a concert. The City of Tucson condemned the building the morning of the dress rehearsal and the concert was canceled.
In December 1995 SASO was the first to present a concert at SaddleBrooke. This was the brainstorm of concertmaster Sam Kreiling. The concert sold out, as did a four-concert series the following year. SASO has performed there ever since.
The most colorful performance was a Halloween concert in Nogales—a ghoulish event where the conductor was a clown and all the musicians were in costume.
Our most famous alumnus is Rico Saccani, associate conductor of SASO our inaugural year and piano soloist for the second concert. He later conducted opera companies and orchestras around the world and was music director of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra from 1985 to 2005.
Brazilian-born Linus Lerner, in his first year as music director, challenged the orchestra to learn his native Latin rhythms by playing Villa-Lobos. This proved surprisingly hard to do. We finally got it, but not until the week of the concert.
One spring SASO proved it has animal attraction. When it played at the Reid Park Zoo, some of the critters sang along with the music
The largest event SASO has produced was Berlioz Te Deum, presented at the Tucson Community Center Music Hall with the Tucson Civic Orchestra, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Pima College Singers.
SaddleBrooke is home to many of our loyal donors and the place where we’ve held our gala celebrations—first a black-tie dinner with music from "Phantom of the Opera" and later our annual StarStruck Gala evenings from 2008 through 2013.
Composer, pianist and conductor Warren Cohen served as music director for eight seasons, routinely commuting from his home in Phoenix, but one year all the way from Hawaii. His wife, coloratura Carolyn Whitacre, was a favorite soloist.
The first concert was Oct. 28, 1979, conducted by former University of Arizona music professor Henry Johnson, featuring Jonathan Kramer in a Boccherini cello concerto.
Adam Boyles was the music director for three seasons, bringing bountiful youthful energy and a passion to serve the music. Then the Tucson native moved East to brave the snow and conduct the orchestra at MIT in Boston.
The visionary founders of SASO were Barbara and Bill Chinworth, Scott Bracher and Janet Lombard. Barbara has played with SASO through its entire history, originally in the horn section, now on bass.
Alan Schultz became music director in Year 2 and continued leading SASO for 15 seasons. He frequently conducted from the keyboard—organ or harpsichord. He also composed several works premiered by SASO.
Turkish maestro Orhan Salliel, after guest-conducting SASO in the fall of 2012, wrote to us, "The time in Tucson I shared with you in SASO for me was so special. I felt the real love of music from the bottom of everyone's hearts. It was something I do not feel often—never, ever in the professional world anymore. Please keep it, save it, try to build everything from this power of love for music."
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