Guest Artists

This season’s guest artists come to us from around the world.


Melanie Chae


Melanie Chae was born in Seoul, trained in London and is now based in Vienna. She studied at the Purcell School and the Royal College of Music in London. She has won several prizes at international competitions. Chae has performed in Korea and throughout Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. She serves as music director of studies at the Lech Classic Music Festival. She has given concerts as a soloist and with her husband, Edwin E. Soo Kim, in Vienna, London, Lindau, Koblenz, Seoul, Hannover and beyond—as well as in Tucson, in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with SASO in February 2015. Chae also devotes herself to chamber music.

Anton Shaburov

Guest Conductor

Russian conductor Anton Shaburov, a former student of Gennady Rozhdestvensky at the Moscow State Conservatory, is chief conductor and artistic director of the Ural State Mussorgsky Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in Yekaterinburg, his home town, as well as of the Ippolitov-Ivanov Institute Symphony Orchestra in Moscow. Rozhdestvensky declared, “Anton Shaburov is a conductor of exceptional musical culture. His interpretations are distinguished for impeccable artistic taste, well-organized structure and emotionally bright performance.” Besides leading conventional orchestral concerts, he has also supervised festivals dedicated to the likes of Rachmaninov, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Shchedrin and Zolotaryov. He is also active as a conductor for the stage, particularly in Russian opera and ballet. As a guest conductor, he regularly performs with leading Russian orchestras and holds assistant professor positions both in Moscow (Ippolitov-Ivanov State Musical Pedagogical Institute) and Yekaterinburg (Urals State Mussorgsky Conservatory), leading his own conducting classes.

James Dick


James Dick has brought to life the works of classical composers for audiences from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Academic Capelle in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dick’s playing melds modern-day energy and technique with an Old World graciousness and civility, resulting in a passionate sound that keeps audiences engrossed. In addition to his schedule as a world-renowned guest artist, Dick in 1971 established the Round Top Festival Institute in Round Top, Texas to nurture and incubate aspiring young musicians. The Institute (today operated under The James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts) has grown to a 210-acre European-styled campus where distinguished faculty each year teach nearly 100 young artists and the Festival Institute provides year-round education and performance programs for audiences. He has received numerous honors and commendations, including the Texas Medal of Arts, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture, and Honorary Associate of London’s Royal Academy of Music. James Dick is no stranger to accolades. From his youth, he has been recognized for his talent and for his contributions to music. He studied with Clifford Curzon in London, and went on to—in a single year— win prizes in the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition (Moscow) and the Busoni International Piano Competition (Italy), and was a finalist in the Leventritt Piano Competition (New York).

Carol Wincenc


Grammy-nominated flutist Carol Wincenc is the recipient of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Arts and Letters. A muse of many of today’s most prominent composers, she has premiered concertos written for her by Christopher Rouse, Lukas Foss, Henryk Górecki, Joan Tower, Paul Schoenfield, Jake Heggie, Peter Schickele, Roberto Sierra and Tobias Picker. She has performed with most of the leading orchestras of North American and Europe, and participates in chamber festivals far and wide—including the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival. As a result of her fascination with the flute family, Wincenc created and directed a series of International Flute Festivals at the Ordway Theater in Saint Paul featuring such diverse artists as Jean-Pierre Rampal, Herbie Mann and Tucson-based Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai. A renowned pedagogue, master-class performer and juror at the most prestigious international flute competitions, Wincenc continues her teaching legacy at both Stony Brook University and her alma mater, the Juilliard School, graduating masterly students now holding prominent orchestral and teaching positions worldwide.

Edwin E. Soo Kim


Edwin E. Soo Kim began studying the violin at age 7 and one year later won a music competition in his native Korea. After high school he moved to Vienna to continue his violin studies. He was the top prize-winner in several international music competitions. In Europe and Asia, Kim has soloed with numerous orchestras and performed recitals. He has released several recordings, including one supported by the city of Verona and another celebrating the 200th year of Schumann’s birth. Currently, he is professor at Hanyang University in Seoul and lead soloist for the annual Lech Classic Music Festival in the Alps of western Austria. Kim previously performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with SASO in November 2013, and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with his pianist-wife, Melanie Chae, and SASO principal cellist Zoran Stilin in February 2015.



Saxophonist Ashu has established an extraordinary ability to communicate with audiences around the world through his charismatic and emotive performance style. He has repeatedly defied conventions by winning major international awards and competitions traditionally won by pianists and violinists. Critics have described him as “just as much fun to watch as to listen to” (Dallas Morning News) and “ready to cultivate the masses” (Chicago Tribune). Ashu has developed a pioneering career as the first and only full-time concert saxophone soloist. He says, “The saxophone is really an incredible instrument. It can be played with such emotional intensity and sing like a voice. It’s capable of tremendous beauty.” With the unique ability to captivate general as well as classical audiences, Ashu has shown that the concert saxophone can reach beyond stylistic categorization and to a large diversity of people. He received his bachelor and masters degrees from Northwestern University, and is currently based in the Chicago area.

SASO’s Story

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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.