SASO presents Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Dvorak’s Eighth

Tucson music lovers are in for a rare treat on Feb. 20, 21 and 22 when the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra presents Beethoven’s seldom performed Triple Concerto, a dynamic musical conversation among cello, violin and piano soloists.

The concerto includes a particularly challenging part for cello solo, played by Zoran Stilin, SASO’s principal cellist. A native of Croatia, Stilin has performed several other concertos with the orchestra. He will be joined by Edwin E. Soo Kim, who soloed with SASO in 2013, and Kim’s pianist wife, Melanie Chae, both born in Korea and educated in Europe.

The program includes Suppé’s Light Cavalry Overture and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8.

Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Stilin was a prize-winner of the former Yugoslavia National Cello Competition. He soloed with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio-Television Orchestra, Music Academy Symphony Orchestra and Gaudemus Chamber Orchestra. He continued his musical training in Switzerland, and later the University of Arizona, where he studied with Gordon Epperson and Peter Rejto and completed a master’s degree. He is a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. He last soloed with SASO in February of 2014, performing Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo. Stilin also restores and makes fine string instruments.

Violinist 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’s 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 of 2013.

Pianist 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’s won several prizes at international competitions. Chae has performed in Korea and throughout Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. She serves as musical director of studies at the Lech Classic Music Festival. She has given concerts as a soloist and with her husband, Kim, in Vienna, London, Lindau, Koblenz, Seoul, Hannover and beyond. Chae also devotes herself to chamber music.

The Beethoven concerto was published in 1804. Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 was completed later in the 19th century, in 1889. The cheery, lyrical work reflects his Slavic heritage and was inspired by Bohemian folk tunes.

SASO Music Director Linus Lerner conducts. The native of Brazil has led orchestras, operas, choruses and instrumental groups around the world, including Brazil, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and the United States. He also is music director of the Symphony Orchestra of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil and founder of the Oaxaca Opera Festival, where SASO has performed the past two summers. He also led to the orchestra on two tours of China.

SASO presents this program three times, starting Friday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in Green Valley at the Valley Presbyterian Church, 2800 S. Camino del Sol; then Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at DesertView Performing Arts Center, 3990 S. Clubhouse Dr. in SaddleBrooke; and Sunday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte in northwest Tucson.

Tickets to the Green Valley and St. Andrew’s concerts are $23 and can be ordered online, by phone at 308-6226 or purchased at the door. Complimentary tickets are available at the St. Andrew’s performance for students age 17 or younger. Tickets to the SaddleBrooke concert are $24 in advance or $25 at the door. Call 825-2818 or order online.

Longtime SASO supporter Dorothy Vanek is the season sponsor for the eighth consecutive year. The Green Valley concert is sponsored by Serene Rein and Valley Presbyterian Church, the SaddleBrooke concert by Miki Pratt and the St. Andrew’s concert by Mike and Rena Lude.

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