Virtuoso Edwin Kim Returns to SASO for Elgar’s Violin Concerto on Jan. 27-29

TUCSON, AZ – Violin virtuoso Edwin Kim returns to Tucson for his third solo appearance with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, this time to perform Elgar’s Violin Concerto on Jan. 27, 28 and 29. The program also includes Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 and Tchaikovsky’s Suite from Swan Lake.

The first performance is in Green Valley at the Valley Presbyterian Church, 2800 S. Camino del Sol on Friday at 7 p.m. Additional performances are in SaddleBrooke on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Elgar concerto was written for and premiered by Fritz Kreisler in 1910 with Elgar conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Kreisler considered Elgar to be “the greatest living composer. I place him on an equal footing with my idols, Beethoven and Brahms,” he once told an English newspaper. “I wish Elgar would write something for the violin.” And several years later he was commissioned to do just that. The premiere was considered a “complete triumph.” A violinist himself, Elgar said this concerto is “awfully emotional, too emotional—but I love it,” according to biographer Michael Kennedy.

SASO soloist 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 studies and went on to win the top prize at five international music competitions. Kim has soloed throughout Europe and Asia. He’s released several recordings, including one supported by the city of Verona and another celebrating the 200th year of Schumann’s birth. He is music professor at Hanyang University in Seoul and lead soloist for the annual summer Lech Classic Music Festival in the Alps of western Austria. Kim previously performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with SASO in November of 2013 and the Beethoven Triple Concerto in February of 2015.

Tchaikovsky wrote the ballet Swan Lake which was not well received at its premiere performance in 1877. Several later he wrote a letter to his friend and music publisher Pyotr Jurgenson stating, “I wanted very much to save this music from oblivion, since it contains some fine things. And so I decided to make a suite from it.” Seven years after Tchaikovsky’s death, in November 1900, Jurgenson published a suite of six numbers from the ballet. Despite the composer’s concerns, Swan Lake became one of the most popular of all ballets

  • Tickets to the Green Valley concert are $23 in advance or at the door. Order online at or call SASO at (520) 308-6226.
  • The Jan. 28 concert is at the DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Dr. in SaddleBrooke. Individual tickets are $24 in advance or $25 at the door and can be purchased at or by calling (520) 825-2818. This concert is sponsored by Linda L. Griffin.
  • The Jan. 29 concert is at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte. Individual tickets are $23 in advance or at the door. Tickets are complimentary for ages 17 and younger. Order online at or call (520) 308-6226.

SASO Music Director Linus Lerner conducts all three performances. Since 2008 he has led the orchestra in Tucson and abroad, including two tours of China, three trips to Oaxaca, Mexico and one to Brazil. Most recently SASO musicians traveled with him to participate in the inaugural San Luis Potosí Opera Festival in Mexico. Lerner conducts chamber groups, orchestras, operas and choirs around the globe, from North, Central and South America to Europe, Eastern Europe, Israel, South Korea, China and Australia. Through these travels he meets exceptional artists from many cultures and introduces them to SASO audiences.

Two compelling works yet to come this season are Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto and Fauré’s Requiem with vocal soloists and chorus on March 17, 18 and 19.  The single-name saxophonist Ashu will play the Glazunov along with tangos by Argentina’s Piazzolla. The final concert cycle will be April 22 and 23, featuring young Russian conductor Anton Shaburov. That program includes Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 and Schumann’s Piano Concerto, performed by Melanie Chae, who previously soloed with SASO in 2015.

Philanthropist and musician Dorothy Vanek is SASO’s season sponsor for the 10th consecutive year. She also underwrote SASO’s first professional CD—Celebration!—featuring the compositions of six Tucson composers. She later sponsored SASO’s pending CD of contemporary music featuring viola concertos by Amanda Harberg and Max Wolpert, both performed by internationally acclaimed soloist Brett Deubner. SASO’s music acquisition this season is sponsored by the Arizona Lottery.

SASO is a vital community resource that unites performers and audiences through a passion for music. Founded in 1979, this orchestra presents world premieres, seldom-performed treasures and classical favorites. For more information call (520) 308-6226 or visit

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SASO’s Story

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