Talk about patience.
Tucson teen Joshua Thai has been waiting two years to cash in on his prize after winning the junior division of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra‘s 2020 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition.
Two years is easily five in kid years.
This weekend, Joshua, now 15, gets to play with the community orchestra under the baton of Music Director Linus Lerner, his prize for winning the Vanek competition endowed by the late arts patron.
Joshua will perform the third movement of Polish composer Henryk Wieniawksi’s Violin Concerto, a piece he was set to perform in the 2020-21 season that was canceled courtesy the pandemic.
Josh, a sophomore at Quest for Education and Arts, began studying violin at at age 7 and by 11 he was playing with an orchestra, debuting with the Arizona Symphonic Winds under the baton of László Veres.
He adds the Vanek competition win to a growing list of contest prizes that includes back-to-back first place finishes in Colorado’s Rocky Ridge Music Center concerto competition that earned him a shot performing with the faculty there. In 2019, he participated in the prestigious HeifetzPEG program, studying with Bela Horvath.
His performance with SASO this weekend is a rehearsal of sorts for his recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in the spring as part of the Progressive Musicians Competition.
The Wieniawksi concerto is on a program that includes the return of South Korean violinist Edwin So Kim performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.
This is Kim’s fourth appearance with SASO after his 2013 debut playing Tchaikovsky’s breathtaking workout Concerto in D major. He also performed Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in 2015 and the challenging and heaven-sent Elgar Concerto in 2017.
The orchestra will perform the concert twice this weekend — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive in SaddleBrooke; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6, at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte in Oro Valley.