January 29, 2024

CIM violin student Karisa Chiu to make debut with Asheville Symphony Orchestra

Karisa Chiu playing the violin, against a blue curtain.

An enduring partnership between CIM and the Asheville Symphony Orchestra has resulted in a major career break for a current student.  

In another sign of the strong bond between the two organizations, violinist Karisa Chiu, a student of Jaime Laredo and Malcolm Lowe at CIM, has been selected by the ASO to perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 and 18.  

Chiu replaces CIM trumpet student Alisa Crueger-Cain, who has withdrawn from the program for medical reasons.   

“Mozart Four is a delight, and Karisa is a fantastic fit to perform it,” said Darko Butorac, music director of the ASO, who also will conduct Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 that weekend.  

“We are grateful to CIM for providing us such a deep pool of stage-worthy talent to draw from, and I am eager to meet and make music with Karisa on this special occasion.”  

The partnership between CIM and the ASO is profound and ongoing. It is the brainchild of Tom Bolton, a Cleveland native and Distinguished Director of the Asheville Symphony Society Board of Directors, with the support of the Payne Fund, a longtime and generous supporter of scholarships at CIM, founded in 1930 by Bolton’s relative, Frances Payne Bolton.  

One especially prominent expression of that connection is The Payne Fund Prize, of which Crueger-Cain was a winner, an annual opportunity for a CIM Concerto Competition winner to perform with the ASO. Many of these winners proceed to enjoy prominent careers as soloists or members of major orchestras or chamber ensembles.  

“This investment by Tom and the Payne Fund is an important incentive and experience for our students,” said Paul W. Hogle, CIM’s President & CEO. “The artistic leadership in Asheville, the philanthropic support, and the incredible setting make this annual opportunity a highly coveted one among CIM’s students, and we are thrilled to see Karisa make her well-deserved debut.”  

About Karisa Chiu

With a deep commitment to musical excellence and understanding of the repertoire, violinist Karisa Chiu has earned numerous accolades around the globe, including first prize of the Isang Yun Violin Competition, fourth prize and composer prize winner of the Menuhin Violin Competition, and second prize of the Leopold Mozart International Violin Competition. Karisa earned her bachelor’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with violinist Ida Kavafian. At CIM, she is pursuing a master’s degree with Jaime Laredo and Malcom Lowe. She is the recipient of an anonymous scholarship funded by one of CIM’s longest-standing, most generous supporters of annual fund, endowment, and capital initiatives. For more about Karisa, visit karisachiu.com

About the ASO 

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO) performs and promotes symphonic music for the benefit, enjoyment, and education of the people of Western North Carolina. Related organizations include the Asheville Symphony Guild, Asheville Symphony Chorus, Asheville Symphonettes, and education initiatives such as the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra, Music in the Schools, MusicWorks, Symphony Talk, and pre-concert lectures. Learn more at ashevillesymphony.org.