Saetbyeol Kim, a doctoral piano student of James Giles, and Julian Velasco ‘20 MMus, a former student of Taimur Sullivan, have been named 2020 Fellows in Classical Music by the Luminarts Cultural Foundation. Each will receive a $7,500 award.

The Luminarts Cultural Foundation cultivates Chicago’s vibrant arts community by supporting exemplary young artists through its competitive programs that offer financial awards, artistic opportunities, and mentoring that bridge the gap between education and career.

Saetbyeol Kim

Kim has earned a reputation for her “ingeniously colorful imagination with stage charisma” (Agata Nowakowska), remarking “hushed performances as an operatic singer on the piano” (Cleveland Classical). A 2019 Astral National Auditions Winner, she has performed as a soloist around the world, appearing in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Teatro Civico in Italy, Flagey in Belgium, Petit Palau Hall in Spain, Paderewski Pomeranian Philharmonic Concert Hall in Poland, Koerner Hall in Toronto, Mozart Hall in South Korea, and Merkin Concert Hall and Kodak Hall in the U.S. She was the first prize winner of the Dallas International Competition and the Rochester Philharmonic Concerto Competition. Kim holds a Master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Enrico Elisi.

Julian Velasco

Velasco has performed with orchestras such as Elgin Symphony, Lansing Symphony, South Coast Symphony, Orange County School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra, Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and the Waukegan Symphony. He has also been an invited artist to join the Chautauqua Music School Festival Orchestra on multiple occasions. As both a soloist and chamber musician, he has garnered multiple national awards such as the 2020 Music Teachers National Association Chamber Winds first prize, the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance Soloist and Chamber Musician second prizes, the 2018 Vandoren Emerging Artist Grand Prize, and many others. He is a founding member and soprano saxophonist of the award-winning Fuse Quartet. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. His primary instructors have been James Barrera, Joseph Lulloff, Diego Rivera, and Taimur Sullivan.


  • James Giles
  • Taimur Sullivan