Violinist Kyung Sun Lee captured sixth prize in the 1994 Tchaikowsky Competition, a bronze medal in the 1993 Queen Elisabeth Competition, first prizes of the Washington and D’Angelo International Competitions, and third prize in the Montreal International Competition, where she also won the Audience Favorite and the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work prizes. Subsequent to winning these awards she has enjoyed ever-increasing popularity as a performer. She has received high critical acclaim: “Exceptional tonal suavity and expressive intensity in equal measure,” commented the Strad. “Godard’s ‘Concerto Romantique’ could not have had a more outstanding soloist than Kyung Sun Lee,” proclaimed Harris Goldsmith in the New York Concert Review. “Fluidity and grace; pathos and emotion,” raved the Palm Beach Post. “Lee is the most musical, the most intelligent soloist to have played with the orchestra in quite a while,” maintained the Tuscaloosa News. “Penetrating clarity, a strong sense of style and a technical supremacy that conquered all difficulties with unruffled ease,” announced the Miami Herald. “Beyond superb execution, she conveyed [Vieuxtemps’s Concerto no. 5]’s particular Romanticism expertly,” remarked Dennis Rooney in The Strad.
In great demand as a soloist, she also performs frequently in duo with husband Brian Suits, with whom she is one of the newest members of the Community Concerts roster. For years a popular teacher in Seoul, Lee became assistant professor of violin at the Oberlin Conservatory in Fall of 2001. In summers she teaches at several chamber music festivals in both the United States and Korea; notable among these is the Seattle Chamber Music Festival. Lee is a former member of the acclaimed KumHo/Asiana String Quartet of Korea, with whom she performed worldwide.
Lee has recorded two CDs with pianist/husband Brian Suits, "Salut d'Amour" with pianist HaeSun Paik on EMI, several recordings with the KumHo/Asiana String Quartet, "Spanish Heart," with German pianist Peter Schindler and guitarist Sung-Ho Chang on Good International, and a CD in trio with Suits and soprano Jennifer Aylmer. Her latest album, with cellist Tilmann Wick, was released in January of 2004 on Audite Records (www.audite.de).
Lee received her Bachelor’s Degree from Seoul National University, and her Master’s Degree and Artist’s Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory. She also attended the Juilliard School in the professional studies program. Her teachers have included Nam Yun Kim, Sylvia Rosenberg, Robert Mann, Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang. Kyung Sun Lee plays a Joseph Guarnerius violin made in 1723.
Words of praise for Kyung Sun Lee:
“The violinist Kyung Sun Lee…produced disbelieving amazement and enthusiasm with her performance. Masterful vibrato, aggressively placed bowings, a violin with a perfectly modulated continuum from the highest to the lowest tones; the elegantly executed technical finesse ensured spontaneous bravos..... Kyung Sun Lee dazzled the audience with her magical intonation, flawless all the way to the uppermost notes.”
“Violinist Kyung Sun Lee made Prokofiev’s Sonata in F minor the highlight of her recital in Merkin Hall (4 March 2000) with pianist Brian Suits. Their sensitive account had exceptional tonal suavity and expressive intensity in equal measure. The incisiveness and technical security that I have admired before in Lee’s playing were also on display in Ravel’s Tzigane, Schumann’s Sonata in A minor and Hindemith’s Solo Sonata op. 31 no. 1.”
“Lee’s violin work spoke for her. The opening piece, Pablo de Sarasate’s Introduction and Tarantella, highlighted the resonant warmth of her violin, her fluidity and her grace. Lee also brought pathos and emotion to a stunning performance of the Ravel piece.
—The Palm Beach Post
“Distinction abounded in violinist Kyung Sun Lee’s masterly account of Vieuxtemps’s Concerto no. 5, performed with the Jupiter Symphony and conductor Jens Nygaard (20 Sept, 1999). Lee’s performance of Godard’s Concerto Romantique op. 35 with the same forces two years ago had been impressive in its technical assurance and stylistic awareness, but in the Vieuxtemps, a concerto that is often performed more dutifully than brilliantly, she gave evidence of significant artistic growth. Beyond superb execution, she conveyed the work’s particular Romanticism expertly. Hearing her rendition of the Fifth made me want to hear her play the Fourth.”
“Kyung Sun Lee is an excellent violinist. Her technique is so secure and relaxed that one forgets about it, with fine intonation and facility; her approach to the music is serious, involved, and respectful of the composer; her stage presence is natural, restrained and dignified.
The Prokofiev Sonata was played extremely well, with genuine personal expressiveness and total identification with its moods, from the brooding somberness of the first movement to the impetuosity of the Finale. The second movement was strong and assertive without getting rough, the third sang with sweet, serene lyricism.
...for her encore, Ms. Lee chose another little-known piece: Joseph Achron’s ‘Hebrew Melody.’ Her deeply felt projection of its mournful, idiomatic lamentations was one of the emotional high points of the recital.”
—New York Concert Review
"Lee is the most musical, the most intelligent soloist to have played with the orchestra in quite a while."
"...the kinetic energy that constantly bubbled and threatened to erupt on to the stage put this performance well ahead of many of Lee’s more distinguished colleagues."
“Lee handled her beautifully resonant instrument with a finely honed expertise, an appealing mellow tonality and wonderful spirit.
—The Stuart News
"Lee possesses immaculate instrumentalism. Her playing is fluid as quicksilver, charged with electric energy....rich in sound and deeply felt. An interpretation of exceptional artistry."
"The solidity of Lee’s technique allowed her to sustain without fail an entirely poignant musicality, which held us enraptured throughout an Ysaÿe sonata absolutely remarkable for its depth and elegance."
—Le Soir (Brussels)
"The seriousness, the introspection, and the beauty of sound of a great violinist."
—La Presse (Montreal)
“Lee and Suits played with a penetrating clarity, a strong sense of style and a technical supremacy that conquered all difficulties with unruffled ease.”
—The Miami Herald
“Kyung Sun Lee and her pianist/husband provide one of the most penetrating debut CDs I have heard in a long time.”
“Nygaard also manages to garner the services of excellent soloists, and so he did for the concert under review. Godard’s ‘Concerto Romantique’ could not have had a more outstanding soloist than Kyung Sun Lee. She drew out big, vibrant, richly nuanced sounds and also, in addition to her complete technical brilliance, commanded the musical material with stylish elegance. I found her distinguished championship of this long-buried work worthy of comparison to what the late Nathan Milstein made of the Goldmark Concerto—it was that good!”
—New York Concert Review Inc.
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