Pianist Hee-Seung Lee is praised for her exceptional musicality and sophisticated sound she creates on the keyboard.
Her beautiful tones on keyboards and understanding of styles complete her in-depth performance on the stage. Born in South Korea, Dr. Hee-Seung Lee appears internationally as a soloist and a collaborative artist.
Began piano studies at five, Dr. Lee has made her Civic Center debut at the age of six and attended Sun Hwa Arts Middle School and Seoul Arts High School in Korea. First appeared in the United States by winning the Southwestern Youth Music Festival Young Recitalist Competition in 2001, Dr. Lee has been accepted to the Aube Tzerko Piano Academy of New Roads School in Santa Monica with a full scholarship and named as the Sony Scholar. After receiving extensive music education at New Roads School and Crossroads School for Arts and Science, Dr. Lee entered Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with Dean's Talent Award full Scholarship. Dr. Lee has won top prizes in numerous competitions in Korea and USA, such as the Eum Hyup Competition, Kookmin-ilbo Competition, Redlands Bowl Young Artist Competition, Palisades Symphony Young Artist Competition, Music Teacher's Association of California State Piano Concerto Competition, Robert Turner Piano Competition and Glendale Piano Competition among many others. Her chamber performances of works by Mendelssohn and Smetana at the Sundays Live Concert in Los Angeles County Museum of Art Bing Theatre were heard live over the radio while her solo performance in Redlands Bowl aired on the cable TV in 2002 and 2004. Has appeared as a soloist with Palisades Symphony, Los Angeles Doctors Symphony and Crossroads Symphony, Dr. Lee is regularly presenting recitals and performances every year. Dr. Lee also contributes as a performing artist at non-profit organization events and benefit concerts such as the Homeless Ministry, Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration, Red Cross Fundraising Concerts and the Benefit Concerts presented by the Pasadena Human Relations Commission.
In 2013, as a guest artist, Dr. Lee has presented a piano solo and duo concert with pianist Oliver Salonga at the National Arts Center for the Philippines High School for the Arts, which is the only arts high school in the nation that is sponsored by the government, and at the University of the Philippines College of Music, the top university in the nation. Her another duo performance was heard in IBK Chamber Hall, Seoul Arts Center in the same year. Dr. Lee and Dr. Salonga thrilled the audience once again by giving another piano solo and duo concert at Manila Piano Gallery in the Philippines and at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Pasadena, USA in 2014. In 2015, Dr. Lee continued presenting piano recitals at the venues such as Steinway Piano Gallery in Pasadena, Los Angeles City College, Santa Monica College Emeritus College, and at University of Southern California.
Having premiered several works by renowned composers, Dr. Lee did a world premiere of Fibonacci Sonata (2005;rev.2014) by Donald Wilson in 2014, a west coast premiere and Asia premiere of "Ringing Tones" (2007) by Don Freund in 2013, a west coast premiere of "Shalom" for flute and piano (2010) by Elliott Bark in 2014, and America premiere of Choral Fantasy-"Alleluia" (2010) by Shinuh Lee in 2014. In 2016, Dr. Lee has been featured in USC Polish Music Center's concert "A Tribute to Roman Ryterband" for the world premiere of Polish composer Roman Ryterband's Double Flute Quintet (1961) in Newman Recital Hall, University of Southern California.
Received Bachelor of Music (BM) from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Master of Music (MM) and Performer Diploma from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Dr. Lee currently holds Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Piano Performance from University of Southern California Thornton School of Music under Merit scholarship. Dr. Lee has previously served as an Associate Instructor of Piano at Indiana University and a staff accompanist at Indiana University String Academy. Dr. Lee has received Korean Honor Scholarship Award from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and Piano Faculty Prize in Accompanying from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2008, and was elected to Pi Kappa Lambda by Eta Chapter of the National Music Honor Society in 2015.
Dr. Lee is currently a pianist of Ensemble Christo - Los Angeles, the Ensemble-in-residence at Biola University, presenting works by living Christian composers, a keyboardist-pianist, harpsichordist, and organist- of Los Angeles Chamber Choir, and serving as the Research and Teaching Assistant and the Assistant Director to Dr. Adam Gilbert who is the director of Early Music Programs at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. In 2016, Ms. Lee was selected to be the pianist for the Los Angeles Korean-American Musicians Association (LAKMA). Dr. Lee is currently a faculty member at Vienna Music Institute (VMI) and Institute of Arts, Music and Science (IAMS). Was the Chairperson of the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) Lakewood-Cerritos Branch Sonata-Sonatina Festival Competition for the year of 2015-2016, She is currently the Artistic Director of The Young Muse International Competition and The Joong-Ang Youth Music Festival (JAYMF) Competition. Active member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT), Music Teachers' Association of California (MTAC), Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF), and College Music Society (CMS), Dr. Lee has been elected to join the board member of MTAC as the Vice-President of the Lakewood-Cerritos Branch in 2017 as well as the chairperson of the MTAC Lakewood-Cerritos Winter Solo Festival Competition. As an educator, Dr. Lee enjoys working with young promising musicians. She strives to be a teacher who recognizes one's musical talent, develops it, and lets one flawlessly use it and enjoy music making.
Dr. Lee is a pupil of world-renowned pianists Angela Cheng, Arnaldo Cohen, Jean-Louis Haguenauer, Yin Yin Huang, and Daniel Pollack, the winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, as well as the two renowned harpsichordists Elisabeth Wright and Lucinda Carver. She has also received a musical influence from pianist Yoheved Kaplinsky and John Perry and the Grammy-nominated harpsichordist Corey Jamason and the renowned harpsichordist Peter Sykes from the Juilliard School through summer music festivals such as Aspen Music Festival, Banff International Master Class, San Francisco International Music Festival, Las Vegas Music Festival, American Bach Soloists Festival and Academy, and San Francisco Early Music Society Baroque Workshop.
Minored in Music Education, Music Theory, and Harpsichord Performance at University of Southern California, Dr. Lee is active not only as a pianist, but also as a harpsichordist.
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Dr. Lee's interest in early music begun in Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where she received Organ lessons and Fortepiano lessons through courses. She fell in love with the style, mood, and the expressiveness of the period instruments and was deeply inspired by its exceptional beauty through studies with the renowned harpsichordist Elisabeth Wright at Indiana University. She began exploring the beauty and the charm of the 16th and 17th century music more in depth through harpsichord lessons with an acclaimed pianist and harpsichordist Lucinda Carver at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. She has also received a significant musical influence from international lutenist, Nigel North, and the two renowned performers of recorder and historical double reeds and musicologist, Rotem and Adam Knight Gilbert.
Today, Dr. Lee appears frequently on the stage not only as a pianist, but also a harpsichordist.
Dr. Lee has first appeared internationally with Camerata Barocca Claudio Monteverdi from Italy under Maestro Stefano Vignati at Soka Performing Arts Center, playing Vivaldi Four Seasons and Corelli Concerto Grossi in two concerts of Italian Opera Festival in 2013. In the following year, Dr. Lee gave her first Harpsichord Solo Recital in success at Jeannett MacDonald Recital Hall and joined the USC early music ensemble Baroque Sinfonia directed by Adam Knight Gilbert. In the Summer of 2015, she joined the American Bach Soloists Festival and Academy, where she had a chance to work with Grammy-nominated harpsichordist Corey Jamason, renowned baroque violinists Robert Mealy and Elizabeth Blumenstock. The American Bach Soloists Academy Orchestra where she was a harpsichordist premiered the complete set of Marin Marais' Opera Sémélé under the baton of Maestro Jeffrey Thomas in two sold-out concerts at the Concert Hall of San Francisco Conservatory of Music. It was a historical event as the complete opera was performed for the first time outside the Europe; marked in history. Her chamber group performance at the Festival received a compliment and commented as a "memorable performance" by the San Francisco Critique. Dr. Lee has performed in harpsichord masterclass for Corey Jamason and Jory Vinikour, the winner of International Harpsichord Competitions of Warsaw. In 2016, Dr. Lee has participated the San Francisco Early Music Society's Baroque Workshop and received a significant influence through work with Peter Sykes form the Juilliard School. She has performed on the modern harpsichord beautifully rebuilt by Curtis Berak for the world premiere of Double Flute Quintet (1961) by Roman Ryterband at the USC Polish Music Center's Concert, recently held in Newman Recital Hall, University of Southern California. This has been marked as a historical event in Polish music society.
Dr. Lee is currently a harpsichordist, organist and the Assistant Director at USC Baroque Sinfonia-the USC Early Music Ensemble- assisting Dr. Adam Gilbert, the director of early music program, as Research and Teaching Assistant at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. She has also joined in Marlyn Winkle's reproduction of opera Francesca Caccini's La liberazione di Ruggiero as a harpsichordist and music director for 2015-2016 and performed Bach's St. John Passion with Los Angeles Chamber Choir in 2017. Dr. Lee is an active collaborator, continuo player, harpsichordist and organist for small and large early music ensembles.