Hyunju Lee, Violin

The New York Philharmonic

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Hyunju Lee

Violinist Hyunju Lee joined the New York Philharmonic in June 2009. She received a diploma from The Curtis Institute of Music, a bachelor of music degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), and a graduate diploma from The Juilliard School.    The Seoul, Korea, native began playing the violin at age five and made a successful solo debut at 12 with the Seoul Philharmonic, subsequently appearing as soloist with the Korean Symphony, Seoul Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Curtis Chamber Orchestra, and the CIM Orchestra in Cleveland. She received numerous prizes in Korea, in addition to winning the CIM Concerto Competition and second prize in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition.

Ms. Lee has participated in the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, and Sarasota and Tanglewood Music Festivals. While at Tanglewood she performed as concertmaster of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. She has also served as a substitute player with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Her primary teachers have included Arnold Steinhardt, Victor Danchenko, William Preucil, David Cerone, and Robert Mann.

“I loved the Mozart violin concertos — they're so refreshing and simple, but really hard to play.”

Q&A with Hyunju Lee

THE FACTS: Born in Seoul, South Korea. Diploma, the Curtis Institute of Music; bachelor’s degree, the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM); graduate diploma, The Juilliard School. Prior to the Philharmonic: debut at age 12 with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra; soloist with the Korean Symphony, Seoul Metropolitan Youth, Curtis Chamber, and CIM orchestras. Substitute player with the Boston Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestras. Studied with Arnold Steinhardt, Victor Danchenko, William Preucil, David Cerone, and Robert Mann. At the Philharmonic: Joined June 2009.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORIES: I remember listening to a lot of recordings by the violinist Kyung-Wha Chung in South Korea when I was eight. They were unbelievable! I had started learning the piano at age five but hated it, and began playing the violin at eight. I liked it right away. My mother was a cellist and she chose it for me — she wanted to have a trio with me and my brother. But it never happened — my brother hated the piano, too!

FIRST PIECE OF MUSIC YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH: I loved the Mozart violin concertos — they’re so refreshing and simple, but really hard to play. I especially love the first and fourth concertos.

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? My mother. When I was young I had a principal teacher, but my mother was my coach and mentor. She knows me and she knows my playing.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? You get to enjoy music. I love what I’m doing. I appreciate every composer, and in an orchestra I can appreciate other instruments, too. It inspires me.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN? Some kind of designer: I love fashion.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: After about my third month, we had a concert with Riccardo Muti. The selections from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet made an indelible impression on me. He completely reigned over the Orchestra with his distinguished charm and charisma. I rarely get goosebumps but it definitely happened that night.

WHAT ARE YOU ESPECIALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SEASON? I’m especially excited about the Europe tour in the spring. I’m very thrilled about visiting new cities, such as Antwerp and Copenhagen.

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? I rely on Romans 8:28 when life gives me a challenge: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE DOING OUTSIDE OF WORK? Cooking, going to museums, and shopping!

As of November 2016

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