2015/03 3ȣ Music Journal March interview
Date : 2015-03-19 17:38  |  Hit : 711  

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Ms. Lee was featured in an interview in "MUSIC JOURNAL" - the best Korean Classical Music Magazine.


 "Lyrical musical performance with her was like a beautiful dance between piano and cello" - Brian Crain (pianist)

"Very clean and sophisticated playing music." - Lynn Harrell (cello)

" It's impossible to know the technical limits of Ms. Lee's strongly captivating performance of Prokofiev Symphonie Concertante." - Das Orchester (German's famous classical music magazine)

All are admiration towards Ms. YuJeong Lee's cello performance.
She was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire National Superieur at age 15, graduated from Juilliard School's post-graduate program.  Just like this gorgeous profile reflects her sound, I myself as a reporter, have fallen into the delicately attractive and gorgeous, deep cello sound as I listened to Ms. Lee's Prokofiev recording prior to the interview.  In contrast to her powerful sound, Ms. Lee showed a humble, friendly smile all throughout the interview.  Let's hear about her musical journey story.

Q) How did you first start playing the cello?
A) Well, my mother started playing the cello after graduating from college. And then she had a teaching studio where she taught for 30 years. One day when I was 9, she brought a cello home I started and liked it more than the piano or the violin.

Q) I understand you've won some major prizes in Korea such as Ewha Competition 1st prize, Korean Times (Hankuk Ilbo) Competition 1st prize, JoongAng Ilbo Competition 2nd prize,Dong-Ah Ilbo 2nd prize, Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians Finalist & Special Prize; and that you've not only attended Sunwha Arts School, Seoul Yego High School, Korea National University of Arts (KNUA), but that you've studied abroad in Paris and New York.  Were there any difficulties of having to practice and study in your teenage years?

A) I was abroad for about 10 years total.  Because timing and environment was quite right for me at that time, it felt rather natural to me (when I was abroad), and since I still did spend some years at Sunwha Arts School, Seoul Yego and KNUA, I have alot of memories in Korea also.  Because of my rather outgoing personality I had a good time with many friends of different professions and careers.  Things that were a challenge to me as a foreign student living on my own were daily things like eating well or dealing with occasional extremely rough weather carrying my heavy cello in and out of cabs or airplanes.

Q) What were some of your memorable concert experiences abroad?

A) In New York, some of the small concert venues were very beautiful. Sometimes I miss them.  I remember especially the concert venue at the Harvard Club of New York City that had a very interesting and gorgeous interior.

Q) In 2007, you had entered Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo as the first Korean to be admitted, and got alot of attention from the press; what was that experience like?

A) The way how I got to do the audition was a coincidence.  I took some vacation from work in Korea at that time and travelled to Europe, and when I visited my former school, Paris Conservatoire, there was an announcement of the audition of the Orchestra.  Coincidently, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo was in Paris to perform so I went and saw the concert.  I saw that some of my former school classmates were in the orchestra and I was in awe of the quality of the orchestra's sound.  Since I was travelling, I didn't have an instrument to play on. So I borrowed a cello and that became my current instrument.  It was good fate. While I was in the orchestra for one year, I really enjoyed fully performing and touring. 

Q) You've been back in Korea since about 10 years.  Could you tell us about your career experiences and activities since?
Ever since I got back in Korea, thankfully I was given many good opportunities to perform with orchestra. Seoul Philharmonic, Kangnam Symphony, Daegu Philharmonic, Wonju Philharmonic, just to name a few, and most recently with Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.  I would like to thank Mr. Rho Seong-Won at BRAUM Management for his support.

A) You seem to have passion for teaching as you even run your own blog "Cello Class (blog,naver.com/celloclass)".  I'm interested in that you teach not only majoring cello students, but non-majoring students also.  Please introduce us.
Q) I realize it's my time to care and commit more to cello education.  It's only natural that I got a good influence from my mother who taught cello for many years.  When I teach majoring students, it's gratifying to witness the students growing up and strengthening their cello weaknesses and qualities.  I try to pay attention to the development of musicality and technic carefully because Korean system tends to demand repertoire that is too difficult for certain ages and levels.
A) When I teach non-majoring students, it's also gratifying to witness a different experience.  We play music because we want to be happier and non-majoring students bring pure passion for music.  I also receive good positive energy from them.

Q) What kind of performer would you like to be in the future?

A) In the long run, to be a performer who you want to come listen to again, to heal them when they're listening. 
Follow up on her performances and activities as she has them lined up for year 2015 and so on.
Photo credit: YuJeong Lee's website yujeong.net

Reporter: Jung-Min Kim