Moonkyung Lee, violinist

Who or what inspired you to take up the violin and make it your career?

I was five when I saw a violin for the first time. I was naturally drawn to it, and it became a part of me from that moment.

Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My first violin teacher whom I met when I was 12. Before that, I didn’t really have teachers as I was just playing the violin for fun. After meeting him, I became serious about the instrument, and he actually made me realise that I, perhaps, could be good at this! He passed away about 20 years ago, but the memory of him is still held in my heart every moment.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Leaving my 13-month-old son back home to make a recording with the London Symphony Orchestra in London. I used to love traveling all over the world for performances before, but since my son was born, I want to stay with him as much as possible.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of? 

I am definitely very proud of my Tchaikovsky recording with the LSO. I feel so privileged to have worked with such a great group of musicians.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

I love playing works by Prokofiev for the simplicity and humour; the very characters that could possibly define me.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

It really depends on the orchestras that I play with or the concert halls I play in, as they often ask me for specific repertoire. For recitals, I try to balance it between the pieces that I want to play and the pieces that the audience wants to hear.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

I am fortunate enough to have performed in many great concert halls across the world, and it’s very difficult to pick one. But if I had to, it would have to be the Seoul Arts Centre Concert Hall, as I feel most comfortable there.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

Mozart, always. Especially his chamber music in the morning, it is so delightful to wake up to it and it makes a great start to my day.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Kreisler and Szigeti for very different reasons. I admire Kreisler for playing with such ease and grace, and Szigeti for his penetrating sound and insight.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

It would have to be the nationwide tour in 2015. The experience of playing solo every other day really taught me how performing could be so naturally part of my life like eating and sleeping.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Always think of the music first. If you really sing it, you don’t even have to think or worry about other things; they will come very naturally by themselves.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

My child is such a blessing. His very existence makes at least two people (me and my husband) the happiest people in the world.

What is your most treasured possession?

The sheet music and scores that I studied for the last 30 years.

Moonkyung Lee’s new recording Tchaikovsky – Works for Violin and Orchestra is released on 10th February 2017 on PARMA Recordings / Navona Records.  It was recorded at The Angel Studios in London with the London Symphony Orchestra, Croatian conductor Miran Vaupotić and double-Grammy winning sound engineer Steve Price.

Concert violinist Moonkyung Lee performs extensively in Europe, the United States, and Korea and has collaborated with many eminent ensembles, conductors, and performers. Some highlights include: the Cordoba Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Maxim Shostakovich; the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Mischa Maisky, cello, with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra; and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the Birth of the Austrian composer Ignaz Pleyel. Ms. Lee has also appeared as a soloist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, New York University Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Europaea, Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra, North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Hradec Kralove Philharmonic Orchestra, Eurorchestra da Camera di Bari, Carlsbad Symphony Orchestra, Russia Ulan-Ude Opera and Ballet Theater Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Yongin Philharmonic Orchestra, Euro-Asian Philharmonic Orchestra, Korea Symphony Orchestra, the Mostly Philharmonic Orchestra, and Seoul Pops Orchestra. The venues in which Ms. Lee has performed include: the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Großer Musikvereinssaal in Vienna, Dvorak and Smetana Halls in Prague, and the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall.

More about Moonkyung Lee


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