Yura Lee named principal violist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Violinist/violist Yura Lee. Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi.
“The depth, breadth, versatility and sensitivity of Yura Lee’s artistry, purity of tone, collaborative spirit and exceptional leadership will contribute greatly to the Orchestra’s distinctive sound and character,” said Martin. “LACO artists are celebrated for their musical virtuosity and individuality, qualities that Yura also embodies.”
Lee, who splits his time between Los Angeles and Portland, begins his new role in the 2022-23 season. The LACO Principal Viola Chair has been vacant since December 2021. The musician who previously served as LACO Principal Viola was Erik Rynearson.
Known for her artistry on the violin and viola, Lee has won top prizes in competitions on three continents and received one of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Avery Fisher Career Fellowships. Today, she performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician with major organizations across the United States and beyond, and is currently a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Boston Chamber Music Society. A renowned pedagogue as well, she teaches at USC’s Thornton School of Music. At age 12, she was the youngest artist to receive the Debut Artist of the Year award at NPR’s “Performance Today” awards.
As a soloist, Yura Lee has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Tokyo Philharmonic, among others.
Lee studied at the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Salzburg Mozarteum and Kronberg Academy in Germany. His main teachers were Namyun Kim, Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Thomas Riebl, Ana Chumachenko and Nobuko Imai. Lee plays a viola made in 2002 by Douglas Cox, who resides in Vermont.
By the way, Yura has also been a member of Violinist.com since 2006, and I’d say we’ve all been supporting her ever since. Congratulations Yura! I leave you with some beautiful and inspiring words that Yura wrote for the American Viola Society and recently posted on Facebook. She writes about “sculpting the sound.” :
“When we think about how our instrumental sound differs from our actual voice, one of the things that comes to mind is how we connect notes when we sing – but somehow other, it becomes less natural for us when we use a bow. We often now think of it as a “bottom up” or “left to right” object, but what if we gave ourselves the freedom to think about our arc in a more three-dimensional way? Which includes density, depth and resistance – not just directional? Another thing that I find interesting is our natural variation in sound INSIDE a note when we sing. I don’t I’m not talking about crescendo or decrescendo which is obvious to our ears, I’m talking more about the “human” aspect of sound, the little ebb and flow of our breathing and our movements – how can we best translate this to our bow i think it takes u both micro and macro approach. In a micro way, it’s about feeling how the different bow weights of different parts react in your hand/arm, and how that helps or hinders the music you’re playing. In a macro way, it’s about deciding the range of emotion and timbre for the piece, and seeing where the notes you play fit into that pattern. One of the first pieces that I really thought about on these aspects of musical creation was Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione. Enjoy the clip…!”
And here it is:
(Here is a full video of Yura playing this piece, from 2011)
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