Kristin Lee is a violinist of remarkable versatility and impeccable technique who enjoys a vibrant career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, and artistic director. “Her technique is flawless, and she has a sense of melodic shaping that reflects an artistic maturity,” writes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Strad reports, “She seems entirely comfortable with stylistic diversity, which is one criterion that separates the run-of-the-mill instrumentalists from true artists.”
As a soloist, Lee has appeared with leading orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Hawai’i Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Nordic Chamber Orchestra of Sweden, Ural Philharmonic of Russia, Korean Broadcasting Symphony, Guiyang Symphony Orchestra of China, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Dominican Republic, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, and many others.
She has performed on the world’s finest concert stages, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Steinway Hall’s Salon de Virtuosi, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Ravinia Festival, Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live, (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris, Washington, D.C.’s Phillips Collection, and Korea’s Kumho Art Gallery.
An accomplished chamber musician, Kristin Lee became a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center after winning The Bowers Program audition and completing the program's three-year residency. Kristin performs at Lincoln Center in New York and on tour with CMS throughout each season. For seven years, she was a principal artist of Camerata Pacifica in Santa Barbara, sitting as The Bernard Gondos Chair. Lee has also appeared in chamber music programs at Music@Menlo, La Jolla Festival, Medellín Festicámara of Colombia, Moab Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, Chamber Music Sedona, Music in the Vineyards, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern of Germany, the Hong Kong Chamber Music Festival and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, among many others.
In addition to her prolific performance career, Lee is also a devoted educator. She is on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as an Assistant Professor of Violin. She has also been in residence with the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, the El Sistema Chamber Music Festival of Venezuela, and is a summer faculty member at Music@Menlo’s Chamber Music Institute.
Kristin Lee will release her debut album, American Journey, with acclaimed pianist-composer Jeremy Jordan in the 2023-24 season. As a foreign-born citizen of America, she was compelled to create American Journey to express her pride in the country she now calls her own, showcasing works that have a distinct and recognizable sound of American music and its rich history. The album will include works by H.T. Burleigh, Kevin Puts, Amy Beach, Thelonious Monk, Scott Joplin, and George Gershwin. American Journey encapsulates both Kristin Lee's journey as an American, as well as the journeys of these composers in the United States.
Lee is the founding artistic director of Emerald City Music (ECM), a chamber music series that presents authentically unique concert experiences and bridges the divide between the highest caliber classical music and the many diverse communities of the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Since 2015, she has crafted unconventional and captivating programs that have led to Emerald City Music’s renown for its eclectic, intimate, and vibrant classical chamber music experiences. The series was recently deemed "the beacon for the casual-classical movement" (CityArts). Recent highlights for ECM include a national collaborative commission with Grammy-winning composer John Luther Adams; performances of Steve Reich’s iconic Music for 18 Musicians; a pitch-black performance of Georg Haas’s quartet, In the Dark; and the West Coast debut of the Danish folk group, Dreamers’ Circus.
An advocate for living composers, Kristin Lee has collaborated with many of today’s prominent composers, including Vivian Fung, Andy Akiho, Patrick Castillo, Jakub Ciupiński, Shobana Raghavan, Steve Coleman, Jeremy Jordan, and more. She made the world premiere recording of Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto, written for her, which won a Juno Award and is available on Naxos. Current projects include commissioning a new double concerto for violin, piano, and strings from pianist-composer Michael Stephen Brown. Of the new work, Brown says, "This work combines my love of intimate chamber music and the excitement of the concerto genre, exploring the totality of sonic possibilities with this combination of instruments.” Lee is also commissioning a new concerto for violin, saxophone, and spoken words from GRAMMY-award winning musician/producer/composer Anthony Tidd. Tidd’s concerto will incorporate the spontaneous and expressive nature of jazz, the groove and aesthetics which he learned as a hip-hop producer, and the compositional techniques, structures and orchestration skills he has learned by studying Western Classical music over the years. Of the new work, he says, “Kristin will not only execute any composition I write on the highest of levels, but also bring her own deep knowledge of music and the violin, her thirst for experimentation, her knowledge of classical repertoire, many welcome suggestions, and of course her passion, to any project.”
Kristin Lee’s honors include an Avery Fisher Career Grant, top prizes in the Walter W. Naumburg Competition and the Astral Artists National Auditions, and awards from the Trondheim Chamber Music Competition, Trio di Trieste Premio International Competition, the SYLFF Fellowship, Dorothy DeLay Scholarship, the Aspen Music Festival’s Violin Competition, the New Jersey Young Artists’ Competition, and the Salon de Virtuosi Scholarship Foundation. Her performances have been broadcast on PBS’s “Live from Lincoln Center,” the Kennedy Center Honors, WFMT Chicago’s “Rising Stars” series, WRTI in Philadelphia, and on WQXR in New York. She also appeared on Perlman in Shanghai, a nationally broadcast PBS documentary that chronicled a historic cross-cultural exchange between the Perlman Music Program and Shanghai Conservatory.
Born in Seoul, Lee moved to the United States and studied under prestigious teachers including Sonja Foster, Catherine Cho, Dorothy DeLay, Donald Weilerstein, and Itzhak Perlman. Lee holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Lee’s violin was crafted in Naples, Italy in 1759 by Gennaro Gagliano and is generously loaned to her by Paul & Linda Gridley.