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EXPLOREPerforming Arts

Cellist Sang Eun Lee Wows Washington for K-Classical at Korean Ambassador’s Residence  image

Cellist Sang Eun Lee Wows Washington for K-Classical at Korean Ambassador’s Residence

In the elegant, spacious halls of the Korean Ambassador’s residence in Northwest Washington DC, two of Korean classical music’s rising stars gave a performance to heat up the city that is the center of world politics for the embassy’s inaugural K-Classical concert on September 7.


“That was so passionate and the stage was incredible,” said one guest following the performance, which was hosted by the embassy’s Korean Cultural Center and featured cellist Sang Eun Lee and pianist Grace Cho. More than 120 guests gathered, spanning the realms of business, government, culture, and media.


In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Y.J. Choi said that music has the unique power to connect all people, and spoke of the dramatic rise in prominence of Korean classical musicians in just the past decade.


Jerome Barry, artistic director of the Embassy Series, noted that the concert, the first of its kind at the Ambassador’s residence, was the perfect opportunity to determine the status of Korean classical music. It was excellent, he said, remarking that he could hardly believe the maturity of the music for a performer not yet 20 years old.


Sang Eun Lee is currently a senior at the Korea National University of Arts studying under world-class cellist and professor Myung-hwa Chung. Lee had already won various international competitions by age 18.


In 2009 and 2010, Lee won the Johansen International Competition and DC-based Korean Concert Society's Kennedy Center debut recital, respectively. She was ranked first in the audition of the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation in 2010, and is supported by the 1,600 year old Giovanni Paolo Matthew scholarship.


Pianist Grace Cho has steadily built a versatile career covering solo, chamber, and instrumental performance, as well as vocal and choral accompaniment, instrumental and vocal coaching, and conducting. She is currently Executive Director and Pianist of the New Orchestra of Washington and Piano faculty and Associate Chair of the Piano Department at the Levine School of Music.


The Korean Cultural Center Washington DC plans continue the K-Classical series, which aims to highlight Korea’s aspiring classical musicians for diverse new audiences in Washington DC.