Pianist Soyeon Kate Lee to perform for Town and Gown concert


Courtesy of Ames Town and Gown

Soyeon Kate Lee will be performing in the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall in Music Hall at 7:30 Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.

Devin Wilmott

Soyeon Kate Lee is not just any piano player but a pianist who has the ability to capture the attention of her audience and leave them wanting more.

As a young child, Lee would come home from kindergarten and play songs she heard in the classroom on her toy xylophone. She would play by ear, the notes coming to her as if they were second nature.

“[To me] music is the essence of life,” Lee said. “It is not to say that it is the most important thing in my life as I have so many things I love, but music teaches me about life through the lens of not only great works of art, but by struggling and working to become a better artist.  Music is an outlet through which every human being can meet, young or old, rich or poor, educated or not — it holds the power to ‘move’ the heart, for reasons sometimes we cannot understand, and can take you to places where it can be of the greatest inspiration, solace, joy and friend.”

Lee always had a connection with music, and that connection has brought her to win the highly prestigious Naumburg International Piano Competition in 2010. Besides being extremely gifted in her craft, Lee has a love for what she does. This love for music has brought her to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School in New York, and has lead her to perform internationally in various settings.

Lee has also been featured on the cover of SYMPHONY magazines “Emerging Artists” issue in 2006, and has received the Young Artist Award from the Classical Recording Foundation in 2009. A Naxos recording artist, her third album featuring Liszt opera transcriptions will be released in January 2014.

Lee serves as a faculty member at The City College of New York, and makes sure students know “that one cannot deny the discipline and hard work it takes to hone their art.” She shares that loving music is not enough to build a career, and in order to overcome and master one’s self, it takes hard work and dedication. 

Lee as well finds a great interest in playing for college campuses and says she finds them very inspirational for her attendees.

 “I think that college students are at a time in their lives where they can be inspired, excited and changed, and there is an energy about a learning environment which sharpens our senses and that excites me,” Lee said.

 The Ames Town and Gown Chamber Music Association presented its first concert to the public on Nov. 26, 1950, and has brought outstanding music to the Ames and academic community ever since. Six concerts are presented to Ames each season, all of which feature artists of international renown. Ames Town and Gown is very excited to present Lee’s solo piano performance to the Ames community. 

“I was interested in Ms. Lee because, as a winner of the prestigious Naumburg International Competition, she would be one of the most outstanding young pianists of her generation,” said Paula Forrest, artistic director of Ames town and Gown. 

 Ames Town and Gown enjoys presenting solo pianists to the Ames community. Forrest shared that solo piano recitals have always been popular among their audiences. In addition to hearing a rising star in the piano world, the audience will hear music of familiar composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Janacek and Scriabin.

“The music will range from deeply moving to technical virtuosity of the highest kind,” Forrest said.  

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall in Music Hall. Ames Town and Gown strives to introduce young people to the joys of fine music by providing free concert tickets to students of all ages. Concerts are free to all students with a valid student identification card. Tickets are $25 for nonstudents and will be sold at the door. 

Lee will also present a “master class,” in which she will work with three advanced piano students from Ames and Iowa State in “open lessons.” The master class is free and open to the public at 2 p.m. in Recital Hall on Sunday, Sept. 29.