Yesterday, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra announced that Yura Lee will be its new Principal Viola effective at the start of the 2022/2023 season this October. The dual resident of Los Angeles and Portland is a lauded soloist and chamber musician on both violin and viola. She is also on the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music. The full press release is below. Congratulations to Ms. Lee and the orchestra!
She takes over the job from Erik Rynearson. The French-American violist and Los Angeles native, easily recognizable for his artsy moustache, was one of Music Director Jaime Martin’s first hires when he was named to the post in December 2018. He had been on LACO’s roster as recently as fall of last year, but was no longer there as of January of this year. He remains principal of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, and has been a regular substitute musician with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
- Jaime Martin and LA Chamber Orchestra dazzle and inspire in their two-concert return (July 3, 2021)
- How and why Jaime Martin became LA Chamber Orchestra’s next Music Director: an in-depth look behind the scenes (September 27, 2021)
YURA LEE NAMED PRINCIPAL VIOLA OF
LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
(Los Angeles, CA, May 19, 2022) Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), one of the nation’s premier orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions, has appointed Yura Lee Principal Viola, announced Music Director Jaime Martín and Executive Director Ben Cadwallader. Lee, who divides her time between Los Angeles and Portland, begins her new post in the 2022-23 season, which launches on October 15, 2022 with Martín conducting the world premiere of Shelley Washington’s Both, a LACO Sound Investment-commission, and concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, “Choral.”
“The depth, breadth, versatility and sensitivity of Yura Lee’s artistry, the purity of her tone, her collaborative spirit, and exceptional leadership will contribute greatly to the Orchestra’s distinctive sound and character,” says Martín. “LACO’s artists are celebrated for their musical virtuosity and individuality, qualities Yura notably embodies as well.”
“With the appointment of Yura Lee, Jaime Martín continues to build upon LACO’s reputation for attracting to its ranks preeminent world-class musicians who collaboratively shape its power, precision and charisma,” adds Cadwallader.
Lee is a sought-after soloist and chamber artist on both violin and viola. At age 12, she was the youngest artist ever to receive the Debut Artist of the Year prize at NPR’s “Performance Today” awards. She has since won top prizes at competitions on three continents and received one of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grants. Today, she frequently appears as a soloist and chamber musician with major organizations across the USA and beyond, and is currently a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Boston Chamber Music Society. A renowned pedagogue as well, she teaches at USC’s Thornton School of Music.
As a soloist, Yura Lee has appeared 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 Tokyo Philharmonic, to name a few. She has performed with conductors Christophe Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Myung-Whun Chung, and Mikhail Pletnev, among many others.
As a chamber musician, Lee regularly takes part in the Marlboro Festival, Salzburg Festival, Verbier Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, Caramoor Festival, Kronberg Festival, and Aspen Music Festival, among others. She has collaborated with such artists as Gidon Kremer, Andras Schiff, Leonidas Kavakos, Mitsuko Uchida, Miklós Perényi, Yuri Bashmet, Menahem Pressler, and Frans Helmerson.
Lee studied at the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Salzburg Mozarteum, and Germany’s Kronberg Academy. Her primary 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.
ABOUT LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra ranks among the world’s top musical ensembles. Beloved by audiences and praised by critics, the Orchestra is a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and, with eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, a champion of contemporary composers. Headquartered in the heart of the country’s cultural capital, LACO has been proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” (Public Radio International), “LA’s most unintimidating chamber music experience” (Los Angeles magazine), “resplendent” (Los Angeles Times), and “one of the world’s great chamber orchestras”(KUSC Classical FM). Performing throughout greater Los Angeles, the Orchestra has made 32 recordings, including, most recently, a 2019 BIS Records release of works for violin and chamber orchestra that features Concertmaster Margaret Batjer and the world premiere recording of Pierre Jalbert’s Violin Concerto (a LACO co-commission). In 2020, due to the global pandemic, LACO pivoted from presenting live performances to producing the groundbreaking CLOSE QUARTERS interdisciplinary digital series melding musical and visual arts, which has garnered more than 1.8 million views across social media platforms since its debut in November 2020. The “digitally native” programs, created specifically for streaming and applauded as “musically and artistically compelling” (Los Angeles Times) have “redefined how classical music can be presented in the 21st century (Cultural Attaché). LACO, with offices located in downtown Los Angeles, has toured Europe, South America and Japan, and performed across North America. www.laco.org.
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- Yura Lee: photos by Giorgia Bertazzi courtesy of the artist’s website
- Erik Rynearson: photo courtesy of Fiato Quartet