Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Endowed Chair in String Instruction
Associate professor of practice
Violinist and violist Yura Lee is an associate professor of practice and the Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Endowed Chair in String Instruction at the USC Thornton School of Music. One of the most versatile artists in the world, she is one of the few musicians who has mastery of both violin and viola and actively performs both instruments equally. In her over two-decade-long career that has taken her all over the world, she has – both as a soloist and as a chamber musician – captivated audiences with music from baroque to modern.
Lee was the only first prize winner awarded across four categories at the 2013 ARD Competition in Germany. She has won top prizes for both violin and viola in numerous other competitions, including first prize and audience prize at the 2006 Leopold Mozart Competition (Germany), first prize at the 2010 UNISA International Competition (South Africa), first prize at the 2013 Yuri Bashmet International Competition (Russia), and top prizes in Indianapolis (USA), Hannover (Germany), Kreisler (Austria), and Paganini (Italy) Competitions.
At age 12, Lee became the youngest artist ever to receive the Debut Artist of the Year prize at the “Performance Today” awards given by National Public Radio. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Lee’s CD with Reinhard Goebel and the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, titled Mozart in Paris (Oehms Classics) received the prestigious Diapason d’Or Award in France.
Lee was nominated and represented by Carnegie Hall for its European Concert Hall Organization series. For this series, she gave recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Wigmore Hall (London), Symphony Hall (Birmingham, UK), Musikverein (Vienna), Mozarteum (Salzburg), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Stockholm Konserthus, Athens Concert Hall, and Cologne Philharmonie.
As a soloist, Lee has appeared with many major orchestras, including New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, to name a few. As a chamber musician, Lee regularly takes part in the Salzburg Festival, Verbier Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, Seattle Festival, Caramoor Festival, Kronberg Festival, Aspen Music Festival, among others. Lee is currently a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, and the Boston Chamber Music Society. In May 2022, she was named principal viola of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Lee studied at the Juilliard School (New York City), New England Conservatory (Boston), Salzburg Mozarteum (Austria), and Kronberg Academy (Germany). Her main teachers were Namyoon Kim, Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Thomas Riebl, Ana Chumachenko, and Nobuko Imai.
For violin, Lee plays a fine Giovanni Grancino violin kindly loaned to her through the Beares International Violin Society by her generous sponsors. For viola, she plays an instrument made in 2002 by Douglas Cox, who resides in Vermont.
Lee divides her time between Los Angeles, California and Portland, Oregon.