Chang Woo Lee
Associate Principal Cello
Music is all about beauty and love. But it didn’t start out that way for me. When I was a child growing up in South Korea there was no music in my family – and certainly no Western music. But my oldest brother worked in a violin shop and he got the idea that his little sister should play the cello. I did well and enjoyed the attention I received. So I kept at it, and the doors kept on opening before me.
When I was in high school I won Korea’s most prestigious music competition. Soon after, I played for Janos Starker, who was in Seoul on a concert tour. He offered me a full scholarship to Indiana University. At IU, I found myself for the first time in my life surrounded by young cellists who played much better than I did, so I was practicing five or more hours per day. Once I had to go the doctor because my thumb was infected & bleeding from too much playing!
After 32 years in the BSO, music making for me has come to be all about beauty and love. How did that happen? Perhaps it was raising my three wonderful children – or exposure to the eager musicians in the BSO Academy, the World Doctors Orchestra and in my private teaching. Or was it the conductors who would not be satisfied with a technically correct reading of the music? They demanded artistry. And the music touched my heart, again & again. That is what I want to share with others.
In another life, if I weren’t a musician, perhaps I would be an interior designer. I’m told I have an eye for beauty, and it’s so satisfying to transform a home with the right combination of light, color and space.
But I live in the house of music, and that is my home.