Clara J. Lee is a recent winner of the Canada Council’s Musical Instrument Bank Competition where has been given use of the 1768 Antonio Gragnani violin. She has been praised by the South Florida Classical Review for her “gorgeous intonation and phrasing” and “the crystal purity of her tone and flawless execution of fearfully difficult effects”.
Ms. Lee made her debut at the age of 11 performing with the Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra. Since then, she has been touring and performing across North America and Asia as a soloist, chamber musician and concertmaster, where she has been broadcasted on WQXR, OMNI TV and other stations. Her performances in North America have brought her to a number of renowned halls including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Suntory Hall, New World Center, the Glenn Gould Studio and many more.
Ms. Lee has won First prize at the Canadian Music Competition in all ages and instrument categories and 1st Prize in the Juilliard Pre-College Violin competition in New York City among other competitions in the United States. Ms. Lee was a soloist with the New World Symphony in Miami with conductor Tito Munoz upon winning the Concerto Competition where she was given a 1734 Antonio Stradivarius violin as part of the prize.
As a dedicated teacher in both piano and violin, Ms. Lee’s students have won competitions at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory division as well as winning auditions for the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Ms. Lee has worked with world-acclaimed artists such as Anne-Marie McDermott, Measha Brueggergosman, Pamela Frank, Hilary Hahn, Ani Kavafian, Fred Sherry, members of the Juilliard Quartet, Emerson Quartet, Takacs Quartet, Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic. In January 2013, Ms. Lee performed in honour of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Elliott Carter’s memorial concert at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York City alongside acclaimed pianist Ursula Oppens which was broadcasted live across the United States. Ms. Lee’s love for all music including pop and jazz has led to collaborations with Storm Large from Pink Martini, Italian pop opera trio, “Il Volo”, as well as performing alongside classical cross-over soprano superstar, Jackie Evancho, The Priests, The Airborne Toxic Event, and the Matt Herskowitz Jazz trio. She has also recorded for the band Avan Lava and on movie soundtracks for film composer Michael Bacon, brother of movie star Kevin Bacon.
Ms. Lee is currently a tenured member of the Canadian Opera Company as well as orchestral engagements with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet of Canada, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony and served concertmaster with the New World Symphony in Miami.
Ms. Lee was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Juilliard School where she studied with renowned teachers and violinists Joel Smirnoff, Donald Weilerstein, Ron Copes, and Kyung-Wha Chung. Ms. Lee was also a member of the New World Symphony in Miami, the most prestigious fellowship in America under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony.