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A South Korea-born, USA-based pianist Kowoon Lee made her debut as a concerto soloist at the age of 16 with the Chungnam Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Lee has since performed internationally, including the United States, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Italy, and the Czech Republic, with many orchestras and ensembles, including the Seoul National University Orchestra, the Romanian Banatul Timișoara Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sookmyung Festival Orchestra, the Janacek Concert Chamber Orchestra, the UMKC Conservatory Orchestra, and the Kansas City Ballet.. She has served as an adjudicator at the Indonesia International Young Musician Award, the Marie Guengerich Festival, the Hong Kong International Music Talent Online Competition, and others.

Dr. Lee specializes in music by women composers. Her doctoral research project involved piano music written by women composers, and included original research "Beethoven's Musical Influence on the Solo Piano Music of Juri Seo" and a recording of piano etudes by living women composers (Karen Tanaka, Vera Ivanova, and Gabriela Ortiz). Her lecture-recitals include “21st Century Music for Solo Piano by Living East Asian Women Composers,” “Finding Their Own Voices: Piano Etudes by Women Composers in the 21st Century,” “Visual and Aural Connections: Character Pieces for Trumpet and Piano by Living Women Composers,” “Homeland: Celebrating Women’s Voices and Heritages Throughout 21st Century Music for Flute and Piano,” and “ARARI: The Most Korean-esque Folk Song” at the College Music Society Conferences, Women Composers Festival of Hartford, Women in Music Festival, the International Alliance for Women in Music, SHE Festival: Women in Music, International Women’s Brass Conference, Asian Classical Music Initiative, Korean Composers Festival in the United States, and the World Piano Conference in Serbia.


As a champion of new music. Dr. Lee has been working with many renowned living composers, such as Chen Yi, Gabriela Ortiz, James Mobberley, Juri Seo, Vera Ivanova, Karen Tanaka, and Eunhye Kim, to name a few. She commissioned and premiered several works for solo piano and chamber music, including “It’s in the Simple Things” for flute and piano by Hannah E. Adhikari at the 2023 Music by Women Festival, selections from The Voice Imitator for solo piano by Yotam Haber at the 2022 Missouri Music Teachers Association State Conference, and “aɪ Kænt Spiːk for Violin, Cello, and Piano” by Aubrie Powell at the 2017 national conference of the Society of Composers, Inc.

Along with her active solo performances, Dr. Lee has devoted herself to collaborate with many musicians since 2005 that her piano trio performed at the grand opening ceremony for Dangjin Arts Center in South Korea. She won the second prize with “Chi bedda vuci avia II” for clarinet, piano, soprano, and cello by Christina Butera at the 2016 UMKC Musica Nova Chamber Music. Dr. Lee was a founding committee member of the Puerto Rico Center for Collaborative Piano. Recently, she cofounded KC Piano Duo with pianist Dr. Po Sim (Fanny) Head, and they share their interests in exploring diverse and lesser-known repertoires written for four hands. KC Piano Duo launched their performances for the community through Kansas Public Radio (KPR), Kansas City Public Library, and Happy Hour Music Series sponsored by Upcycle Piano, and others.

Dr. Lee earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance (with a Graduate Teaching Assistantship) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with Dr. Thomas Rosenkranz and Dr. Robert Weirich. She studied at Indiana University (with an Associate Instructorship) for her Master of Music and Performer’s Diploma with Dr. Karen Shaw. Before studying in the United States, she finished her Bachelor of Music from Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea with Dr. Hyesoo Jeon, and graduated from the Chungnam Arts High School with Jinyi Yang. She previously taught at Washburn University, Cottey College, and Interlochen Arts Camp. Dr. Lee teaches at Tennessee State University as a full-time Instructor of Music-Piano.

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