Christel Lee first Korean to win Sibelius violin competition

December 7, 2015
Christel Lee (Dorothee Falke)

Christel Lee (Dorothee Falke)

Christel Lee, 25, won the 11th International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in Helsinki Thursday.

The competition, founded in 1965, is held every five years and saw 234 participants from 29 countries this year.

Lee received a prize of $28,000 and will perform on a series of high-profile stages, including the Jean Sibelius 150th Anniversary Concert in Hameenlinna alongside the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra Tuesday and with the Helsinki Philharmonic in Birmingham and Dublin on Dec. 10 and 12.

The second-generation Korean, who was born in Indiana and raised in Canada, studied at Juilliard School and is now at the Hochschule fur Musik and Theater Munchen.

Lee was the second-place winner of the ARD Music Competition in Munich in 2013.

Kyung Wha Chung, the world-famous violinist who taught Lee at Juilliard, said she was elated to hear of Lee’s win. Lee first met Chung when she was 13 years old.

“Christel has a deep passion for music that she pours into practice,” Chung said. “As her teacher, I’m proud of her for taking another step forward toward becoming a celebrated musician.”

Lee is the first musician of Korean descent to win at Sibelius.