First-prize winner of the 2015 International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in Helsinki, Canadian-American violinist Christel Lee became the first North American winner in its fifty-year history. She was subsequently invited in December 2015 to perform with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and chief conductor John Storgårds on the orchestra’s tour to Birmingham and Dublin in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sibelius. Her success in Helsinki has been preceded by numerous awards and distinctions, including the Second Prize and Audience Prize at the 2013 ARD International Competition in Munich.
As a soloist, Lee has appeared with orchestras such as the Finnish Radio Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Korean Symphony, KBS Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Aspen Sinfonia and the SWR-Stuttgart Radio Symphony. A multi-faceted artist, Lee is a passionate chamber musician, collaborating with leading artists of her generation. She is invited regularly to festivals across Europe and North America, among which include the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Mozartfest Würzburg and Kronberg Academy Festivals.
Highlights from her future engagements include solo appearances with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Korean Symphony, and Philharmonie Südwestfalen, as well as her festival debuts in Gstaad, the Cantabile Festival in Lisbon and Settimane Musicali Ascona in Locarno.
Of Korean heritage, Lee was born in Bloomington and began the violin at the age of five in Vancouver, Canada. She later relocated to New York City, attending the Professional Children's School and graduating from the Juilliard School in 2011. She concluded her studies at the Kronberg Academy and at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich under the tutelage of Ana Chumachenco. Her previous teachers have included Naoko Tanaka and Kyung Wha Chung.
Lee plays on a violin by Lorenzo Storioni from 1781, which has been kindly on loan to her from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben in Hamburg since 2015.