Music Never Stops
Lee Jae-hyun, an Award-Winning Pianist of Four Competitions
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The experience of attending a piano concert can be truly unforgettable. The exhilarating moment, in which music seems to run inside the veins and pump the heart, invoke people to applaud heartily for the performers. The players live for the moment of ovation, the driving force of their arduous practice which blossoms into another great showcase that would move the emotions of the audience. This dramatic sensation is what moves the pianist Lee Jae-hyun (Department of Piano, 4th year) to strive for his best to give his best performance.
Winner of Four Competitions
Lee is a young but promising piano player who won four competitions: the 3rd Chuncheon National Music Concours (1st place), the 8th Korea Herald Music Competition (2nd place), the 48th Nanpa Concours (2nd place), and the 35th Competition of the Music Association of Korea (3rd place). Talented student pianists from top universities participate in these contests. Especially, the prestigious Nanpa Concours boasts an old history, and the Chuncheon National Music Concours awards a 300,000-won prize with an opportunity to give a performance with a full orchestra. “These were the last piano competitions that I could participate in before going to Germany to study. I feel honored to be granted the chance to perform with the orchestra of Chuncheon city,” Lee said. The two music pieces that Lee practiced for the competitions are Franz Liszt’s Rhapsodie Espagnole and Sonata in B Minor. “Rhapsodie Espagnole is a high-level composition piece modeled on Spanish folk songs. The interesting aspect of the introduction is that it gives the performer autonomy regarding the way that it is played. The whole piece alternates between major and minor, creating dark and beautiful atmospheres. Sonata in B Minor has a silent beginning but becomes fancier as the music goes on.”
Lee says that to play the piano well, it is important to see the music score and think about what the artist had in mind when he or she was composing the piece. “These pieces are my favorites, and I played them for about two years. I think the reason I could do well in the competitions was due to the familiarity and deep understanding of the pieces, in addition to the technical difficulties of the songs which impressed the judges,” Lee explained.
Tears and Smiles of a Pianist
“I was seven when I started playing the piano. This was because I wanted to get complimented by my family and relatives when I played the instrument.” When Lee was young, he simply played the piano for fun. However, as he went to Busan High School of Arts, Lee became more serious about the instrument because he decided it as his major. It was during his high school years when Lee reassured himself that the piano was his career path. Being picked as an annual performer for the Geumjeong Art Spot when he was a senior at high school, Lee performed a piano piece with an orchestra in front of 1,300 people. “I don’t remember much of what I did while playing, but what I clearly recall is the applause and cheers from my audience. It was the best moment of my life that I cherish in my heart. That makes me stay strong and keep on going,” Lee reminisced.
However, there were a lot of times when Lee wanted to give up playing the piano, both because of financial and personal reasons. “There are so many talented people out there, and I thought I wasn’t skilled enough as I experienced failure in some competitions. Even so, I thought that the piano is what I am most competent at. Considering it as my greatest ability, I made up my mind to not back down and continue my practices once again.” Lee was able to win awards in four competitions in part because of this resolution.
Lee is planning to study in Germany this year or the next, in order to receive Master’s and Doctoral degrees in piano. He wants to become a professional pianist and after that, he wants to educate and foster future pianists. Lee advised, “Playing the piano or any kind of musical instrument in front of people is an artistic performance, evaluation of which depends on how the player actually does on stage. However, I want to emphasize that the stage is not everything. Practicing is most important, no matter how much time it costs. It’s beneficial to always practice with the attitude that ‘I am here on the stage, right now, at this moment’.”
Jang Soo-hyun email@example.com
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