• July 19, 2023

Artist Profile: Priscilla Lee

Artist Profile: Priscilla Lee

Artist Profile: Priscilla Lee 432 288 Welcome to Kingston Chamber Music Festival | Kingston Chamber Music Festival

Since she was a young child, Priscilla Lee has been drawn to the cello. “I remember going to the music store and seeing a cello in the window,” she says. “I pointed at it and said ‘I want to play that!’” She began taking lessons at age five, and her childhood dream of playing the instrument has since come to fruition: among other accomplishments, she made her solo debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1998; became an Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient in 2005; and joined the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2016, where she still performs as Associate Principal Cello.

A special bond

“I’ve had the special opportunity of traveling and playing concerts around the world,” she says. “Seeing different people with different cultures appreciate classical music has definitely been a highlight. Music is universal.” For Lee, engaging with audiences as a performer is one part of the joy she finds in being a professional musician – there’s also the rewarding experience of engaging with fellow artists. “Playing chamber music is my favorite thing to do because I get to play with my amazingly talented friends,” she adds. “There is a special bond we have with each other and it doesn’t matter if we played five years ago or 15 years ago. We just pick up where we left off and it’s so familiar and fun.”

Challenging and Funky

At the KCMF concert on August 2, Lee will join guitarist Jason Vieaux, violinists Joel Link and Kyu-Yong Kim, and violist – and her husband – Burchard Tang on performing American composer Aaron Jay Kernis’s 100 Greatest Dance Hits This selection is a percussive piece inspired by the urban and popular music sounds Kernis heard in NYC in the early 80s. “I’m excited to play it,” Lee says. “It’s really challenging and a super funky piece!” At our concert on August 4, Lee will play David Popper’s Requiem for Three Cellos and Piano, Op. 66 and on August 6 — our festival finale — she will join the Dover Quartet’s first violinist Joel Link on Jessie Montgomery’s Duo for Violin and Cello.

Everything Old is New Again

As Lee continues living her childhood dream, she appreciates how music can connect us to the past. “Classical music has been around for centuries and for me it’s a comfort to play this music in our ever-changing world,” she says. “Of course, music is evolving with the times and that’s exciting. But it’s nice to go back in time and hear the same music that people enjoyed in the 1700-1800’s!”

Photo by J.J. Tiziou