Hwayoon Lee, viola

South Korean violist Hwayoon Lee was born in Seoul in 1996 and had her first violin lessons at the age of six but discovered the viola three years later. She has since been given viola tuition by Professor Sang Jin Kim at Yonsei University. Her studies have been complemented by masterclasses with Mathew Daline, Paul Neubauer, Steven Tenenbom, Yuri Bashmet and Rainer Moog.

At the age of 12, Hwayoon Lee was singled out as the youngest and most gifted pupil at her school in Seoul for her performance at Precocious Prodigies, part of the Seoul Spring Festival. She has performed with the international string ensemble Sejong Soloists, being the youngest participating artist to date.

In 2010 she took part in her first international competition, the 17th International Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach (Austria), and carried off the first prize. This was followed by an invitation to perform at Musica in Collina in Lapendona (Italy). In January of 2013 she again achieved great success by winning the Grand Prix in the International Yuri Bashmet Competition in Moscow. That same year she also won the Elba Festival Prize at the Festival Elba, Isola Musicale d'Europa.

Hwayoon Lee has thrilled more international audiences at the Festival Music Alp and at the Tenerife Music Festival in Spain. She has given concert performances with various European orchestras, such as the Moscow Soloists, the Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, the Munich Symphony Orchestra and the Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra, and has worked with conductors such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Ken-David Masur, Yuri Bashmet and Manfred Honeck. The youngest scholarship holder to date, Hwayoon Lee has had the support of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation since July 2011.

Hwayoon Lee plays the Gasparo da Sálo (1590) from Brescia which is on loan to her from the Samsung Foundation of Culture.