by LIZ ONUFER | photos by PortrArt Creations

Passion for Performance

On April 19, Susan Lee will be the featured soloist performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 at the Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall. Even as a seasoned performer, what sets Susan apart is her age: a 16-year-old performing a full concerto backed by an orchestra is a rare event.

Susan’s passion for the violin and music began when she was just seven years old. Susan wanted to emulate her older sister, Sarah, after listening to her play. “I think I ended up making a good choice as I haven’t regretted my decision since then and don’t think I would be the same person without the violin,” Susan shared.

Over the years, Susan’s commitment to music and practice has earned her a number of prestigious awards. Most recently, she won first place in the San Diego Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, the Temecula Valley Symphony Young Artists Concerto Competition, and the H.B. Goodlin Scholarship Competition. She has played in the NYO2 program sponsored by Carnegie Hall over the past few summers, and currently serves as concertmaster for the San Diego Youth Symphony’s advanced symphony orchestra and chamber orchestra.

“I love how happy people become after listening to music…”


Name: Susan Lee (16)
School: Canyon Crest Academy
Grade: 11
Parents: DongHwan Lee and June Lee
Sibling: Sarah Hye-In Lee (24)
Favorite Local Spots: Del Mar Beach and the Starbucks in Pacific Highlands Ranch


Susan’s upcoming performance at Copley Hall is a unique opportunity for her. “I’m most excited about performing with an orchestra. Most of the time I only get to rehearse and perform pieces with the piano, so performing with an orchestra is a whole new experience,” she acknowledged. For Susan, this is part of the joy of music. “I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people.” And it’s an experience like this that is the reward for all her practice and motivation. “It was daunting for me to stick through it all and practice at first, but it’s paid off as I’ve improved as a musician,” Susan shared.

Susan thrives equally in the classroom as a junior at Canyon Crest Academy as she does on the stage. She has created Rise Up Tutoring with a few friends to offer tutoring to local students and then donates the revenue to schools around San Diego. She also participates in the Neuroscience Club and Science Olympiad.

Looking ahead, Susan knows music will continue to be an instrumental part of her life. “I hope to keep performing,” she shared, “as I love how happy people become after listening to music, and I love how happy it makes me feel whenever I perform.”