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Korean-American Cellist and Pedagogue Dong-Oo Lee has Died, Aged 66

Alongside teaching a great many students, Lee had a prolific orchestral and chamber music career in both Korea and North America


Born to Korean parents in North America, Dong-Oo Lee completed his undergraduate studies at the New England Conservatory. Some years later, he completed further study in Ukraine, receiving a master's degree from the Kharkov National Conservatory of Music.

During his studies, he received multiple awards, including the Aspen Festival's Jorge Mester Fellowship (1974), the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Tanglewood Fellowship (1976-1977), the Piatigorsky Fellowship Prize (1979), and the Pablo Casals Memorial Award from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library Society (1981).

He often returned to Ukraine to perform and record alongside conductor Vakhtang Jordania and the Kharkov Philharmonic Institute, for which he was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1997.

Lee performed with several orchestras in North America, including the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Santa Fe. Upon relocating to South Korea, he then spent 18 years as the Principal Solo Cellist of Korea's national orchestra, the KBS Symphony Orchestra.

Pedagogy became Lee's primary focus in 2000 when he left his orchestral job to take up a position as Professor of Cello and Chair of Strings and Chamber Music at Ulsan University. By 2015, he had risen to the rank of Distinguished Professor.

Our condolences to Lee's family, friends, students, and colleagues.

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