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Written by Lindsay Westley   
Published on Monday, 07 April 2014 10:30

Philadelphia 04/08/2014 — In a program of world premieres, violinist Kristin Lee will perform works by composers whom she commissioned to write new and unusual pairings for the violin with another instrument. The premieres include collaborations with theremin, steel pan, guitar, South Indian singing and spoken word, and range from folk to house music, while also including abstract works and more traditional classical pieces. The five award-winning composers—each also a well-established artist—bring the distinct sounds, styles and backgrounds of their native countries to the pieces they’ve written. Three of the composers will also perform onstage with Lee. The concert is presented by LiveConnections and Astral Artists and will take place April 25 at 7:30 pm at World Cafe Live’s dynamic Downstairs Live venue, where concertgoers may enjoy dinner and drinks starting at 6:30 pm.

A classically trained musician who studied under violinist Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School, Lee has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony and the Korean Broadcasting Symphony—but also has gained recognition for cross-genre collaboration across pop, hip-hop and world music. Her interest in collaboration has landed her on The Roots’ most recent CD Undun, and she has also performed in ?uestlove’s experimental project “Shuffle Culture” alongside musicians including Deerhoof, D.D. Jackson, Rahzel and DJ Jeremy Ellis. Lee is on the roster of Astral Artists, which assists promising classical musicians with their early professional career development.

Several of the young composers Lee commissioned to write new works for this project will also perform on stage with her, blending the classical sound of the violin with different cultures’ music. The program includes new works by composers Andy Akiho, Patrick Castillo, Jakub Ciupiński, Vivian Fung and Shobana Raghavan, with performances by Patrick Castillo, spoken word; Jakub Ciupiński, theremin; Bridget Kibbey, harp; Shobana Raghavan, South Indian singing; Ian Rosenbaum, steel pan; and Jason Vieaux, guitar.

“This idea came about with my love for chamber music, commissioning young composers and different genres of music outside of classical music,” Lee says. “In the process of finding the composers that I want to work with, I took this idea a step further and decided to feature the composers to take part as a performer as well.”

The uncommon instrument pairings span both genres and cultures (the composer/performers hail from India, Poland, Canada, the Philippines, Japan and the U.S., while Lee was born in Seoul), integrating traditional elements while pushing boundaries of concept and execution. The pure, electronic sounds of the theremin played by Ciupiński contrast with the intensity of flamenco guitar, Chinese lutes and heavy metal as imagined by Fung and executed by Jason Vieaux, while steel pan adds a percussive element to Lee’s violin. Shobana Raghavan uses the vocabulary of traditional Indian music to forge musical boundaries in her duet with Lee, while Castillo uses spoken word to investigate the self-awareness that is essential to being a musician and composer. The concert will also feature Bridget Kibbey, an acclaimed soloist, who, like Lee, is known for her innovative collaborations. She also recently premiered a harp concerto composed by Vivian Fung.

The final Philadelphia concert in LiveConnections’ 2013-2014 ClassicAlive season, this concert continues the season-long theme of “The Soloists” – highlighting individual classical artists who are pushing boundaries of collaboration and repertoire. The ClassicAlive series aims to attract new audiences to classical music by presenting innovative performances in the laid-back atmosphere of partner venue World Cafe Live.

“This concert marks Kristin's return to ClassicAlive after being featured in our very first concert four years ago, notes ClassicAlive curator Mary Wheelock Javian. “Since then I have stayed in touch with her and have admired the unique and creative path she is on as an artist. Her command of the instrument is astonishing, but it's her curiosity and desire to find new possibilities for the violin that is so inspiring to me.”


Bridge SessionsBridge Session April 24

In addition to performing for general audiences on April 25, Kristin Lee and select artists will present educational programs for 200 Philadelphia elementary school students on April 24. The sessions, part of LiveConnections’ Bridge Session programming, give participants a chance to hear first-rate artists and to try out musical concepts in hands-on activities. Bridge Sessions are free for city schools, allowing students to have music experiences in spite of budget cuts. Schools attending the special Bridge Sessions include LiveConnections partner schools J.S. Jenks and Greenfield Elementary and Delaware County school Ardmore Avenue Elementary.



The April 25 concert will also be streamed live through LiveConnections’ new LiveStudio initiative, aimed at increasing access to music for underserved audiences. Audiences from residential facilities and retirement communities who would otherwise be unable to travel to the venue will be able to watch the concert in real time.

LiveConnections’ general manager Melinda Steffy says, “A project like Kristin Lee’s gets at the very heart of LiveConnections: connecting a wide array of audiences to innovative, boundary-crossing music. We love to give kids attending Bridge Sessions a chance to hear the very same artists performing for adults at our ClassicAlive concerts, and the addition of the LiveStudio streaming means that we’re able to pull in people with limited mobility who might not otherwise get to experience such great music. It’s all about using music to make connections.”

For additional information, visit

$20 general admission
$15 students with ID
(prices include service charges)
Food and drink sold separately. General admission seating.

LiveConnections presents Kristin Lee
Friday, April 25, 2014
7:30 p.m.
at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia


LiveConnections, a nonprofit organization in residence at World Cafe Live, creates programs that inspire learning and build community through collaborative music-making. In 2008, a team of artists, educators and entrepreneurs founded LiveConnections to boost music education for under-resourced Philadelphia schools and tap into the people-connecting power of music. Across all of our programs, LiveConnections is committed to artistry of the highest caliber, collaboration, community-building and accessibility/inclusion. We approach live music as an essential social and educational experience that helps create engaged and well-rounded global citizens.

Each year, LiveConnections reaches 5,000 participants with our dynamic educational programs. Bridge Sessions, our signature interactive performances at World Cafe Live, blend live music with hands-on activities. Sessions introduce students from Philadelphia public schools and youth and adults with disabilities to diverse musical cultures and build skills in listening, expressing ideas and synthesizing new information. We also offer in-school and after-school residencies at partner schools, providing sustained, in-depth music-making experiences for young people from under-resourced schools.

LiveConnections prioritizes accessibility for people with disabilities who face barriers to participation in the arts. We present Bridge Sessions and in-facility workshops targeted for youth and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities, and our interactive, adaptive approach means individuals may fully engage at their own ability levels.

In addition, LiveConnections curates a critically acclaimed concert series featuring adventurous, boundary-crossing collaborations. Our LiveConnections Presents concerts feature Grammy winners, local talent and rising stars; we frequently commission new music that blends musical styles and cultures; and our concert artists participate in our educational and community programming.


[Kristin Lee image by Arthur Moeller; Bridge Session & LiveStudio images by Conrad Erb Photography]


Lindsay Westley, PR coordinator
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[Image: Amanda Stevenson Photography]



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