Korean born cellist Su-a Lee is one of the highlights of the Scottish music scene. Celebrated wherever she goes, she stands out for her versatility, popularity, and appetite for musical adventure.
Born in Seoul, Su-a trained at Chethams School of Music, completing her studies at the Juilliard School in New York. On graduating with her degree, Su-a moved to Scotland, to join the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, where she remains as Assistant Principal Cello.
While she is deeply rooted in her Scottish home, Su-a and her cello have appeared all over the world, from South America to the Arctic Circle. As well as performing in the world’s major concert halls, you are as likely to find them in unorthodox and interesting locations, including Japanese temples, circus tents and waterfalls.
With the SCO, Su-a performs regular classical music concerts throughout the year and throughout Scotland, as well as making international tours. As an SCO member for almost 20 years, Su-a has recorded many award winning classical music discs with among others, Sir Charles Mackerras, Alfred Brendel, Robin Ticciati, Joseph Swensen, and Alexander Janiczek. She has appeared in recital with her sister, Songa Lee, at Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as in chamber music concerts across Scotland with her SCO colleagues.
Though Su-a spends most of her time playing classical music, she is also very much in demand across a wide musical spectrum, working in all art forms. She has played for theatre, dance and film projects, and she performs and records regularly with Scotland’s jazz and folk stars.
The range of her non classical work has encompassed recording on her musical Saw for Eric Clapton, performing at Celtic Connections with Jack Bruce of Cream and the folk band Lau, to improvisatory work with the Belgian Theatre group Reckless Sleepers, and a tour of India with the Sarod maestro, Amjad Ali Khan. In 2013 she was invited to become a member of India Alba, after performing with them at Celtic Connections, Solas and Insider Festivals.
Su-a is also a founder member of the innovative music ensemble Mr McFall's Chamber. Beginning in 1996 by playing avant-garde string quartet music in late-night club venues, the group have grown to encompass an eclectic range of different traditions. You will find them playing diverse repertoire from cartoon classics, through progressive rock, to jazz, tango nuevo and folk. Their popular recordings include the music of late Celtic fusion pioneer, Martyn Bennett, a disc with Norwegian electronic jazz percussionist Thomas Strønen, and a recording of the works of the idiosyncratic Dundee poet and songwriter, Michael Marra. They remain an important commissioning stimulus, developing musical talent throughout Scotland.
With a special passion for working with young musicians, Su-a regularly participates in SCO Connect's education and community work, and recently toured a very successful series of performances for babies, with Reeling and Writhing Theatre. She is Patron-in-Chief of the Perth Youth Orchestra, a regular coach for the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, and for many years, was a coach to the Icelandic National Youth Orchestra and Cambridge County Youth Orchestra.
Su-a Lee is an Associate Member of the Martyn Bennett Trust, and a Trustee of the Board of the Soundhouse Trust.