Wonki Lee saxophone

Esther Lim piano

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 


Placido Domingo Hall

The National Opera Center

330 7th Avenue, NYC

Mr. Lee is presented as an emerging artist by The Classical Saxophone Project  


Paul CRESTON | Sonata for alto saxophone and piano, Op.19

Bernhard HEIDEN | Sonata for alto saxophone and piano


Steve COHEN | Sonata for soprano saxophone and piano

John WORLEY | Sonata for alto saxophone and piano

Wonki Lee saxophone

Classical saxophonist Wonki Lee, feeling equally at home in traditional and contemporary repertoire, has distinguished himself as a winner of the Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition in United States as well as becoming the first Korean saxophonist selected to be one of the 18 semi-finalists in the Adolphe Sax International Competition in Belgium. Mr. Lee’s musical exploration has encompassed his fascinations with history of saxophone repertoire and interpreting original works for saxophone with new insights and understandings. 

As a soloist, Mr. Lee has given recitals and solo performances in United States and Asia. His recent performances include recitals at La Plantation in Beijing, Yamaha Artist Hall in Seoul, and the Lincoln Center in New York. In collaboration with Yamaha Japan, Mr. Lee has given recitals that spotlights Yamaha custom saxophones and explores its potential through performing significant works for saxophone as he exclusively plays the Yamaha Custom 875 EX saxophones. 

After making his Carnegie Weill Recital Hall debut premiering a new composition for soprano saxophone and piano, Mr. Lee became an advocate of contemporary music written by composers of his generation. Since then, he has premiered numerous new works ranging from solo to orchestral and contributed to the addition of three new saxophone concertos. He premiered piano-redacted version of saxophone concerto Sull’ala by Susan Botti, and saxophone concertos by Thiago Tiberio and Avner Finberg are written for him. In 2019, Mr. Lee will be premiering a new saxophone solo work by Paolo Marchettini and a chamber work by James Ra. 

As well as solo performances, Mr. Lee is an avid orchestral saxophonist. He has collaborated numerous conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, and Philippe Entremont. He has appeared with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra lead by Eiji Oue as they launched their 100th Anniversary World Tour at Alice Tully Hall, Tokyo Wind Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared in orchestras such as New World Symphony Orchestra, and Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Lee is a principal saxophonist of New York Wind Orchestra. He is also a member of the Convectus Saxophone Quartet and Megalopolis Saxophone Orchestra. 

As an educator, Mr. Lee has given masterclasses and lectures in China, Korea, Japan, and the US. He also enjoys community engagements and outreach programs where he shares performances with children and seniors with limited access to public performance venues. Recent engagements include performances at Christian Health Care Center in Wyckoff and Community Development Project in Tarrytown. 

Born to Korean parents living in Tokyo, Mr. Lee began to study the saxophone at age thirteen and soon moved to New York City where he received his training with Dr. Paul Cohen. He is receiving a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree at Manhattan School of Music in May 2019. 

Mr. Lee is a Si-Yo Artist ™

Esther Lim piano

Collaborative pianist Esther Lim possesses a wide range of tonal spectrum and a keen sensitivity to bring a performer and music to the highest caliber. Ms. Lim has appeared in three continents both as a soloist and a collaborator at venues such as Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium, Teatro Sociale di Novafeltria, and United Nations of South Korea. 

Ms. Lim’s collaborative performance credits include a recital with Charles Castleman, a professor of violin at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Miami, and concerts with the renowned pianist Hai-Kyung Suh. Ms. Lim has been invited as a collaborative pianist at Heifetz International Music Institute, Sejong International Music festival in Curtis Institute of Music, Charles Castleman String Quartet Program, and La Lingua Della Lirica Festival. She has recently appeared as a pianist in the international premiere of the award-winning "Barrier-Free" opera production, sponsored by The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Houston and the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ms. Lim’s versatility as a collaborator extends beyond classical realm as she works with the musical theater department performing for choreography rehearsals. She is also a founding member of Muse Ave, a collective group of musicians- string players, pianists and singers based in New York City.

Ms. Lim holds Master of Music from Yonsei University in South Korea and received both Master of Music and Professional Studies Certificate from Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Lim is currently pursuing Doctor of Musical Arts degree in collaborative piano with Heasook Rhee at Manhattan school of Music. She serves as a collaborative pianist at SUNY Purchase College in New York. 

© 2015  The Classical Saxophone Project | all rights reserved