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8.22.2010

the kid who formed his own orchestra


Cool story out of Seattle, about high school senior Kevin Lee, who became disenchanted with just playing the violin in a regular old orchestra. So at age 16, he formed his own orchestra, Summer Festival Philharmonia, and made himself conductor: Young violinist who formed own orchestra sets grand finale.
More than a year later, Lee is still directing a youth orchestra he built from scratch. This summer, the Issaquah High School graduate expanded his group of Eastside and Seattle student musicians for a grand finale before he leaves for Columbia University in New York.

The two concerts will feature some of the area's best youth violinists performing from six major violin concertos. The proceeds will go to a scholarship in the name of his violin teacher, the highly regarded Kent Coleman, who died of pneumonia in 2007. Lee hopes the money will help other students afford their musical education.

"I wanted to be able to prove people like high-school students are able to do something, take major musical works and transform it into something," Lee said. Beyond self-expression, Lee also hoped to free players from the hierarchical, competitive nature of high-caliber youth music.
I love it, because it's a story about full-fledged teenage rebellion, with a kid making his own rules... and yet, we're still talking about a symphony orchestra -- still so stereotypically Asian. Hey, follow your passion.