DALLAS (SMU) --- Organist Yunjung Lee, a graduate student in the Performer’s Diploma program at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, has won first prize in the inaugural Asia International Organ Competition, held July 19 at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan. The prize includes a cash award of $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to perform a recital in China. The venue and recital date will be announced later this year.
Lee won the top award with a performance of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms and Maurice Duruflé. She is a student of Stefan Engels, the Leah Young Fullinwider Centennial Chair in Music Performance and professor of organ at the Meadows School.
“Playing at this competition was a challenging and fulfilling experience at the same time,” said Lee. “I feel happy and privileged to be able to study organ with Professor Engels. The inspirational environment at SMU helps me to find myself as a musician and as an artist. Above all, I want to praise God with my playing.”
The Asia International Organ Competition, presented by the Taiwan Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), is open to any organist with citizenship in an Asian country or with an active membership in any AGO chapter in Asia. The contest drew 28 participants from China, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan and the U.S., six of whom were selected for the final round.
The jury included internationally known concert organists Tong-Soon Kwak, professor emeritus of organ at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea; Olivier Latry, organist with the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory of Music; and John Walker, organ faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, distinguished visiting professor of organ at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, artist-in-residence at Baltimore’s Church of the Redeemer and immediate past president of the American Guild of Organists.
Yunjung Lee, who will earn her Performer’s Diploma in organ performance at SMU Meadows in 2018, is a native of Busan, South Korea. As a teenager she was a church accompanist on piano and received third prize in the Korean High School Organ Competition at Kyemyung University in Busan. With a growing passion for organ and church music, she went on to earn a degree in organ performance at Yonsei University in Seoul. In 2014 she received first prize in the Korean Association of Organists Organ Competition. Earlier this year she was awarded second prize in the Hall Pipe Organ Competition in San Antonio, and first prize in the Arthur Poister Scholarship Competition in Syracuse, N.Y. She is currently organist at First United Lutheran Church in Dallas, where she plays the tracker organ by renowned builder Karl Wilhelm.