American violinist Sean Lee is one of few violinists who dare to perform the complete 24 Caprices of Niccolò Paganini in concert. A recipient of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant, Lee has captured the attention of audiences worldwide, with performances described by the New York Times as “breathtakingly beautiful”.
Lee’s ongoing educational YouTube series, “Paganini POV”, utilizes modern technology to share a unique perspective on violin playing. In January 2022, Lee and pianist Peter Dugan released selections from Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices as arranged by Robert Schumann, as an EP and video series titled “Paganini X Schumann: 9 Caprices”, after giving the first performance of the complete 24 Caprices in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 52-year history.
Lee’s debut album was released by EMI Classics, and reached the iTunes top 20 classical bestsellers list. In 2018, Lee collaborated with pianist Peter Dugan to release a second album, SONGBOOK, featuring songs from all over the world from classical to jazz. As a soloist, Lee has appeared with orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Israel Camerata Jerusalem, and Utah Symphony, and recital appearances have taken him to Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Festival di Carro Paganiniano of Italy, and Vienna’s Konzerthaus. A top prizewinner at the “Premio Paganini” International Violin Competition, Lee embraces the legacy of his late mentor, violinist Ruggiero Ricci, who made the first solo recording of the 24 Caprices in 1947.
Lee has collaborated in performances with Itzhak Perlman, Sir James Galway, Deborah Voigt, and members of the Emerson and Guarneri String Quartets. With the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Lee has performed numerous times at Lincoln Center, as well as on tour internationally at venues including the Lobkowicz Palace in Prague, Czech Republic; LG Arts Center in Seoul, Korea; National Theater in Taipei, Taiwan; and the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. Lee also performed for PBS’s first international production of Live from Lincoln Center, “Odyssey: The Chamber Music Society in Greece”.
Lee currently resides in the Capital Region of New York State. Born in Los Angeles, Lee studied in Southern California with Robert Lipsett of the Colburn Conservatory, and with violin legend Ruggiero Ricci. Moving to New York City at age 17, Lee studied at the Juilliard School with the internationally acclaimed Itzhak Perlman. At the Juilliard School, Lee earned both Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees, and received the William Schuman Prize upon graduation.
Lee performs on a violin made by Samuel Zygmuntowicz in 1995, and a bow made circa 1890 by Joseph Arthur Vigneron.