The “preternaturally gifted” cellist Okkyung Lee, a New York-based artist and South Korea native, has created a body of work blurring genre boundaries through collaborations and compositions while pushing the limits of contemporary performance techniques. Her music draws from extreme noise, extended techniques, jazz, Western classical, and Korean traditional and popular music.
Since moving to New York in 2000, Lee has released more than twenty albums, including 2013’s shocking, visceral solo record Ghil, which was produced by Lasse Marhaug on Stephen O’Malley’s Editions Mego/Ideologic Organ, and 2011’s Noisy Love Songs (for George Dyer) on Tzadik. She has performed and recorded with a huge range of esteemed artists both within and far beyond the NYC downtown scene: Laurie Anderson, David Behrman, Mark Fell, Douglas Gordon, Jenny Hval, Vijay Iyer, Christian Marclay, Ikue Mori, Lawrence D “Butch” Morris, Marina Rosenfeld, Jim O’Rourke, Evan Parker, Wadada Leo Smith, C Spencer Yeh, and John Zorn, to name just a few.
Since 2010, she has been developing a site-specific duo project with New York-based dancer and choreographer Michelle Boulé. They have performed at Issue Project Room, Mount Tremper Art Center, send+receive festival in Winnipeg, Canada, and The Met Breuer Building. In 2015, she toured Northern Europe and the UK with the legendary experimental rock group Swans. In early 2015, Lee presented new compositions commissioned by London Sinfonietta as a part of Christian Marclay’s exhibit at the White Cube Gallery in London.
Lee was recognised with the prestigious Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2015 and received the Foundation For Contemporary Arts Grant in 2010. She received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Writing & Production and Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music in 1998 and a Master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory of Music in 2000.