Award‐winning pianist Mookie Lee‐Menuhin has performed worldwide as a soloist and chamber musician, touring major music halls and festivals throughout Europe, Scandinavia and Asia. She has also enjoyed numerous television and radio appearances, most notably for the BBC, DR, DK4, Radio Swiss Classic and Danish Radio.
Pianist Mookie Lee-Menuhin is an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician who integrates her musical pursuits with her passion for neuroscience.
Ms. Lee-Menuhin has performed worldwide appearing in the major halls, including Victoria Hall in Geneva, Tonhalle Zürich, and the Bern Casino in Switzerland, Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Krakow, Poland, Smetana Hall in Plzeň, Czech Republic, Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary, Schloss Elmau, among others, in Germany, Musikhuset and Danish Radio in Denmark and Sejong Hall, Seoul Arts Centre in Seoul, South Korea.
Her radio and television appearances include the BBC, DR, DK4 and Radio Swiss Classic; and performances with orchestras including Concerto Budapest Symphony, Zürcher Symphoniker, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie; festival appearances at the Festival Pablo Casals in Prades, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Festival de Bellerive, Incontri in Terra di Siena, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Boğaziçi University Foundation, Smetana’s Litomyšl Festival, Felix Mendelssohn Music Days, Rolandseck, and Seoul Spring Festival.
Ms. Lee-Menuhin has received enthusiastic reviews from, among others, Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, Primephonic, DSCH Journal, Classical Source: ‘powerfully communicated…’, ‘this ought to be a recording of the year…’, ‘…is revived in a sensitive and compassionate performance’, ‘ transcendence of the movements is persuasively captured’ among many others.
She released a number of CDs, including the first recordings of Shostakovich/Stravinsky, works with Alexander Rozhdestvensky and Jeremy Menuhin, Schubert’s works for four hands, the premières of Jeremy Menuhin’s compositions for two pianos, ‘The Voice of Rebellion’, and a solo recording, ‘Liaison’, that includes a world première recording of Eric Tanguy’s ‘Toccata’.
Her recent solo recording, ‘Liaison’, received acclaimed reviews such as ’with a sophisticated sound and a gorgeous pianistic touch- a real success!’, (Enrique Llamas), ‘it is evident from the first few phrases of the Berg sonata that Lee-Menuhin has an outstanding grasp of musical style… her bracing, no-nonsense reading of the Schubert sonata… an outstanding performance of the little-known Tanguy Toccata’ (Lynn René Bayley). Her Bartok’s 6 Romanian Dances from the same CD was also featured on iTunes’ Classical AM playlist.
Ms. Lee-Menuhin is a devoted chamber musician, demonstrating her musical prowess often in the Menuhin Duo—a piano duo she forms with her husband, Jeremy Menuhin. Together, they interpret both established repertoire for two pianos and new compositions by Jeremy Menuhin. Renowned critics have acclaimed the duo for their exceptional ensemble work, noting a “fine sense of ensemble” (BBC Music Magazine), describing them as “ideal duo partners, playing throughout as if entirely of one mind” (Jessica Duchen), and praising their “scrupulously prepared playing” (Gramophone). They have been lauded as a “vivid double-act at the piano” (Classical Source), among other accolades.
Ms.Lee-Menuhin’s collaborative spirit extends beyond the Menuhin Duo. She has shared the stage with a distinguished array of musicians, including Alberto Lysy, Gary Hoffman, Piers Lane, István Várdai, Valeriy Sokolov, Máté Szücs, Leonid Gorokhov, Vincent de Kort, Hsin-Yun Huang, Mihaela Martin, Gábor Takács-Nagy, and many others.
Ms. Lee-Menuhin is committed to using music as a means of healing, with a particular focus on children. She was part of the ‘lullaby project’ with El Sistema Greece, giving a concert that brought refugee and local children together at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in Athens in 2019. During the same year, in commemoration of the International Day of Peace, she collaborated with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, delivering a speech and jointly hosting a concert with Barbara Hendricks.
In addition to her musical pursuits, Ms. Lee-Menuhin is a cognitive neuroscientist. Her fascination and passion for knowledge of the intricacies of the brain and human behaviour earned her a master’s degree with distinction in applied neuroscience from King’s College London. Her unique path as a concert pianist and neuroscientist raised curiosity in the field of science and beyond, being featured in an interview by Women in Science and Technology at CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) as well as in her presentation for Korean female leaders at the SungJoo Foundation. Her research focus spans the neuroscience of musical expertise and how we experience pleasure in music.
Ms Lee-Menuhin was born in Seoul, South Korea and studied at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music with Margaret Fingerhut in the U.K. She obtained a master’s degree as well as a performance diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in Denmark, studying with John Damgaard and Ronan O’Hora in London. She received numerous awards, including the prestigious Augustinus Award, and Prince Joachim, and Princess Alexandra’s International Prize, as well as winning the YAMAHA competition in 2002.
Ms. Lee-Menuhin’s life is a vibrant canvas of diverse interests beyond her musical and scientific pursuits. She finds great inspiration and solace in cooking, dreaming up exciting flavour combinations, inventing new recipes and composing new styles of presentation of the dishes for others to enjoy. In addition to her culinary passions, she designed the house in which her family currently resides. Her curiosity extends to her academic explorations beyond the realm of neuroscience, attaining certificates and diplomas from Columbia and Harvard Universities.
Ms. Lee-Menuhin feels privileged to serve music. It has been a journey filled with both challenges and fulfilment, contributing to her growth and learning not only as a musician but also as a human being.