Artist Spotlight: Annabelle Kayla Lee (I)

(Source: Lee Daniel Tran)

(Source: Lee Daniel Tran)

The Boston Latin School community is, without a doubt, home to many talented individuals. Within the Visual and Performing Arts department, Annabelle Lee (I) stands out for their exceptional talent both in and out of BLS’s orchestra program. While Lee is best known for their violin talents, there is a lot more to this senior than what is on paper.

Lee’s first dip into music began when her mother signed her up for her elementary school’s orchestra at six years old. Once at BLS, seventh-grade Lee entered the Philharmonic Strings Orchestra, the second highest level orchestra. The following year, she started her journey in the prestigious Concert Strings Orchestra.

Over the course of their violin career, they have also participated in various groups and esteemed performances, including the New England Conservatory, YOLA National Festival, Longy El Sistema Side-by-Side and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival.

In addition to being a student in orchestra, Lee also leads others in their musical endeavors. For instance, she conducted the Concert Strings Orchestra for a warm up rehearsal at the annual Winter Concert. BLS orchestra teacher, Ms. Susan Shipley, described her performance as “stellar.”

Lee also began teaching at the beginning of the year, mentoring their own private student. They express the joy they derive from their student’s growth and accomplishments: “She’s improved a lot and I’m really proud of her progress. We don’t meet that much anymore because she’s busy with the musical, but she still tells me about how much she loves to play and learn new songs.”

Lee has also assisted in teaching online master classes that pertain to violin playing.  Exploring the instrument on a technical and artistic level, these classes shine light onto Lee’s immense talent, in addition to providing an opportunity for them to showcase their appreciation for violin.

“I love master classes because they make me realize techniques that I’d never even thought about before. […]  There’s actually a pretty popular video on Youtube of one of my master classes: it’s with [conductor] Ben Zander and it’s well known within the music community because of his comments on my relationship with my mother,” Lee shares.

Alongside Ben Zander’s class, Lee has been featured in classes with notable musicians such as Midori Goto, Timothy Chooi and Simon Bernardini.

Lee’s talent is recognized throughout the BLS community, including by Ms. Shipley.

“Annabelle is bold, and that’s something I really like about her. She has opinions and will be the lone voice when I ask the class a question like ‘What did you think?’ Her playing is bold, and yet gorgeously refined and elegant,” remarks Ms. Shipley.

Most important to Lee is having fun and loving what they do. This year, Lee has performed at the Asian Night Showcase, hosted by BLS A.S.I.A., and Chamber Night. Lee notes that their musical interests are not limited to violin, but also include singing, composing, guitar, cello, keyboard and a bit of ukulele.

While Lee’s BLS career has come to an end, her journey in the music and performance world has just begun. This summer, Lee is attending the YOLA National Festival, Apple Hill Chamber Music Workshop and Festival Groba in Spain. In the fall, Lee will be attending the Boston Conservatory, where they will be studying violin performance with Markus Placci.