Young-ja Lee

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Young-ja Lee
Hangul 이영자
Hanja 李英子
Revised Romanization Yi Yeongja
McCune–Reischauer Yi Yǒngja

Young-ja Lee (born 4 June 1931) is a South Korean music educator and composer. She is considered the most important Korean woman composer of our time.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Wonju, she studied at Ewha Womans University, the Conservatoire de Paris, and the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. She continued her education at the Manhattan School of Music. Lee endured hardships during the Japanese occupation and Korean War, but emerged to become one of the dominant forces in Korean music in the 20th century.[2]

She was one of the six founding members of the Korean Society of Women Composers and served as the first president for the organization. She is often called the "Face and Mother of Korean Modern Music."[3] Her works have been performed internationally[4][5] and are available as recordings.[6]

Young-Ja Lee's music combines elements from French, West African, Indonesian gamelan, and traditional Korean music, creating unusual intercultural compositions.[1] She is also noted for her particular mixtures of Western and Korean music.[7]


Selected works include:

  • Pelerinage de l’Ame for Violin, Cello, and Piano
  • Trio for flute, clarinet and bassoon
  • Variations for piano
  • Lament for three kotos
  • Six songs
  • Réminiscences de la Proven


  1. ^ a b Cho, Kyoungwha (2012), Korean women's voice: The vocal music of Young-Ja Lee 
  2. ^ University of South Florida (2012), Celebrating women composers 
  3. ^ Cho, Kyoung (2011), Young-Ja Lee’s Lyric Songs on Poems by Nam-Jo Kim (Life of Korean Women Artists) 
  4. ^ Dees, Pamela Youngdahl (2004). A Guide to Piano Music by Women Composers: Women born after 1900. 
  5. ^ International who's who in classical music. Europa Publications Limited. 2007. 
  6. ^ Green, Frank (1985), Composers on Record: An Index to Biographical Information on 14,000 Composers Who Have Been Recorded 
  7. ^ Hinson, Maurice (1998), The Pianist's Bookshelf: A Practical Guide to Books, Videos, and Other Resources