DHS Pianist Takes 1st at State

May 10, 2013

Sophomore Jae Lee's performance of Mozart's "Turkish March" earned him the 2013 ASAA Solo/Ensemble state title in classical piano.

Sophomore Jae Lee (left), with DCSD K-12 Music Director Ricky Lind.
Credit KDLG

DILLINGHAM:  Practice, practice, practice.

Not just directions to Carnegie Hall, but also how to set oneself apart from the pack at the ASAA Solo and Ensemble Music Festival's state-level competition. Just ask Jae Lee, 2013's state champion in the classical piano bracket.

"I do practice an hour every day," said Lee. "That's enforced by my parents. Maybe a few minutes less on a busy school day. But yeah, everyday."

Lee first learned to play piano in 2003, a student of local teacher Shirley Williams. Eight years her pupil, Williams remembers Lee as very "conscientious" about his progress.

"Every week, at the end of his practice lesson, he would ask me the same question: 'How did I do?' Well Jae, you did great! I'm so proud of you," said Williams.

In front of a judge and small crowd on Monday in Anchorage, Lee performed Mozart's "Turkish March". He came away with a "superior rating", and became this year's state champ.

"I was very nervous. I made some slight mistakes, but I guess I did better than I thought I would," he said.

A sophomore, Lee is already giving thought to next year's competition.

"I'm still thinking of what I should play next year. Maybe something by Mozart again, since our adjudicators seem to think Mozart is really good."