Cultural Days concert presents brilliant Port Sydney pianist Kyung-A-Lee

Kyung-A-Lee was brilliant in her performance of a pair of pieces by Bach and Gershwin Saturday during Cultural Days at the United Church in Gravenhurst.

GRAVENHURST — Cultural Days are to highlight the varying talents of people in their community.

Lee was a huge hit with the audience, especially her niece.

And much like Doors Open that shed light on often behind the scenes locales most of us walk or drive by, both can expose us to hidden rewards.

One of those was Saturday afternoon at Trinity United Church in Gravenhurst.

As part of Cultural Days across Muskoka this weekend, a brief but brilliant piano concert was put on by Kyung-A-Lee.

The South Korean pianist and recent resident of Port Sydney, who is in between jobs and living with her mother, performed two extended-length pieces.

Lee’s passion for classical music has allowed her to study and perform internationally.

She also studdied in Edmonton.

Her recital consisted of a program featuring the monumental works by Bach-Busoni’s Chaconne (17 min.), and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (17 min.), with a lecture on the historical background of the compositions and the composers. She played both pieces without any music.

The rave reviews for her were instant as the audience gave her a standing ovation after the first Bach piece. And after the nearly 100-year-old rousing Gershwin number.

United Church audiences, no strangers to quality music especially exhibited each summer with their organ recitals, were especially treated to Lee’s extraordinary talents, however briefly.

Lee’s passion for the piano and pieces were clearly evident before the large crowd of more than 100, including her family and friends, as the diminutive performer pounded away up and down on the 88 keys with the weight and power of a linebacker, but with the finesse and delicacy of a quarterback threading a defensive needle.

Now that’s what Cultural Days are about – and the hidden talents in Muskoka.

She has also performed with Neil Barlow in the Rotary Musicals. And she was a hit last month playing the Gershwin piece at Opera Muskoka.

The concert was presented by the Town of Gravenhurst’s Cultural Days committee, along with the United Church and the Muskoka Concert Association, which hopes to have Lee join them to play in their concert season.

Lee welcomed her family and said her sister told her to take her time, “they’ll wait.”
Lee opened the 50-minute performance with some historical context about Bach and later Gershwin.
Lee put her whole body and mind into the performance to the delight of the audience.
With a rapt audience paying attention, Lee weaved her way through both pieces with delicate dexterity.
Lee received standing ovations after both pieces.
Lee used all 88 keys up and down the keyboard with a sense of might.
More than 100 people turned out for the free concert Saturday afternoon at the United Church.
Lee and United Church minister of music Dan McCoy listen to a young Lee fan.
Lee chats with fans who raved about her playing after the concert.
A satisfying smile after a sensational concert.