CCNY’s Jin Ok Lee performs Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and more (for free!) in Shepard Hall. By Rebecca Bluitt.
(Photo: Jin Ok Lee, front, and Ye-Ree Kim, back, play their final duet “Danzon Cubano” by Aaron Copland.)
Jin Ok Lee has played piano extensively in Korea, Japan, and Italy. Now she brings her talents back to CUNY, where she acquired her doctorate in musical arts. Lee teaches Music 101 at City College, and on Friday, April 20, she and guest pianist Ye-Ree Kim performed an hour-long free concert in Shepard Hall. The concert was part of an ongoing faculty recital series hosted by CCNY’s Department of Music, in which City College music professors go from instructing to demonstrating their crafts. The most recent installment featured solo and duet piano pieces of works by composers ranging from Igor Stravinsky to Giuseppe Verdi.
Much of the audience was comprised of students. Many were attending the concert as part of a CCNY music class, and several were pupils of Lee’s Music 101. Regardless of instructors, the general consensus was that Music 101 is not for the faint of heart. “I was hoping it would be an easy class, but it’s definitely not,” said Tenzin Chhosbhel, 21. If there were any preconceived notions about the “easiness” of performing arts classes, they were immediately shot down by Lee and the Music 101 veterans present on Friday. “The solos are played entirely from memory,” said Lee of her and Kim’s performance pieces. “It doesn’t mean we are very smart. It means we had to work a lot!”
The music of students and teachers will certainly fill Shepard Hall again in the future, but will more students be in attendance? “Classical music usually puts me to sleep,” said Alana Vera, 19. “But it is better live. If you like classical music at all, I’d encourage you to go.”