A Sincere Teacher of Music
A singer and a conductor, Lee Eun-suk (Department of Vocal Music, ’95)
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The members of a choir are standing in line on stage, singing while exchanging eye signals, presenting graceful harmony. They finish their performance with a big applause. Finally, the conductor turns around and gives a big bow as he listens to the cheers getting louder. In the center of the stage as a conductor, there is Lee Eun-suk (Department of Vocal Music, ’95), who tries his best to live as a true musician. He is not only a conductor of two choirs and two orchestras, but also a singer, and the founder of a choir, Goyang Mixed Choir.
An open choir for amateurs
Lee is currently the founder and the conductor of Goyang Mixed Choir, which is a choir open for all amateurs encompassing different genders and ages. This choir welcomes anyone who has a passion to sing. However, the choir was not something Lee had planned ahead. “To be honest, I didn’t have a particular vision to make a choir by myself. An acquaintance of mine was planning on a chorus tournament held by Goyang Culture Foundation, and was in need of three choirs. They suggested me to create a choir. I thought it was a great chance and started it since 2014," reminisced Lee. Now, he has great affection towards this choir, and explained that they are preparing for their third subscription concert this year.
As the conductor of Goyang Mixed Choir, Lee put great effort into his choir and therefore now has over 60 members. Lee showed great appreciation of the process of teaching the amateurs in his choir. It was his first time teaching people who didn’t have any professional skills, but found it charming. “It was actually fun to set up the people’s voices in the right way. They were curious on the vocalization methods, and were highly interested since my voice was different from theirs. I also felt thankful as they concentrated so much to sing better, and to be a better member of the choir," said Lee.
Lee also mentioned of challenges he face as a leader of a choir. “Singing in chorus is a lot different from singing alone. Unlike solos who only have to focus on their own techniques, each individual in a choir has to control their voice and achieve a harmony the conductor intends. However, this is difficult for amateurs since they can easily be swept away by the different voices around them,” Lee explained. He emphasized that conductors in amateur choirs should give the members motivation and a sense of purpose, instead of making a forceful atmosphere. “Fully understanding their situation is one of the virtues a conductor should have,” Lee asserted.
Living the life of an artist
Lee was more of a painter than a musician when he was a high school student. The school choir he attended as a hobby was the only music life he encountered. However, through his senior who performed in an opera, Lee saw the backstage of an opera by chance. He was fascinated by the actions going on behind the scenes. After that, his senior suggested him to sing after listening to his song and Lee eventually worked on it for 3 more extra years before he ended up in the Department of Vocal Music in Hanyang University.
After graduation, Lee made a debut in Rome. He applied for various contests and auditions to make a living overseas, and was scouted by Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Music. He entered the school to extend his study in songs and received a better result. Despite his age and racial disadvantages, he was scouted by Cecilia Theatre even before he graduated. As the school did not allowed a debut while attending school, Lee resolutely gave up his diploma and stood on stage. After a few years, Lee had to come back to Korea due to personal issues, but he did not give up. He found his way through his talents, continuing his opera life and even working as a conductor of choirs and orchestras at the same time.
Now Lee is both an outstanding singer and a conductor in Korea. However, he is still modest when he describes himself. “I am fully aware that I am not perfect. Therefore, I just try to do the best I can, testing my limits everyday”, Lee adverted. He also mentioned he wants to work in a more professional organization, but still wholeheartedly showed his passion towards his work. He constantly emphasized the interests he has towards assisting the members to achieve what they want. “I’m curious how long I can maintain this harmonization with the members. I don’t have a lot of intention to fulfill something in terms of music. I simply wish to maintain this positive relationship with my members for a long time,” said Kim.
On Jung-yun email@example.com
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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