- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) - A Rochester Hills piano phenom will take her talents to Las Vegas in a national competition in March.

Katherine Lee, 14, a freshman at Rochester High School, won the East Central Division of the Music Teachers National Association Junior Piano Competition Jan. 17 in Wisconsin.

“Each piece told a different story,” Lee’s mother, Huan Sun, told The Oakland Press ( https://bit.ly/1CqxOd5 ) . “She did a good job mixing between technical aspects and musical presentation.”

Lee previously won a state competition in October to qualify for the event.

Lee, who is also an accomplished swimmer, has been focusing on piano for the past six years, her mother said. Lee now practices at least an hour each day and much more when school is in recess.

“I’ve always really enjoyed music,” she said. “It’s easy to express myself musically.

“As I’ve gotten better, I’ve improved (my) technique. It’s easier to put my feelings into it and tell the story.”

At 8 years old, Lee began training with Faye Mao in Troy and quickly showed marked improvement, Sun said.

“We saw (her) talent,” she said.

Lee has been quite successful in recent years, winning numerous competitions. She was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City at age 11 and also performed at the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington D.C. last summer, Sun said.

Lee has earned honorable mention in the MTNA state competition the past two years. She now has eight weeks to prepare for the national competition, where she will face six other finalists.

A straight ‘A’ student, her mother said, Lee also plays benefit concerts and regularly volunteers at the Older Persons’ Commission in Rochester. She’s also had her artwork featured at the Rochester Community Schools Administration Building and the Paint Creek Art Gallery. Lee has developed an interest in origami and now searches out new projects online.

Although she’s not expecting to play piano professionally, Lee said she would like to help others with her talent, possibly through volunteering. She hopes to one day attend an Ivy League school.

“I’m going to see where my life takes me,” she said. “I have absolutely no idea right now.”


Information from: The Oakland Press, https://www.theoaklandpress.com

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