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Inaugural Concert Next Week Cellist Lee Joins New Glendale Philharmonic

When the new Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra kicks off its inaugural season this month, Beverly Hills’ August Lee will be featured in the cello section.

Lee, a student of Ruslan Biryukov, founder of the orchestra, is happy to have been invited to join.

“I think it could be very successful,”  Lee says. “There are good players; and I feel like I’m studying something new with new people. It feels good.”

Besides J.S. Bach’s Prelude from Violin Partita N. 3 in E Major, Karl Jenkins’ concerto  grosso Palladio, Vocalise by Arno Babajanian, Symphony for String Orchestra and Timpani by Edward Mirzoyan; the concert will feature the world premiere of Andante Dolente & Scherzo by Andrey Rubtsov with soloists Biryukov and Maksim Velichkin.

With a fondness for romantic and baroque works, and “not a fan” of much modern music, Lee enjoys his part in Rubtsov’s new piece. “I love it,” he says.

Lee also feels at home with his 13 other mostly Russian and Armenian colleagues. (Mikael Avetisyan, artistic director and principal conductor plans to expand the group in the near future).

Lee comes to Beverly Hills after leaving his native South Korea to study for seven years at the Moscow Conservatory.

Lee started playing the piano  at 5 and switched to the cello at 8 after seeing Janos Starker.

At 18, Lee played for Kiril Rodin, the international Tchai-kovsky Competition Gold Medal winner and was invited to study at the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory.

“So my Russian is much  better than my English,” Lee says.

At 25, Lee is also looking to expand his horizons. He’s hoping to take classes at USC and study “other things” like history, languages or maybe even chemistry.

The cello though will always be his main focus; and he plans to attend the Colburn School. His master of music degree includes qualification as a soloist and teacher and he has students in San Diego; though he’s hoping to get some closer to his new home.

Lee would say he’s carrying on the family business. His great-grandfather, Sun Yu Lee, was the founder of the Eastern style of traditional Korean singing; his grandfather Jae Ho Lee was a celebrated folk music composer, and his father Beom Seung is a successful Vienna-educated conductor and composer, now “taking a break” in the U.S., Lee says.

The concert will be at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9 at the nearly 100-year-old First Bap-

tist Church of Glendale—the philharmonic’s home—at 209 N. Louise St. (at Wilson Ave.).

Tickets range from $15 to $50 and may be purchased by calling 323-663-3601 or online at  or Russian- speaking patrons may call 323-463-7224.—Steve Simmons

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