Berklee’s Yoon-Ji Lee Receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Lee, an assistant professor of composition, creates music based on unconventional and nonlinear structures that weaves together acoustic and electroacoustic mediums.

April 17, 2024
Yoon-Ji Lee

Yoon-Ji Lee

Image courtesy of the artist

Yoon-Ji Lee, an assistant professor in the Composition Department at Berklee College of Music, has been named a recipient of the 2024 Guggenheim Fellowship. A native of South Korea, Lee creates music based on unconventional and nonlinear structures. Marked by a dynamic emphasis on rapid juxtaposition and transformation of disparate elements, her compositions weave together acoustic and electroacoustic mediums, embracing interdisciplinary multimedia and intercultural influences while delving into themes rooted in contemporary society, history, and culture. 

During her fellowship tenure, she plans to focus on refining her experimental, intercultural, and multimedia opera Sunday Supper, which explores themes of love, control, and alienation through the lens of an immigrant family of Korean heritage. 

Lee received her PhD from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at New York University, her master’s degree and graduate diploma from New England Conservatory, and her bachelor’s degree from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. She has received numerous fellowships and artist residencies, including the McKnight Visiting Composer Fellowship, the Fromm Music Foundation Commission, the Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, Yaddo, National Sawdust, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others. Lee’s music has been performed in Korea and the U.S. by ensembles including the JACK Quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin (also known as KNM Berlin), Argento Chamber Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, and Ensemble MISE-EN. 

“It is such an honor to join the esteemed community of Guggenheim Fellows," says Lee. "I am so grateful for my family, mentors, friends, and colleagues, whose unwavering support has fueled my artistic journey. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Composition Department at Berklee for collaborating to bring our shared artistic vision for the department to life, as well as to Richard Carrick, the chair, and Dean Matthew Nicholl, for supporting my artistic endeavors.”

Lee is one of 188 recipients of the fellowship in 2024. This year's recipients range in ages from 28 to 89 and include a diverse group of artists, scholars, novelists, poets, photographers, historians, essayists, and scientists representing 38 states and Washington, DC, as well as Puerto Rico, India, France, and the United Kingdom.

Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Fellowship program has been a significant source of support for artists and scholars in the humanities and social sciences and for scientific researchers. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted over $400 million in fellowships to more than 19,000 individuals, including Nobel laureates, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medalists, poets laureate, members of the national academies, and more.

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