Young soloist selected as junior finalist


Evelyn Lee, a freshman at Rigby High School, has been selected as a junior finalist in the Idaho Falls Symphony’s Young Artist Competition.

She sent an audition video of her playing Chaconne, a piece by Vitali.

“The piece is very beautiful and not too technical so I could focus on musicality and playing with expression,” Lee said, “I am so excited to be selected.”

All the finalists will perform Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Colonial Theater and three judges will choose a winner from each division. The winners will perform their solos with orchestral accompaniment in the Idaho Falls Symphony’s final concert of the season on April 27. Winners will receive $1,000 in the senior division and $500 for the junior division.

Lee said she isn’t nervous about the performance.

“Once I start playing I forget about people. I close my eyes and just play,” she said. “My teacher says, ‘Be the music. Tell a story and bring emotion to the piece.’ For me, memorizing music is easy and I sometimes disengage myself. Now I have purpose—to tell a story and help the audience visualize and feel the same story. You really have to focus on to get this across.”

The competition is held biennially, and this year five junior and six senior finalists were chosen from among the 30 applicants from around the state and region.

“It will be a tough competition and I’m looking forward to hearing what these musicians have in store for us,” Thomas Heuser, symphony director, wrote in a press release.

“It’s a wonderful experience she gets to have,” said Evelyn’s mother, Heidi Lee. “She has really blossomed into an amazing musician.”

Lee began studying violin at age 5 from her mother, who has a degree in violin performance. She grew up playing music with her siblings and also plays the piano.

“I love playing music with my family. I’ll play the violin, my brother his cello and my mother will sing, and it is just a beautiful experience.”

She graduated from Suzuki at age 12 while taking lessons from Annalee Kelly. She also studied with Allen Lieb, Geoffrey Trabichoff and currently with Emma Rubenstein. She is a first violinist and concertmaster in the Idaho Falls Youth Symphony and was a winner of the IFYS 2018 Annual Concerto Competition.

She also served as concertmaster in the faculty/advanced orchestra at the Idaho Suzuki Summer Institute. She would like to pursue a career in violin performance.

“If I didn’t go into music I feel like I would be wasting a gift that I have,” she said. “It’s my talent. It’s my thing. People enjoy listening to my music. It’s blessing others with my talent and not just myself.”

As the youngest contestant, Lee says she feels honored and wants to do her best.

“I hope I can play naturally and do my best to compete with these amazing musicians,” she said.