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Okkyung Lee
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Photo credit: Eun Chun

Presenting a rare London appearance by South Korean composer and improviser Okkyung Lee, whose extended use of the cello moves freely between artistic disciples and contingencies, creating vast sonic landscapes across noise, jazz, western classical, as well as her homeland's traditional and popular music. The artist’s unique approach to her instrument has seen acclaimed releases on legendary New York composer John Zorn’s Tzadik label, as well as the influential experimental music imprint Editions Mego, run by the late Peter Rehberg. Appearing on more than 30 albums, Lee’s expansive practice across art and avant-garde music has seen her collaborate with the likes of Laurie Anderson, Arca, David Behrman, Chris Corsano, Mark Fell, Douglas Gordon, Jenny Hval, Vijay Iyer, Christian Marclay, Bill Orcutt, Marina Rosenfeld, and John Zorn among others. She has performed in equally varied contexts, whether embarking on an extended tour with the renowned experimental rock band Swans or collaborating with visual artist Haroon Mizra.

Best for her improvisational work utilising visceral extended techniques for the last two decades, she started developing site-specific works, responding to its architecture, audience, or objects surrounding her, producing an immersive experience that also challenges the built-in hierarchy in traditional concert settings.

Okkyung Lee She has been commissioned to compose music and assemble projects for Time Spans Festival (New York, USA), Groupe de Recherches Musicales (Paris, France), Sonic Acts Festival (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Borealis Festival (Bergen, Norway), Donaueschingen Music Festival (Donaueschingen, Germany) and Nam June Paik Art Center (Yong-In, South Korea). She has performed in Museum of Modern Art (New York), Whitney Museums of American Art (New York, USA), The Met Breuer (New York, USA), Museum Tinguely (Basel, Switzerland), Museo del Novecento (Milan, Italy), Serpentine Galleries (London, UK), White Cube Galleries (London, UK) and many others. 

In 2010, Lee received Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2015. She has been awarded residencies at Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy in 2015 and Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany in 2017.

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