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Hochstein String Department - Cora Swenson Lee

Instrument/Department: Cello, Suzuki Cello, Chamber Music

Joined Hochstein faculty: Summer 2016 - Summer 2020

Cora Swenson Lee is a cellist and Baroque cellist who performs actively in the Boston and Rochester areas. Cora began her studies in Chicago at the age of 4. Her most influential teachers have been professors Alan Harris and Marc Johnson. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree from Boston University College of Fine Arts. Lee is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Cello Performance at the Eastman School of Music.

Lee is currently on the faculty at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance in Rochester, NY. She also works as a teaching assistant for Prof. Alan Harris and as a secondary lesson instructor at the Eastman School of Music. She is also a passionate chamber musician.

She has performed in venues across the United States and internationally. Her early music ensemble, Trio Speranza, concertizes each season, and in 2014 won the Presentation Prize at Early Music America’s Baroque Performance Competition. Lee is a member of Emmanuel Music and Boston Baroque, and has also performed with the Handel and Haydn Society, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New World Symphony.


More About Cora Swenson Lee 

Hometown: Fox River Grove, Illinois (outside of Chicago)

What inspires me: Performing for people from all walks of life, and seeing how the same great music can touch each of them profoundly, if in different ways. 

Why the arts matter: Nothing is more satisfying than acquiring a new skill, but this is especially true when that process allows you to connect with others through the beauty and joy found in the arts. 

Favorite things to do in Rochester: Walk East Ave looking at the beautiful homes, explore new neighborhoods, and find local gems (restaurants, shops, artisans)

When I'm not at Hochstein, you can find me: In classes at Eastman, where I'm working on my DMA, or at home spending time with my husband and our cat!

My favorite local restaurant(s): How can I choose?? White Swans Asia Cafe, Seoul House, Glen Edith Coffee Roasters ... Too many to name

Favorite places to travel: Hong Kong and Chicago - where our families live. 

Favorite season: Fall! Crisp weather, cozy sweaters, and back to school!

What people would be surprised to know about me: I'm trying to learn Cantonese!

Press quotes: Praised by the San Francisco Classical Voice for playing "with maturity and panache." After a performance of Mendelssohn's String Octet with Emmanuel Music, where she was a 2014-15 season Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow, the Boston Musical Intelligencer stated "Swenson Lee, whom I had not heard previously, was a treat to discover..."