Kyung-Sook Lee studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia under Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Rudolf Serkin. Prior to her studies in the United States, she won the Grand Prize at Ewha and Kyung-Hyang Piano Music Competitions in Korea. In 1967 after completing her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, she went on to win prizes at the Philadelphia Orchestra Auditions and the Geneva International Music Competition. In 1968, she performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra which was nationally broadcasted in the United States.
Subsequently, she has played with numerous distinguished artists including Christian Ferras, Pierre Fournier, Eudice Shapiro, Aaron Rosand, Julius Baker, Dmitri Yablonsky, Paul Tortolie and Alto Noras. She also performed with many international orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, L’orchestra de la Suisse Romande, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
After returning to Korea in 1980, she actively pursued several ambitious musical projects such as performing the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven, Mozart, and Prokofiev during the period of 1988 to 1991, followed by that of Samuel Barber in 2000. She also performed all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos during a single concert in 1987, as well as all three of Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos in 1993, also during a single concert performance. All of these performance series were unique and sensational events as they had never been attempted before in Korea.
In recognition of her remarkable musical achievements, she was awarded numerous prizes and accolades over the years. Among them are, “Musician of the Year” (Donga Music, 1985), “Artist of the Year”(Korea Critics Association, 1987), Nanpa Music Award (1988), Order of Ok-Kwan Culture (1994) and Korea Culture & Arts Award (1995) both from the Ministry of Culture, and National Academy of Arts Award (2007).
Kyung-Sook Lee also is devoted and respected music educator. She was appointed as the first dean of the College of Music at the Korea National University of Arts at time that the conservatory was founded by the Korean Government in 1993. She was also dean of the College of Music, Yonsei University, as well as a director of the Seoul Arts Center.
She has served on the jury of Munich International Piano Competition, Takahiro Sonoda Piano Competition, International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, Seoul International Piano Competition and Yun I-Sang International Piano Competition.
Currently, Kyung-Sook Lee is a professor emeritus at the College of Music, Yonsei University, Musical Director of the chamber group “Curtis and Friends” , a member of the National Academy of Arts, the Republic of Korea and a endowed-chair professor at the Seoul Cyber University.