• Sumi Lee

    Pianist for Classical & Tango Music

  • Sumi Lee


    Born in Seoul, Korea, Ms. Lee started learning how to play piano at age of four taught by her mother at first.


    Two years later she won her first gold medal at the national piano competition and went on to win the Korea daily newspaper, Dong-A daily newspaper and National music institution competition, which are some of the most prestigious piano competitions in Korea.

    When she was in junior high, she had an opportunity to get European style training when she attended Summer Academy “Mozarteum” in Salzburg, Austria and studied with Professor Christoph Lieske .


    She attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and obtained her Master's degree after studying with Professor Mack McCray and Professor Justin Blasdale. She has also appeared in master classes with Professor Jin-Woo Jung, Daniel Pollack, Sharon Mann and Harpsichord Professor Laurett Goldberg. She has studied instrumental and vocal accompanying with Professor Tim Bach at the Conservatory and she also privately studied opera coaching / vocal accompanying with Professor Marcie Stapp, 2002-2007


    She has performed many times as a soloist and an accompanist:

    Her piano performances were featured in vocal ensemble, chamber music ensemble, solo recitals, piano & guitar duo concert with guitarists Florante Aguilar & Michael Walsh, September 2004.


    She also worked as an opera rehearsal and concert accompanist with Golden Gate Opera in 2002 (Carmen), Golden West Opera in 2004-2005 (Madama Butterfly), Eastbay Aria Club in 2007-2009 (Cosi fan tutti, Don Giovanni), Peninsula Teen Opera in 2008, San Francisco Boys Chorus in 2006-2007, San Francisco Girls Chorus in 2007, Mayflower Community Chorus in 2001-2002, San Francis Drake high school Chorus and many professional opera singers.


    She also taught music in Redwood City school district and classical piano at East Bay Center of Performing Art, Northern California Music & Art center and at Marin Country Day School, Corte Madera, CA during 2004-2009.


    Many of her students have made the honor rolls on Certificate of Merit, statewide evaluation in California, and many of her advanced level students were chosen to play for MTAC- SF branch festival concert every year 2008-2017.


    Summer of 2016, her love of Piazzolla music lead her to discover the beauty, passion and complexity of Argentine tango music and she is currently pursuing to be a professional tango musician and studying with top tango piano teachers in Buenos Aires, Argentina such as Nicolás Ledesma, Pablo Estigarribia, and many more. April of 2017, she got accepted to the prestigious tango orchestra school, " La Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce" as a pianist for 14th orchestra and being taught by living legends and world renowned tango musicians such as Víctor Lavallén, Ignacio Varchausky, Cristian Asato, Ramiro Boero, Guillermo Rubino, Patricio Cotella and many guest faculty. She hopes to play, write and produce her own contemporary tango music in the future.


    Her other interests include education, technology, women and children's welfare, psychology, art, travel, language, food, wine, etc...


    She is currently serving Music Teacher's Association of California (MTAC) , San Francisco as a board of director.


  • Sample Videos

    Cuando caigan las hojas de Emilio Balcarce

    Mundial tango festival 2018

    CSi sos brujo de Emilio Balcarce

    Mundial tango festival 2018

    Zamba de Usted by Ariel Ramirez / Feliz Luna, arranged by Carlos Garcia & played by Sumi Feb 2018

    L'isle joyeuse "The Joyful Island" By Debussy

    Live recording @San Francisco Conservatory of Music 2005

    La yumba, Pugliese

    "A la Orquesta Escuela de Tango" de Emilio Balcarce

    Mundial tango festival 2018

    Aquellos Tangos camperos (tango) - horacio salgan

    La Bordona, de Emilio Balcarce

    Usina del arte

    Bailar contigo de Pablo Estigarribia

    Jazz Fantasy by MOZART - BY fazil SAY

    Grillito, de Horacio Salgán

    Usina del arte

    Danzarin de Julián Plaza, de Aníbal Troilo

    Jorge Luis Borges de la Biblioteca Nacional

    Melancolico buenos aires de Astor Piazzolla

    Usina del arte

    La cumparsita de juan d'arienzo

    Mundial, Tango festival 2017 at usina del arte, Buenos Aires

    La Maleva de Victor lavallen

    Jorge Luis Borges de la Biblioteca Nacional

    Cuidado conlos 50 de Carlos di Sarli


    El Abrojito, de Victor lavallen,

    Centro Cultural Kirchner

    Si sos brujo de Emilio Balcarce

    USINA DEL ARTE, Buenos Aires

    Chopin Ballade No. 1 Op.23. recital Live recording


    Live recording, San Francisco Conservatory of Music 2005

    La Muerte del angel - Astor piazzolla

    1st movement, beethoven piano sonata, Tempest


    2nd movement, beethoven piano sonata, Tempest


    3rd movement, beethoven piano sonata, Tempest


    La Orquesta de tango, emilio balcarce

    Segment from Mundial, tango festival 2017

  • Lessons

    While I was studying at Conservatory, I realized and appreciated the importance of cultivating and establishing fundamental skills while a strong passion to learn exist. Accordingly, I make myself readily available to my students to foster their queries. Since I have a strong classical training back ground, I focus on Classical piano technique and ear training at the time, Upon request, I also teach different style of music such as new age music, Broadway, Hymns and Pop.

    My teaching concentrates on music theory, sight-reading, music history and techniques: Reading, fingering, pedaling, notation, chords, harmony, scales, rhythm, improvisation, performing technique, how and what to practice to avoid carpal-tunnel syndrome. Students typically work in a method text book along side of repertoire. Each method will vary based on the student's goals and abilities.


    • About the lessons
    1. Beginner students start with learning note names, rhythms and basic music terminology, theory, good posture for playing the piano and more.
    2. Advanced students will work toward improving their technique through scale work, fingering & rhythm exercises, touch, pedaling and an exposure to a wide variety of piano literature.

    *you must have regular access to a piano or keyboard.


    • What results to expect 

    Much of what will come from your study of piano depends on you.

    Don't expect to learn to play overnight. Thing of as you are learning a second language. It will take time and dedication. To really become a proficient pianist you must be able and willing to set aside time each day and week for practice between lessons. This means

    If you don’t, there is little point in studying the piano. Becoming a brilliant pianist rarely happens overnight. However, if you practice regularly and follow the instructions I provide you will improve regardless of your current level and learn to play music you never thought you could play before. Just remember that it takes time and work.

    I believe that all students have a seed of ability. With a good method, dedicated teacher and big desire, that seed can grow into a talent and accomplishment that can be very rewarding and even superior. While some students may learn more quickly than others, it is more important than we are concerned with individual feeling of accomplishment. Therefore, students and parents must be careful about expectations they have for their children or themselves. You may not see progress instantly or consistently, but if there is a sincere effort, encouraging, praising environment, there will be a great reward. A music education and an exposure to music makes life fuller and richer.


    • Current lesson fee at my studio in SF.

    45min: $70

    60min: $85

    Sample video of student's performance

    16 yr old student playing plays Novelette in B flat minor No. 2 - Francis Poulenc. 2016 MTAC-SF Certificate of Merit Honor recital @ Knuth Hall, San Francisco State University

    15 yr old student playing Impromptu Op.90 No.4 by Schubert @ MTAC-SF Certificate of Merit Honor recital 2015 @SFSU

    12 yr old playing Prelude No.3 from Six short preludes - Bach @ Steinway piano hall, SF 2016

    12 yr old student playing 12yo playing Romanian Folk dances (Stick dance) Béla Bartók (1881-1945) @ Steinway piano hall, SF 2016

    11 yr old playing Waltz in A minor (Op. Posthumous) - Chopin

    2016 MTAC-SF Honor Certificate of Merit recital @ Knuth Hall, San Francisco State University

    10 yo student playing Sonatina in G major by Diabelli@Steinway piano hall, SF

    10 yo student playing The little white donkey- Jacques Ibert @Steinway piano hall, SF

    10 yr old student Sorocaba - Darius Milhaud @MTAC-SF Certificate of Merit Honor recital 2016 @SFSU

    10 yr old student playing Sonatina in C major (Op. 55, No.1) Vivace - Kuhlau @ MTAC-SF Certificate of Merit Honor recital 2015 @SFSU

    9 yr old student playing Sonatina in C major (Op. 36, No.1) Allegro by Clementi @ MTAC-SF Certificate of Merit Honor recital 2015 @SFSU

    9 yr old student playing Minuet in G major by Bach & Ballade Opus 100, No. 15 By Burgmuller @ Steinway piano hall, SF

    Noelle 7 yo & Noah P 6 yo - Arirang duet 4 hands, 2012 @Steinway piano hall, SF



    7 year old student playing,


    Evening in the country No.5 - Bartok,
    Invention No 1 in C major BWV 772 - Bach

    10 year old student

    Adult student playing Impromptu Op. 90 No. 2 by Schubert

  • Interested in taking lessons, booking, collaborating?

    Please drop me a line.

    San Francisco, CA