Making Music for Truly Being Human

That is the mission of Joanna Jimin Lee, pianist and Catholic nun

Picture: Manu Nitsch

Joanna Jimin Lee, aged fourteen at the time, found her calling to become a musician following a concert with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra. Her first major international success came at the Chopin Competition in Darmstadt while she was studying with Ekaterina Mourina in St.Petersburg.

Continuing her studies with Wolfgang Watzinger in Vienna and Hans Leygraf in Salzburg, she was awarded numerous prizes at well-known international competitions, such as Porto, Zaragoza and Geneva. In 2000 she won the Bösendorfer Competition in Vienna.

Joanna Jimin Lee completed both her studies at the Mozarteum and Avedis Kouyoumdjian’s  masterclass of chamber music in Vienna with distinction. As a postgraduate, she began her studies with Stefan Arnold in Vienna. She also attended masterclasses with Claus-Christian Schuster, Klaus Hellwig and Pierre-Laurent Aimard. It was György Kurtág who had a profound influence on her career as a musician.

While a professor at “Ewha Womans University” in Seoul, Ms. Lee rediscovered her childhood desire to enter a religious order. At the time when her CD of the complete Chopin Etudes (Genuin) was praised for her musical expression beyond mere manual dexterity, she was received into the Catholic order of “Missionarinnen Christi”.

In 2013, Jimin Lee returned to Vienna, where she is employed by the Archdiocese of Vienna to provide pastoral guidance for students of music. She is also responsible for music programmes in her work at “Quo vadis”, a meeting place operated by the Catholic religious orders in Austria.

That she is a concert pianist is regarded by her order not only as a gift but also as a mission.