Artist of the Week: Jin Lee

When was the last time you met an architect who knows how to play seven instruments? Senior Jin Lee first discovered his passion for architecture while at the Academy. During his last four years, Lee also expanded his love of music, learning to play five instruments since the beginning of his prep year.

Lee’s experience with musical instruments began with an understanding of the violin and clarinet at home. But living on his own, free from his mother’s influence, Lee was able to act on his own interests. From the moment he picked up a bass guitar that belonged to one of his friends, Lee fell in love with the instrument. “There was this moment of realization,” Lee said, “I realized that this was the sound that I want.”

After four years at Exeter, Lee has learned the bass guitar, the electric guitar, the acoustic guitar, the drums and the bagpipes. Starting all these new instruments was not hard for Lee. From the beginning, he found that Exeter was very supportive and felt confident in creating his own path. The amount of recognition Lee received for his talent was also a very encouraging factor. Although giving up classes, Lee makes the time to practice an instrument for at least an hour each day and likes jotting down his own lyrics.

Beyond the personal satisfaction his music brings him, Lee does not shy away from sharing his work. Currently a co-head of Exeter Association of Rock (EAR), he performs at every EAR concert and signs up to perform at Evening Prayer when he can. “Hands down, Jin is the best bassist I’ve ever met,” graduate Robin Kim’10, who performed with Lee last year, said. “I’m in college now at NYU and one of the biggest things I miss about high school is jamming with Jin. Performing with Jin [at the rock assembly] was by far the highest points of my life.” 

In addition, Lee has performed at meditation with Robert Squires, Lee’s instructor in guitar and voice, and was taken aback by Lee’s talent. “Jin is very professional and has a tremendous and deep feel for the music,” Squires said. “The performance [at meditation] was even better than I could have hoped. He is so gifted musically that he will be welcome in most any musical circles as a performer or a recording session musician.”

What may surprise many, however, is that Lee does not wish to go professional with his music. His passion for music is far too important for him to imagine viewing it as an obligation. “I love it so much that I don’t want to have to rely on it to put food on the table,” Lee said.

Along with music, Lee is also a very talented architect. Having started out in Architecture I during his prep year, Lee quickly moved up the levels and took Architecture 999 his upper winter. Throughout the years at Exeter, Lee has found that his music and architect are beginning to merge into one. “I love building things,” Lee said, “and now, I’m finding myself building guitars.”

Lee is positive that architecture is what he wants to do with his future. Merging music with architecture, Lee’s main goal is to build a concert hall with great acoustics under his name. “The acoustics are such a problem in concert halls, but if you can find a way to tune a building the concert experience could be so much better,” Lee said.

Senior Marc Gazda, who took Architecture II with Lee, believes that his friend has such a strong devotion and love for architecture, he comes up with things that are beyond imagination,” Gazda said. “You can see his mind racing when he’s coming up with new ideas. It’s kind of like watching a dance or a symphony.”



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