Artist of the Issue: Gabe Lee Wins LHS Concerto Competition


Cellist Gabe Lee. Photo by Natalie Schroder

Tara Pai and Sapphire Wang

Gabe Lee, a junior cellist in Lexington High School’s Chamber Orchestra won the 2021 LHS Concerto Competition, and will perform his winning piece with the Chamber Orchestra in Nov. 2022.

The Concerto Competition began with an open round, in which participants submitted a three minute video of them playing a concerto of their choice with their instrument of expertise. Ten finalists advanced to the second round of the competition, where the overall winner was determined.

“It was kind of on my own accord to just sign up for the concerto competition and sort of practice on my own,” Lee said.

Lee won by playing his favorite piece: Dmitri Shostakovitch’s Cello Concerto No. 1. In his free time, Lee blends classical and contemporary music, frequently pairing his cello skills with beatboxing. He composed a beatboxing-cello medley in his composing class and cites Kevin Olusola, the beatboxer of the a capella group Pentatonix, as his musical inspiration. 

“I watched enough of his videos to learn how to play cello and beatbox at the same time, so I think that’s something I feel is more unique about me that I like to be proud of,” Lee said.

Lee is also heavily influenced by his family. His father graduated from a music college, and his older brother, a violinist, won the Concerto Competition when Lee was a freshman.

“My freshman year, I did the concerto competition and then I made it to the finalist round, but I didn’t win. But my brother won so I thought that was cool,” Lee said.

Lee is interested in pursuing music in college and professionally.

“I hope I can release an EP sometime in my life. I am also thinking about auditioning for music college, maybe get a few performance opportunities along the way as well, and hopefully get a stable job in music production,” Lee said.

Since the beginning of his musical journey, Lee has grown under the guidance of his private teacher, “Mr. G”, who also teaches at Manchester Community Music School.

“He just helps me a lot with being interested in music … Somehow, I never really tell him about competitions. It’s just like, I’ll see what I do with this and then if I win I’ll tell him, right?” Lee said.