Irvine musical wunderkinds


Four Irvine prodigies spent their summers with Carnegie Hall’s national youth ensembles – a tribute to their remarkable achievements.

Violinists Minjae Jaden Kim and Rubi Lee and cellist Jiin Yun traveled to seven North American cities with the National Youth Orchestra, while bassist Paul Gong joined a residency working with top U.S. musicians who spent five days touring the Dominican Republic.

The four teens were among 109 outstanding young musicians selected from throughout the country, but the honor wasn’t the first for any of them. They all have star-studded resumes:

• Kim, 16, performed at Carnegie Hall at age 10 and has won first prizes from VOCE, ASTA and the Satori Grand Final. In his free time, he plays ice hockey.

• Lee, 15, has won the grand prize in the Satori Strings Grand Prize Contest. She says her favorite food is an In-N-Out cheeseburger.

• Yun, 16, has won first prize at the Bellagrande International Music Competition and “Grand Prize Virtuoso” at the International Music Competition Salzburg. She writes poems and participates in science Olympiads.

• Gong, 16, belongs to the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. Besides double bass, he plays piano, cello and trombone.

Kim and Lee both studied with Irvine teachers Yuki Mori and Min Jung Park, who met (they later married) while attending the Juilliard School of Music and later moved their studio from L.A. to Irvine.

“We had serious students in L.A., but here they are definitely more serious, advanced and driven,” Mori says. “I think it’s something to do with the Irvine school system, which gives each student an instrument in the fourth grade.”

Connect With Us

"*" indicates required fields

By registering you are agreeing to the Irvine Company Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.