Praised for his imagination on sound expressivity, virtuosity and energy, Mon-Puo was born in Madrid (Spain) in December of 1993.
A Spanish cellist born into a Taiwanese artistic family, he began his musical education at an early age. At four he began studying cello with Professor Arancha López and later with Fanica Sandu and Professor Michal Dmchowski. In addition to his cello, he also studied piano and voice.
From 2009-2014 he studied at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía of Madrid with Professor Natalia Shakhovskaya, where he was awarded a Tuition Scholarship of the Department of Education of the Community of Madrid and Albéniz Foundation. Since 2014, he has also studied with Ivan Monighetti, and from 2015 he has studied in the UDK of Berlin under Jens Peter Maintz.
In 2010 he was awarded with the title of extraordinary musician in his hometown. In 2011 he won first prize in the Young Talents Competition in Colmenar Viejo (Madrid). In 2012 he won first prize at the VII International Competition Karl Davydov and the Award for Outstanding Performances by the works of Karl Davydov in Kuldiga, Latvia. In 2013 he won one of the top prizes in the Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, Austria. In 2014 he won the first prize in the International Pedro Bote Competition in Spain, and he was awarded the diploma for the most outstanding string chamber group of his school, by her Majesty the Queen Sofia of Spain. In 2015 he won the first prize and the special OSPA prize in the international cello competition of Llanes (Asturias).
Among his latest successes he has been awarded the fellowship organized by "Juventudes Musicales de Madrid" to continue his musical studies outside of Spain where “he displayed an enormous emotional as well as technical control under high pressure". He won second prize at the Isang YUN International Cello Competition in Tongyeong (South Korea). In April 2016 he won first prize in the International Chamber music Bacewicz competition, which resulted in an invitation to perform in the Festival Academy of Budapest in 2017. In June 2016, he won first prize at the Berlin Philharmonic Debut Competition.
He was part of the Verbier Festival Academy, and was invited to perform in the Festival "Les Vacances de Monsieur Haydn" in France in 2016. Most recently he won Third prize at the George Enescu Festival Competition in Bucharest, Romania. In December 2016, he will be performing in the Festival Internacional de Música de Cámara "Fundación Monteleón" in Spain, and will be part of the Internationale Musikakademie in Liechtenstein.
He plays a Cello Made by Jose Contreras Ex tortelier (1764) and a bow made by Maire,both loaned generously from the CHIMEI foundation in Taiwan.
Some of the next engagements includes concerts with the Symphonic Orchestra of Asturias, Symphonic Orchestra of Extremadura, and recitals in Lódz (Philarmonie), Taiwan, Munich (Gasteig), Paris, London and Chicago.
The WFSIC Team caught up with Mon Puo Lee to get to know him and the person behind the cello.
What inspired you to pursue a career in performance?
First of all, the love for music. Secondly, I wanna express myself and my own ideas in music. It allows me to get to know myself in a deeper way. Practicing is like meditation for me, every single day I get in contact with my feelings. The more you practice, the more exciting it gets. Also, being a musician creates you a very unique style of life. Travel a lot, get to know an incredible amount of people and party like crazy but also finding time for yourself. It’s a nice way to balance your life.
If you were not a cellist, what would your dream job be?
I am very curious about other areas of life. I love to take photographs and to write . I would love to be a DJ as well as a reporter, and also risky sports excite me a lot. Definitely some job which involves adventure.
Is there a particular place you would really like to perform?
I dream to play something in the top of a mountain in new Zealand for example or an underwater concert. Wouldn't that be something exciting to do ? Also, i would really like to play in the Opera House of Dubai. It just looks so fancy!
Something not many people know about you?
It should still be an unknown. I wanna keep some mystery in my persona. If I keep talking I will be spoiled!!