Jae Cosmos Lee

Simply put, Jae is an idealist. He is often attracted to things less conformed, be it font type, flicks, coffee beans, bands, neighborhoods or combinations of pizza toppings. A lot of people ask him where his middle name “Cosmos” comes from: He was baptized in the Catholic church (unfortunately, no longer a participating member) at age 2 along with his little brother, and as a pair they were given baptismal names of brother saints, Cosmus and Damian. When his family moved to the US, the name “Cosmus” was mistranslated into “Cosmos”, and though unintentionally changed, “Cosmos” was the version that made it onto the legal papers.His family moved around frequently during his early years, and though he had started playing the violin at age 3, by the time he entered high school, he had already switched teachers a dozen times. Having spent 10 years of his life in Korea, and thanks to the steadfast prodding of his novelist mother, he is still thoroughly bi-lingual. His love for music has always been apparent, whether while conducting and singing in his 3rd grade class choir or mixing beats of Dutch and Chicago house records in front of sweaty ravers later in his college days. But the moment he started playing chamber music, and string quartets in particular, he knew it would be a life long passion.

For many summers, Jae attended Kneisel Hall, an intimate chamber music festival on the shores of the Down East Maine region. Upon finishing college, he flocked around the US, living on the left coast of San Francisco, the eastern front range of the Rocky mountains (where he became obsessed with snowboarding), and in a basement apartment with no natural light in New York City. And in the middle of all this migratory living he strongly bonded with the history, beauty, and the good people of Kneisel Hall, which remained his only invariable home over those years.

Violinwise, he has played in different continents, countries, cities, communities and festivals, has won some prizes, collaborated with a bunch of luminaries, and studied with great teachers at schools considered “prestigious” as far as classical training goes. Although he understands the current marketplace necessities of having to drop more than a few names for recognition, he’d rather give hugs and tell Nordic children’s fairy tales to approach strangers. He is a boisterously rabid fan of the Boston Red Sox, loves his filet grilled over an open fire, dives frequently in attempts to catch Frisbees on both sides of the end zone, and believes his ceaseless loyalty to his friends and family will one day be the seed to a self-governed artist colony on a small island off the eastern coast of Panama.