Dae Lee has directed Signature Sounds since September 2019, we caught up with him at the start of the government lock-down to find out how his first year with us has been going:

What has been the worst or most memorable thing that has happened during one of your performances – as a performer/director/accompanist etc?

As a performer, I once forgot to pack my bass drum pedal. We ended up Macgyver’ing one with the plate of a guitar pedal and some springs we found at the theatre bar – it did not work.

Who is your musical inspiration?

I deeply admire Leonard Bernstein, who I believe to be one of the most versatile musicians of all time. He conducted, composed, arranged, performed and educated to the highest degree.

What inspires you to perform and teach?

My previous teachers, i guess. There can be a sense of snobbery amongst a number of musicians towards those who teach. Yet, they forget that they themselves were taught by cats at the top.

Using a relatable example, if we look back to September, SigSo would not be creating the sound and feel they do now. It is extremely rewarding to see students and ensembles progress. It’s infectious!

Which instrument do you wish you had learned?

Although I learnt it briefly, I wish I had taken my piano playing more seriously, espeically in terms of sight reading ‘on the fly’. It is my kryptonite.

What musical advice would you give to your younger self?

Stop comparing yourselves to others (musically) – the ones at the top are because they sound like themselves. Still working on this one….

What musical moment are you most proud of?

My first performance at the Royal Albert Hall. I frequent the BBC Proms every year and always wanted to perform at this venue. It was a very special feeling to be on that stage.

Which three words describe you as a musician?

Aware, decisive, neurotic!

What is your favourite memory of working with Music at Reading?

Probably our first gig at Mojo’s. The band really pulled it out of the bag and it was great to hear what we had achieved in a terms worth of rehearsals.

What is the soundtrack of your lockdown?

Okay, so i’ve been digging this recently….

What are you most excited for when lockdown is over?

Making music with other humans.