People Stories

Talent & Sector Development

Thinking beyond music

Colleen Lee: “Build on, break through, believe.”

Colleen Lee started learning the piano from the age of four. Funded by a Jockey Club Scholarship, she graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with first class honours. She received another scholarship from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund in 2003 to continue her studies at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media in Germany. Since then, she has won many awards and eventually developed her lifelong interest into a profession. The award-winning pianist humbly attributes her success to “luck”. “I am very lucky to have met many great teachers who allowed me to learn through trial and error, guiding me to better paths."

Grateful for the support of the Scholarship, Colleen feels her studies in Germany took her career to another level. “The Scholarship gave me peace of mind. I could concentrate on learning music and participating in contests. I met the renowned pianist Arie Vardi in a competition and was fortunate to be admitted to the school he was teaching. Under his guidance, I was inspired to think beyond the routine of music to excel.”

Colleen taught music after returning to Hong Kong. She did not insist that her students have "good grades”. What really mattered was to cultivate her students’ love and enjoyment of music. She believes that all music, whether classical or pop, creates positive energy and brings out people’s strengths.

“I am not asking all students to be professional musicians, but I hope that music can actively influence their lives. This is my educational philosophy." Colleen had a student who faced the choice between studying medicine or music. The student was encouraged to turn piano playing into a hobby which could buffer the pressure from studies and life. She hopes music can help students face challenges in life with generosity of spirit and more open minds.

Did you know?

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarships programme hopes students it supports will not only fulfil their academic potential, but also serve the community.

Over the past 25 years, scholarship recipients have come from a wide range of backgrounds, from local Chinese students to ethnic minority students, and from those who pursue music, atmospheric science, aerospace engineering and zoology, to budding teachers and educators. The programme has supported a number of students with special learning needs.

All scholarship recipients are members of The Jockey Club Scholars Alumni Association, forming a close-knit group to perform community service.