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Embracing the New Name : From Seong-Hwan LEE
to Whan RI-AHN

Dear friends, dear all,


I am writing to share a significant update with you.

Effective immediately, I am embracing the new name: Whan Ri-Ahn (이안 환), bidding farewell to my previous identity as Seong-Hwan Lee (이승환). This decision has been made after careful consideration and reflects my true essence.

Although the surname remains the same in Korean, 이, I will now be spelling it in English as Ri, rather than Lee. The adoption of the surname Ri holds deep significance as it pays homage to my family's origins in North Korea. My grandparents hail from Sonchon, North Korea, having made the courageous decision to leave before the end of the war. My grandfather, Won-mo Ri, a Korean war veteran, left his siblings behind in the North. By reverting to the name Ri, I honour his legacy and our enduring ties to my family in both Koreas, aspiring to one day reunite with our relatives and his siblings there, if they are still alive. My biggest dream, as a composer, is to one day contribute my music for permanent peace in Korea. I felt a strong necessity to go back and find my roots to chase after this dream.


Additionally, I am proud to incorporate my mother's surname, Ahn, into my new identity. This decision stems from deep reflection and respect for both my maternal and paternal lineages. I have received an enormous amount of love from my parents, and equally, I'd like to give my name to both.

Your understanding and support during this transition are greatly appreciated. Please feel free to refer to me by my new name, Whan Ri-Ahn, from now on. All future writings and communications will reflect this change accordingly. While my name may change, I, as a friend, will always remain to you, as ever. Thank you once again for your continued support and understanding.


Warm regards,

Whan Ri-Ahn (이안 환)

Paris. March 5, 2024.

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