Michael’s influences range from Stravinsky to hints of early rock, jazz, as well 16th century polyphony. Growing up in Maryland and New York, his first musical experiences were through trumpet performance, primarily in jazz improvisation and baroque music. Eclectic in styles, notations, orchestrations, and ensembles, his music has been cited for its “rhythmical drive [and] traditional harmonic touches that are both surprising and inevitable” [Portland Herald Press]; “Elsewhere, tradition is gleefully thrown to the wind—such as with Lee’s stunning Farewell… for string quartet, with its ever-shifting rhythms, timbres, and moods” [PARMA]; “vivid and visceral orchestrations” [REMI Arts.]; “fluid drama [and] focused intensity” [AblazeRecords]; “promising” [BMI].
His music has been performed recently by the Albany Symphony, Thornton Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Peabody Symphony, Lyris String Quartet, Hear Now!, Loadbang, New York Virtuoso Singers, Gamper Festival at Bowdoin, Utah Arts Festival with AANMI, ALEA III Contemporary Ensemble, Thornton Edge, Chamber Music of Rochester, along with many other new music ensembles and fantastic soloists.
He is the recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters, the USC’s Sadye J. Moss Composition Prize for Unmasked for Classical Guitar, the Arthur Friedman Prize from the Juilliard Orchestral Composition Competition (Top Prize), the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Award, finalist in the 28th International ALEA II Competition, a 2009 Honorary letter of praise from BMI, the NACUSA Competition 1st prize winner for Farewell, the Howard Hanson Prize, the Bernard Rogers Memorial Prize. He was the 2014 finalist in the Apollo Chamber Players, the 2014 LA’s Synchromy call for scores contest, the 2015 finalist representing the USA in the Dvorak International Composition competition, and the 2017 finalist in the California Symphony’s composer in residence “call for scores”. Work to be featured on possible future programs.
Michael Lee was born in Atlanta, GA and raised in Maryland. He is the former graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music (D.M.A ’17), the Juilliard School (M.M), and the Eastman School of Music (B.M). He has 5+ years experience teaching (at a college level) and mentoring the next generation of musicians.
Michael lives with his 10-year old dog, Mink, a Havanese. His favorite sports are ice hockey and Brazilian jiu-jitsu; and favorite foods are Korean Bibimbap and In-and-out cheeseburgers.
Listen to Come What May with the New York Virtuoso Singers