Michael’s influences range from Stravinsky to hints of early rock, jazz, and electronic music, as well as 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 Thornton Edge, Albany Symphony, USC Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, New York Virtuoso Singers, Moravian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Kharkov Philharmonic, Oradea State Philharmonic, Serenata String Quartet, Gamper Festival at Bowdoin, ALEA II Contemporary Ensemble, Boston New Music Initiative, and the Chamber Music of Rochester, among others. His music has received recognition from MusicNow (Indiana State Univ.), the Baltimore Sun, the Portland Herald Press, and the Chronicle (NYC).
He is the recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters, USC’s Sadye J. Moss Composition Prize for Unmasked (written in 2015 for classical guitar), USC’s New Music for Orchestra Composition Competition, Arthur Friedman Prize from the Juilliard Orchestral Composition Competition (Top Prize), the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Award, the 28th International ALEA II Competition, the letter of praise from BMI, the 1st Prize NACUSA Competition, the Howard Hanson Prize, the Bernard Rogers Memorial Prize. He is the 2014 finalist in the Apollo Chamber Players Contest, his recent work solo guitar work, “Unmasked,” was premiered on 98.1 King FM, Seattle’s Classical Radio Station by guitarist, Cameron O’Connor, and most recently, his orchestral work “Amped” was performed by the Albany Symphony in 2015. Navano Records and Ablaze Records have recorded his works.
American composer, Michael Lee was born in Atlanta, GA and is currently a doctoral candidate in musical arts at The University of Southern California, The Thornton School of Music with the prospect of graduating in May 2017. He is the former graduate of The Juilliard School (Masters in Music), and The University of Rochester, The Eastman School of Music (Bachelor of Musical Arts. His primary teachers include Samuel Adler, Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. He has attended masterclasses and/or private lessons from Sean Friar, Adam Schonberg, Andrew Norman, Ray Lustig, Milton Babbitt, David Liptak, and John Corigliano.
Recent honors/commendations include:
- 2016 Unmasked for guitar is winner of the $1500 Sadye J. Moss Endowed Musical Composition Prize (USC Composition Dept. Award)
- 2015-2016Commissioned by the New York Virtuoso Singers, will be premiered May 20, 2016
- 2015 Finalist in the Dvorak International Composition Competition held in the Czech Republic, was one of the composers representing the USA
- 2015 One of three composers selected – Albany Symphony Call for Scores – “Amped (2014)”
- 2015 NAXOS and Navano Records to release “Farewell…” for String Quartet with the Moravian Philharmonic (2016-17)
- 2015 Thorton Edge to premiere “Pierrot” for Sinfonietta, written for Don Crockett and the Thornton Edge
- 2015 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Award Finalist
- 2014 Final Round of 8 out of 254 Scores in the Apollo Chamber Players Contest (Houston, Texas)
- 2014 USC New Music for Orchestra Winner
- 2014 Finalist Synchromy Call for Scores
- 2014 First Prize National Association of Composers USA Competition
- 2014 Commission for new chamber work by the Asian-America Institute for New Music; music to be performed along with other composers in China, Utah, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Baltimore
- 2013 The Academy of Arts of Letters Charles Ives Scholarship
- 2013 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Award Finalist
- 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Award Winner
- 2012 “Farewell…(2012)” for String Quartet chosen for Gamper Festival of Contemporary music at Bowdoin.
- 2012 Arthur Friedman Prize (Top Prize Juilliard Orchestra Competition)
- 2011 Winner – Capriccio for violin and piano commercially released through ABLAZE records, commercially released through Amazon.com and iTunes
- 2010 Finalist for the 28th ALEA II International Composition Competition
- 2010 Florence Gould Foundation Scholarship to attend EAMA
- 2009 Honorary mention – BMI letter of praise for “promising composition for the future: Metropolis Concerto for piano (2009)”
- 2009 Winner – MusicNow with Steve Reich as the guest composer, at The Indiana State University
- 2008 Bernard Rogers Memorial Prize
- 2007 Howard Hanson Prize new work performed by the Chamber Music of Rochester
… among others.