Dr. James  Lee, III

Associate Professor-Theory and Composition

 
James Lee III studied both piano and composition at the University of Michigan School of Music, where the took his bachelor's degree in piano performance in 1999 (B.M.), his master's in composition in 2001 (M.M.), and his doctorate in composition in 2005 (D.M.A.). He cites as his major composition teachers Michael Daugherty, William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, Betsy Jolas, Susan Botti, Erik Santos and James Alkman. As a composition fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in the summer of 2002, he added Osvaldo Golijov, Michael Gandolfi, Steven Mackey and Kaija Saariaho to his roster of teachers, and studied conducting with Stefan Asbury. He now holds a pedagogical position himself, as assistant professor of composition and theory at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.


Commissions began coming Mr. Lee's way during his graduate student years, and his music has been performed as far from home as Tokyo, where he himself introduced his piano work …of Love and Peace in 2003, and Cape Town, South Africa, where his reflecting setting of My Lord, What a Morning was given its premiere in by the Our Own Thing Chorale under Willis Patterson, who had commissioned that work. Among other premieres in the last five years may be noted a reading of his orchestral work "Papa Lapa" by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Wilkins conducting, in 2001; the premiere of Sympathy, for flute, percussion, harp and chorus, given by the Leigh Morris Chorale in St. Paul in 2002; A Place for God's People, an orchestral work premiered at Andrews University, two premieres at Tanglewood in that year: The Appointed Time, for string quartet, and a choral setting of Psalm 61; the Piano Sonata, performed by the composer at Ann Arbor in 2003; and Through the Eyes of Time, commissioned by the Alabama All-State Festival Orchestra and introduced in Mobile under Anthony Elliott in 2004. Lee's Piano Trio "Into Sonic Horizons" was premiered at Morgan State University on February 26, 2007 with Anita Thesen (flute), Elizabeth Gunlogsen (clarinet), and the composer at the piano. That concert also included works that Lee composed as early as 1998, Thoughts of Idle Hours performed by Margaret Olson and Samuel Springer, Fantasía Rítmica performed by Stephanie Bruning, and a particularly touching song cycle "Four Songs of Love and Death" from 2004 based on the poetry of Langston Hughes. This work was premiered by Vincent D. Stringer and Adam Mahonske. Currently, James Lee III lives in Nottingham, Maryland with his wife Adnéia Alves Lee.