James Lee III – News


Lee: Lament.Sing.Arise

On June 4, 2022, the Ritz Chamber Players present the world premiere of James Lee III’s newest chamber work Lament.Sing.Arise in Washington, DC. Commissioned by the The McKim Fund of The Library of Congress, the nine-minute work will be performed by violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins and pianist Terrence Wilson. The concert takes place in Coolidge Auditorium […]

Lee: A Stunning & Powerful Work

“I thought the texts of France Harper’s poem ‘A Double Standard’ would work very well for a stunning and powerful work.” And so, James Lee III introduces us to the poet who inspired his newest vocal chamber work A Double Standard. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Shriver Hall, Chamber Music Cincinnati, and Chamber Music Detroit, the […]

Lee: Times We’re Living In

“I wanted to commission works that would speak to the times we’re living in.” So notes, Kenneth Kiesler – University of Michigan’s director of orchestras — on the eve of the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra’s April 6, 2022 world premiere of James Lee III’s newest orchestral work Tethered Voices, narrated by Myah Paden. The […]

Lee: Freedom’s Genuine Dawn

On January 20, 2022, the Baltimore Symphony premieres James Lee III’s Freedom’s Genuine Dawn with spoken word artist Wordsmith. Robert Trevino conducts the concert in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Co-commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony, Boston Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic, the one-movement, 18-minute work is scored for narrator and orchestra, and features texts by African-American author, […]

Lee: “Tones of Clay”

On November 14, the Calyx Piano Trio premieres James Lee III’s new 18-minute chamber piece Piano Trio No. 3, “Tones of Clay,” at the Linde Center at the Tanglewood Music Center. Lee comments on his new work. “Piano Trio No. 3 ‘Tones of Clay’ uses the words ‘tones’ and ‘clay’ for two reasons. In my […]

Lee: “Amer’ican” Premieres

On October 29, 2021, the Detroit Symphony presents the world premiere of James Lee III’s orchestral work Amer’ican, conducted by Eric Jacobsen. Commissioned by the orchestra, Amer’ican was originally scheduled to premiere in April 2020; but due to the Covid pandemic it was postponed until this season. The 13-minute work was inspired by Dvorak’s celebrated […]

Lee: Destined Words for Juneteenth

James Lee III’s Destined Words premieres on June 19, 2021, as part of the live, on-stage, gala performance of the Baltimore Symphony’s “Marin Festival,” honoring Marin Alsop’s artistic leadership in her farewell concert with the orchestra. Commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony in celebration of the Juneteenth Holiday, the nine-minute work is scored for: narrator; 2 […]

Lee: Songs for the People Premieres

“Songs for the People has such beauty and depth. It has rich, musical sonorities that touch me to my core!” — Denyce Graves And so, celebrated mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves shares her thoughts about James Lee III’s new song, which premieres on May 1, as part of the Tulsa Opera’s “Greenwood Overcomes” concerts. Commissioned by the […]

Lee: Composer’s Corner Q & A

Welcome back to Subito’s “Composer’s Corner.” This issue features James Lee III, a sought-after composer and pianist in American contemporary music. During this challenging era of how the pandemic has effected artists, we talked with him about: composing in a virtual world; his compositional process; some of his favorite works, and the desire to “compose […]

Lee: Principal Brothers Premieres

On October 11, celebrated clarinetist Anthony McGill premieres James Lee III’s Principal Brothers No. 3 with pianist Gloria Chien in a live-streamed concert. The performance will be presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Written for McGill (principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic), the five-and-a-half-minute piece is the third in Lee’s new group of […]

Lee: Theodore Front Page

This month, James Lee III is the featured composer on the home page of music dealer Theodore Front. “Each month, Theodore Front Musical Literature features works by a contemporary living composer whose recent activities, we believe, deserve recognition. While they are busy making great music, fulfilling commission requests, preparing their scores for upcoming performances, frequently […]

Lee: “Sukkot” at the Chicago Symphony

From November 21 – 24, the Chicago Symphony performs James Lee III’s Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula conducted by Juanjo Mena. Commissioned by the Sphinx Organization, Lee’s ten-minute orchestral work premiered in October 2011 at the New World Symphony, led by Michael Tilson Thomas. Lee describes Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula as “…a festive work for orchestra,” […]

Lee: Visions of Hope

On May 4, James Lee III travels to Lima, Peru for the premiere of his new Sinfonia de Esperanza (Symphony No. 2, “Visions of Hope”) performed by the University of the Peruvian Adventist Union Orchestra (UPeU). Music director Delmar Freire conducts Lee’s 30-minute, four-movement work. “Sinfonia de Esperanza’s title means ‘Visions of Hope,’” Lee shares, […]

Lee: Violin Sonata No. 2 Premieres

“I am pleased,” shares James Lee III “to have composed Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano for violinist Dr. Igor Kalnin and pianist Dr. Rochelle Sennet.” On March 16, Kalnin and Sennet premiere Lee’s new 22-minute, four-movement work. Written for both instrumentalists who perform together as the Duo MemDi. Sonata No. 2 will premiere at […]

Lee: Beyond Mirrors of Color

On January 17, James Lee III’s newest song cycle Beyond Mirrors of Color premieres in Jacksonville, FL, performed by soprano Alison Buchanan and the Ritz Chamber Players. Scored for soprano, cello and piano, the five-movement, 19-minute chamber work features poetry written by Buchanan, under the nom de plume of Alison Harding. The premiere is part […]

Lee: His Music is Powerful

“Even if you didn’t know that James Lee III was quoting melodies to create a dialectic, you would know he was trying to convey something important because his music is powerful and portentous.” And so, David Lockington — music director of the Pasadena Symphony — introduces us to Lee’s new orchestral work Ichabod! The Protest is Over!. […]

Lee: Tehillim World Premiere

  On February 11, soprano Marquita Lister joins pianist Marvin Mills for the world premiere of James Lee III’s new song cycle Tehillim. The performance takes place in Irvine, CA, and is a highlight of the 20th anniversary of the African American Art Song Alliance Conference. Lee shares some thoughts about Tehillim. “‘When Marquita Lister […]

Lee: A Terrific Piece

“James Lee III’s Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula is a terrific piece and a wonderful way to open our concert.” On the eve of the Atlanta Symphony’s October 20 and 22 events, Evans Mirageas, (Vice President of Artistic Planning and Operations) shares his enthusiasm for the composer’s work as it is featured during the orchestra’s Modern […]

Lee: Important Things to Say

“James Lee’s new piece Thurgood’s Rhapsody is wonderful!” Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony, introduces us to the composer’s new work Thurgood’s Rhapsody, which premieres on June 9.  Commissioned by Classical Movements, Inc. for Alsop and the orchestra, Lee was one of ten American composers asked to create short celebratory works in honor […]

Lee: Unexpected Detours

On April 24, pianist Rochelle Sennet premieres James Lee III’s new Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble with the Morgan State University Symphonic Band. Melvin N. Miles conducts. The four-movement, 22-minute work was written for both Sennet and the university ensemble, and is a continued collaboration with Sennet, who premiered the composers’ Piano Sonata No. […]

Lee: Distinctive and Compelling

“James Lee III has one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in all of music.” On the eve of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society’s (BCA) March 20 world premiere of the composer’s new work Hallelu Yah!, music director Tom Hall offers some insight into the first performance. Hall continues. “In 2010, the Baltimore Choral […]

Lee: A Compelling & Individual Voice

“Shriver Hall Concert Series is delighted to kick off its 2015-16 ‘Born in Baltimore’ commissioning project with James Lee III’s Piano Trio No. 2, “Temple Visions“. On October 25, The Montrose Trio performs Lee’s new chamber work as the ensemble presents the East Coast premiere in Baltimore, MD. Commissioned by Shriver Hall Concert Series, “Temple […]

Lee: A Wonderful Opportunity

  Last fall, James Lee III started his academic year as a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil, where he hosted masterclasses and seminars at the State University of Campinas (São Paulo) and traveled through the country researching traditional Brazilian music. This spring, he finishes the year by returning to South America. From May 20 – 24, […]

Lee: A Perpetual State of Discovery

  “Every moment I spend studying and rehearsing Millennium Homecoming has been a joy.” And so, Prof. Melvin Miles introduces us to James Lee III’s newest work, as Prof. Miles leads the Morgan State University Symphonic Band in the April 26th world premiere in Baltimore, MD. Miles continues. “James Lee’s new composition is a delightful […]

Lee: Innovative, Grounded, & Rewarding

On November 19, James Lee III’s new chamber work Passeios Harmônicos (Harmonic Trips/Tours) receives its world premiere at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, Brazil. Currently on sabbatical from his post at Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD), Lee is spending the 2014 fall semester as a Fulbright Scholar traveling through Brazil […]

Lee: Don’t Waste Any Time

“I always wanted to write my own etudes and my own sonatas.” Composer James Lee III shares some career insight with executive editor Molly Sheridan in a featured profile on NewMusicBox.org — the trailblazing online magazine for contemporary American music. The up-close chat offers Lee’s thoughts about his compositions, his early childhood piano lessons and […]

Lee: Imagistic and Imaginative

“There is a shimmer to James Lee III’s sound canvass.” Conductor Jed Gaylin shares some insight into the composer’s new work Alas! Babylon’s Final Sunset, which Gaylin conducts in its world premiere on March 1st when he leads the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra at Shriver Hall in Baltimore, MD. Lee will participate in an informal pre-concert […]

Lee: Aesthetic, Emotional & Spiritual

On September 22 and 24, conductor Jetro de Oliveira presents the world premiere of James Lee III’s new oratorio A Revelação Através do Santuário (The Revelation through the Sanctuary) in Americana (Sao Paulo State), Brazil. The Revelation through the Sanctuary is a five-movement, large-scale work for chorus and orchestra featuring Lee’s text- settings from the […]

Lee’s Engrossing Music

On March 21, the St. Olaf Band gives the world premiere of James Lee III’s new band work Ancient Words, Current Realities!, conducted by Timothy Mahr. The premiere will be featured at the 2013 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) annual conference at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Commissioned by St. Olaf College […]

James Lee III Gets Ready for Two Orchestral Premieres!

Subito Composer James Lee III Kicks-off his 2011-12 Concert Season with Two New Orchestral Works! Chuphshah! Harriet’s Drive to Canaan premieres on September 23rd at the Baltimore Symphony. Conducted by Marin Alsop, the 12-minute commission is based on the life of Maryland-native Harriet Tubman, the American “Moses” of the Underground Railroad. “The word Chuphshah,” Lee […]

New Orchestral Work by James Lee III to Receive World Premiere at Baltimore Symphony

Baltimore Symphony to Showcase ‘Revolutionary Women’ During 2011-2012 Season “Revolutionary women,” including Joan of Arc and Harriet Tubman, will be showcased during the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s 2011-2012 season, which also packs in music by some relatively revolutionary men, too. BSO music director Marin Alsop, something of a revolutionary herself in a profession still dominated by […]