Lee: A Compelling & Individual Voice

Lee3 PfTrio No. 2 Shriver Hall image

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 Visions received its premiere on October 5 in Portland (OR) by The Montrose Trio (comprised of violinist Martin Beaver, cellist Clive Greensmith and Jon Kimura Parker on piano). Shriver Hall continues. “Dr. Lee writes with a compelling and individual voice, and his works are full of rich sonorities and interesting textures. Well known for his orchestral and chamber works, especially in Baltimore, we feel that Dr. Lee’s chamber music is more than deserving of a greater platform.”

Lee shares some thoughts about his new work. “Piano Trio No. 2, ‘Temple Visions’ is a four-movement work that serves as musical commentary on various scenes depicted in the biblical book of Revelation. The scenes portrayed are quite vivid and involve both locations in the heavens and the earth. The temple referred to is the heavenly sanctuary in the third heaven where God dwells.”

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker offers Lee3 PfTrio No. 2 Montrose 1further insight from the performer’s perspective. “Temple Visions’ is an exciting work for many reasons – firstly as it is the first commissioned work to be performed by The Montrose Trio. It’s thrilling for us to add innovative new works alongside the more traditional repertoire of masterworks by Beethoven and Brahms. Temple Visions challenges each of us on a high technical level. Each movement has a distinctive character: ‘Internal Conflict’ pits us against each other in places, yet unified thematic ideas permeate all of our parts. ‘Galactic Districts’ is fleet and quick, like a snapshot of another world. My personal favorite, ‘A City Mourned,’ features a soaring opening for solo cello. ‘Final Resolutions’ is a rhythmic tour-de-force and recalls ideas presented earlier. In many ways the parts are so muscular that it feels less like a chamber trio and more like a triple concerto.” Subsequently, The Montrose Trio continues its tour to Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center on October 27, and to the Seligman Center for Performing Arts (Detroit) on November 14.

More Lee in Baltimore: On October 21, clarinetist Allison Yacoub joins Lee — as pianist — for the world premiere of the composer’s chamber piece Ad Anah at Morgan State University’s Murphy Fine Arts Center.