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” [Navano]; “vivid and visceral orchestrations” [REMI Arts.]; “fluid drama [and] focused intensity” [AblazeRecords]; “promising” [BMI].
Michael has worked with the New Orleans Chamber Orchestra, Arapahoe Philharmonic, Thornton Edge, Albany Symphony, USC Symphony, Red Note Music Festival, Loadbang Ensemble, Juilliard Orchestra, Hear Now!, Lyris Quartet, New York Virtuoso Singers, Utah Arts Festival, Los Angeles’ AANMI, Moravian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Kharkov Philharmonic, Oradea State Philharmonic, Peabody Symphony, Serrenata String Quartet, Gamper Festival at Bowdoin, ALEA III Contemporary Ensemble, Boston New Music Initiative, ISU’s MusicNow, the Chamber Music of Rochester. His music has received recognition the Baltimore Sun, the Portland Herald Press, the New York Chronicle, among several others.
He is the recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters, USC Sadye J. Moss Composition Prize, Arthur Friedman Prize from the Juilliard Orchestra Composition Competition (Top Prize), the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Award, winner of the 2018 New Orleans Chamber Orchestra/Spectri Sonori Competition, winner of the 2018 An Art Artistry’s International Composition Competition, Letter of praise from BMI, 1st Prize winner of the 2013 NACUSA Competition, the Howard Hanson Prize, the Bernard Rogers Memorial Prize. He is a recent finalist in the Apollo Chamber Players Contest, Los Angeles’ Synchromy Call for Scores, California Symphony Call for Scores, 6th International Antonin Dvorak Composition Competition, and the 2018 Intimacy of Creativity. In 2015, his solo guitar work, Unmasked, was premiered on 98.1 King FM, Seattle’s Classical Radio Station by guitarist, Cameron O’Connor. Navano Records and Ablaze Records have recorded his works.
Michael Lee was born in Atlanta, GA and raised in Maryland. He is the graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music (D.M.A 2017), the Juilliard School (M.M), and the Eastman School of Music (B.M). He has 5+ years experience teaching (at a University-level), most recently teaching as a part-time lecturer at the USC Thornton School of Music. His principal teachers are Samuel Adler, Donald Crockett, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon.
Michael has gained invaluable experience teaching classes comprised of music students and non-music majors. Teaching has evolved into one of the most gratifying experiences and has helped him discover another passion that goes beyond being an artist. Mentoring the next generation of musicians has become an important priority.
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.
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