A native of St. Joseph, Michigan, James Lee III (born 1975) has studied composition with Michael Daugherty, William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, Betsy Jolas, Susan Botti, Erik Santos, and James Aikman. As a composition fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in the summer of 2002, he studied composing with Osvaldo Golijov, Michael Gandolfi, Steven Mackey and Kaija Saariaho and conducting with Stefan Asbury.
Recent premieres and performances of his music include Papa Lapa by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, with Thomas Wilkins conducting, in 2001; the premiere of Sympathy, for flute, percussion, harp and chorus, performed by the Leigh Morris Chorale in St. Paul in 2002; and the premiere of A Place for God's People, an orchestral work, at Andrews University in 2002. In that same year Lee had two premieres at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, The Appointed Time for string quartet and Psalm 61 for members of the Boston Symphony Chorus. Through the Eyes of Time for orchestra was commissioned by the Alabama All-State Festival Orchestra and introduced in Mobile under Anthony Elliott in 2004.
Recently, conductor Leonard Slatkin has championed Lee’s work. In 2006 Slatkin premiered Beyond Rivers of Vision at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and in 2008 he premiered A Different Soldier’s Tale with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra during his inaugural concerts as the new music director of the orchestra. Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony also performed Beyond Rivers of Vision in January 2010. The National Symphony, Baltimore/Soulful Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Memphis Symphony, and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra have also performed Lee’s orchestral works. The 2009-2010 season has included world premieres of 12 Preludes of the New Earth for piano by Daniel Lau (in November 2009), A Clean Heart for mixed chorus by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society (in December 2009), Scenes Upon Eternity’s Edge for flute, violin, cello, and piano by the Monument Piano Trio and flute (in February 2010), and a Morgan Fanfare by the Morgan State University Band with Melvin Miles directing (in April 2010). This season Lee has won the Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Award, including a cash prize of $10,000, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. He is also the composer-in-residence for the Ritz Chamber Players, an African-American chamber music society based in Jacksonville, Florida. Performances with that organization included the Florida premiere of The Appointed Time for string quartet. Pianist Terrence Wilson also performed Lee’s sonata for piano in Seattle, Washington in April 2010, and in May 2010, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed a movement from Beyond Rivers of Vision.
James Lee, III appears in the following:
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Scenes Upon Eternity’s Edge is one work in a series of compositions in which I draw my source of inspiration from the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation.