Yoon Jae Lee

conductor, piano
Yoon Jae Lee enjoys a multifaceted career as conductor, arranger, pianist, and musical entrepreneur. As Founder & Artistic Director of Ensemble 212, Mr. Lee has built the New York based orchestra into one of today’s finest young ensembles. Together they have received critical acclaim for innovative programming featuring works by living composers, his own arrangements, and exciting interpretations of the standard repertoire. A dedicated champion of new music, Mr. Lee has initiated a new music educational concert series aimed at introducing living composers to young audiences. He has conducted numerous New York and world premieres of works by award-winning composers including Mohammed Fairouz, Huang Ruo, Daniel Felsenfeld, Ke-Chia Chen, and Texu Kim. This season, he is collaborating with Nina C. Young as part of Ensemble 212’s Composer in Residence program. His list of appearances as guest conductor include the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Opera on Tap, New England Conservatory and has collaborated with distinguished artists including Nick Canellakis, D’Anna Fortunato, David Krakauer, Mimi Stillman, members of the Attacca, Borromeo, Orion String Quartets, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Lee was appointed Principal Conductor of the Albano Ballet Company in 2014.

Mr. Lee’s arrangements have been praised by audiences and critics alike. His orchestral transcription of Mendelssohn’s Octet “Incorporated winds and brass.....intelligently”, claimed David Patrick Stearns of the Philadelphia Inquirer when performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times described his chamber version of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony as “Illuminating..... with solos leaping out in unusually bold detail.” He is currently engaged in “The Mahler Chamber Project” to arrange all the symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde for chamber orchestra and is projected for completion by 2020.

A native of New York City, Mr. Lee is a second-generation Korean-American. He received degrees in piano and conducting from the Mannes School of Music where he was awarded the N. T. Milani Memorial Conducting Fellowship and the Peter M. Gross Fund. Mr. Lee also studied at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg in Austria. During that time, he served as Assistant Conductor to the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie. His conducting mentors include Dennis Russell Davies, David Zinman, Samuel Wong, David Hayes, Michael Charry, Murry Sidlin, and Arkady Leytush. Mr. Lee has participated in Kurt Masur’s conducting masterclass, the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute led by his keen interest in historical performance practice. He maintains a private teaching studio in New York where he resides.

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Short Profile

NameLee, Yoon Jae
Born inUnited States, North America
Home LocationNew York City, United States
Main languageEnglish
Additional languages Korean 
attended UniversitiesMozarteum Salzburg, Mannes
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SNS brings condensed intensity to Mahler Fourth
2013-03-08 The Chronicle Herald, Halifax
"Thanks to Yoon Jae Lee, Symphony Nova Scotia fans entered the fabulous tonal universe of Gustav Mahler's Fourth Symphony Thursday night in the Cohn.Lee reduced the number of instruments originally scored for to allow a chamber orchestra version that SNS's musicians, directed by guest conductor Nathan Brock, took on with ferocious intensity.
    (Stephen Pedersen)
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    Reduced Baltimore contingent pleases at Longwood
    2012-07-13 Philadelphia Inquirer, Kennett Square
    "The Mendelssohn Octet is often encountered in chamber orchestra concerts, but mostly when something close to the original score is performed with extra strings. This version, by Yoon Jae Lee, incorporated winds and brass - intelligently. Much of the interplay in the first and last movements could easily have been lost in a fatter string texture, but not when the strands of music were differentiated by the timbre of the gently contrasting instruments.
      (David Patrick Stearns)
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      Borromeo Principals Premiere Fairouz’s “States of Fantasy”
      2010-09-18 Classical Voice of New England, New York City
      "The Ensemble 212 orchestra, conducted by Yoon Jae Lee, is a group of excellent young musicians, with emphasis on "young". This youthful orchestra gave a freshness and vigor to the well-known works of Beethoven, convincing us that these works were being discovered for the first time. Similarly, the performance of Fairouz's 1st and 2nd Symphonies were devoid of pretension, Conductor Yoon Jae Lee bringing out the same depth of emotion as with the Beethoven.
        (Phyllis Nordstrom)
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        Mahler, Extra-Reduced for the River
        2009-08-24 New York Times, New York City
        "Illuminating..... with solos leaping out in unusually bold detail.
          (Steve Smith)
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