Yoon Jae Lee, Music Director
Yoon Jae Lee enjoys a multi-faceted career as conductor, arranger, and pianist. As Founder & Artistic Director of Ensemble 212, Mo. Lee has built the New York-based orchestra into one of today’s finest young ensembles. Since its inaugural concert in 2004, he has led Ensemble 212 in over thirty performances under his baton. Together, they have been recognized for creating innovative programs featuring works of living composers, arrangements of Mo. Lee and others, in addition to exciting interpretations of the standard repertoire. Mo. Lee is also Music Director of the Old York Road Symphony and the Wyoming Seminary Civic Orchestra. His collaborations include renowned musicians such as the Attacca String Quartet, Daniel Phillips of the Orion String Quartet, mezzo-soprano D’Anna Fortunato, composer Huang Ruo, members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mo. Lee works closely with award-winning composer Mohammed Fairouz. He conducted the world premieres of Fairouz’s Double Concerto “States of Fantasy”, commissioned by Ensemble 212 with Nicholas Kitchen & Yeesun Kim of the Borromeo String Quartet, “Tahrir” with clarinetist David Krakauer, and the New York premiere of his Symphony No. 2. Mo. Lee conducted the world premiere of Fairouz’s Symphony No. 3 “Poems and Prayers” for Soloists, Mixed Chorus & Orchestra with the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus and Ensemble 212 in February 2012.
As an arranger, Mo. Lee has received critical acclaim for his works. The New York Times described his chamber version of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony as “Illuminating.....with solos leaping out in unusually bold detail.” In 2009, Mo. Lee transcribed Mendelssohn’s Octet for full orchestra in honor of the composer’s 200th anniversary and was performed in March 2012 by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on their subscription season. His latest project was arranging the finale of Mahler’s Third Symphony for Ensemble 212’s 9/11 10th Anniversary memorial concert.
A native of New York City, Mo. Lee began his musical studies on the violin and piano. At age 17, he began his career as a conductor and two years later, participated in a masterclass by Kurt Masur at Alice Tully Hall. He received degrees in piano and conducting from the Mannes College of Music receiving the N.T. Milani Memorial Conducting Fellowship and the Peter M. Gross Fund. Mo. Lee also studied at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg in Austria. During that time, he appeared as guest conductor with the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Bruckner Orchester Linz, and served as Assistant Conductor to the Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie. Mo. Lee attended the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen under the tutelage of David Zinman and Murry Sidlin. His keen interest in historical performance practice led him to study at the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. His conducting mentors include Dennis Russell Davies, Samuel Wong, David Hayes, Michael Charry, and Arkady Leytush. Mo. Lee has served on the adjunct faculty at City College of New York (CUNY) since 2008 and Seminar Chamber Orchestra conductor at Long Island University’s C. W. Post Chamber Music Festival since 2007.