Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Announces Earl Lee as New Associate Conductor

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA— The two-time 2018 Grammy Award-winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) announces the appointment of Conductor and Cellist Earl Lee as the organization’s new Associate Conductor. He will begin his tenure thie September, at the start of the 2018-2019 season. Additionally, the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO) has named Lee as Music Director for their 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons. Lee will join the PSO fresh from the heels of his tenure as Resident Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director and Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.

President and CEO of the PSO’s Melia Tourangeau states; “We are thrilled to have Mr. Lee join the artistic team of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His background and talent will be a true asset to the organization and we look forward to introducing him to the Pittsburgh Community.” “Earl Lee was selected following an extensive search that culminated in a successful audition before the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,” said Mary Persin, Vice President of Artistic Planning. “He represents the excellence and spirit of the organization and also shares our deep commitment to young people and the community. We believe that he will make a great impact on our audiences and the entire organization looks forward to working together with him." Craig Johnson, Executive Director of the PYSO adds, "We are thrilled and excited that Mr. Lee can continue in maintaining the excellent collaborative relationship that has been a long held tradition between the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra."

About the Artist

Earl Lee: Conductor/Cellist

A dynamic and energetic figure on stage, Canadian musician Earl Lee pursues a diverse career both as a conductor and a cellist. Lee currently holds the RBC Resident Conductor position of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Artistic Director & Conductor position of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. Lee frequently appears on the podium at the Roy Thomson Hall leading the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, as well as making guest conducting appearances throughout the world.

Earl Lee was the only Canadian, and one of seven conductors out of over two hundred applicants selected by renowned conductor Bernard Haitink as an active participant in the 2016 Haitink Masterclass at the Lucerne Easter Festival. A two time participant at the prestigious Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar in New York, Lee was one of two 2013 Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Scholarship recipient chosen by Maestro Masur. As a Mendelssohn Scholar Lee traveled to Leipzig, Germany, to study with Masur the music and life of Felix Mendelssohn. Lee received a 2013 Ansbacher Conducting Fellowship Award, selected by the American Austrian Foundation and members of the Vienna Philharmonic, and spent six weeks at the Salzburg Festival in Austria. Lee also participated in the 5th International Conducting Masterclass with David Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2014.

Dedicated to sharing music beyond the concert hall and with the community at large, Lee is passionately engaged in student, outreach and run-out concerts as he firmly believes in music’s ability to nourish, inspire, and heal. With the TSO, Lee plays a key role in programming and scripting student concerts and performs for thousands of students annually. As a cellist, Lee performed in numerous run-out concerts with the goal of bringing the joys of music making to people in retirement homes, rehabilitation centers, schools and churches.

As a cellist, Lee has toured with Chick Corea, Gary Burton Duo and as a guest member of the Harlem String Quartet in 2012. Lee performed in many notable series and venues during this tour including Symphony Hall in Boston, Maison symphonique de Montréal and the iconic Blue Note jazz club in New York City. As a passionate chamber musician, Lee has toured all over the United States as part of such ensembles as Musicians from Marlboro. Lee’s cello performance frequently appears on major radio programs including the St. Paul Sunday. Lee has performed at prestigious summer festivals such as Marlboro Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Caramoor Rising Stars, and Ravinia’s Steans Institute. He is currently a member of a conductor-less chamber ensemble, the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO).

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School with degrees in cello, Earl began his conducting studies in 2010 studying with Ignat Solzhenitsyn. In 2013, Lee received his Masters in Conducting from the Manhattan School of Music, studying with George Manahan. Lee continued his post-graduate conducting studies at the New England Conservatory with Hugh Wolff prior to starting his tenure with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. f

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

About the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

The 2018 GRAMMY Award-winning PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the world's finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), Andre Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004). This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" in 1944 and John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. Its "Pittsburgh Live!" series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Nominations in 2015 and 2016. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series "Previn and the Pittsburgh." The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900 — including international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America—the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras.

Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, Manfred Honeck has served as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008/09 season. The 2017/18 season marked 10 years of this acclaimed partnership, highlighted by special commissions to commemorate this decade of successful music-making. Consistently recognized for their performances, he and the orchestra are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad, and regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals.

Manfred Honeck's successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is extensively documented on recordings by the Reference Recordings label. All albums released by Reference Recordings — amongst them Strauss tone poems and suites, Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, Beethoven Symphonies No. 5 and 7, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 — have received numerous rave reviews and honors. Honeck and the orchestra received two Grammy nominations for Dvořák's Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janáček's opera Jenůfa, conceptualized by the artist himself, as well as for Bruckner's Symphony No. 4. In January 2018, they were honored with the Grammy Award for "Best Orchestral Performance" for their recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Barber's Adagio for Strings.

As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with the world's leading orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome, and the Vienna Philharmonic. In the United States, he has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. He is also a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. His operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival. He also has served as Artistic Director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than twenty years.

Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the viola section in the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado, and as artistic leader of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra. He received the prestigious European Conductor's Award in 1993 at the Zurich Opera House, and has served as Music Director of the Norwegian National Opera, Principal Guest Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, and most recently as Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Manfred Honeck has received honorary doctorates from several North American universities. Most recently, he was awarded the honorary title of Professor by the Austrian Federal President. The expert jury of the International Classical Music Awards selected him as "Artist of the Year" 2018.

About the Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts

HEINZ HALL FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS is owned and operated by Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc., a non-profit organization, and is the year-round home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, Heinz Hall hosts many events that do not feature its world-renowned Orchestra including Broadway shows, popular touring artists, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.


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