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, Texu Kim, and Nina C. Young. This season, he is collaborating with Jeffrey Mumford as part of Ensemble 212’s Composer in Residence program. Recent highlights include conducting engagements with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, the New York Classical Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of his chamber versions of Mahler’s Third and Fifth Symphonies, and performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as piano soloist/conductor. His arrangements have been performed in Asia, Europe, and North America including the Baltimore and Phoenix Symphony Orchestras. His list of appearances as guest conductor include the K Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, 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. 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.
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.