B i o g r a p h y
Born in Singapore, pianist Frances Lee has keen interests in collaborative performance, musicology, and music theory, and particularly enjoys creative programming that offers perspectives on lesser-known music. She has given lecture-recitals on the music of Fanny Hensel, and created an outreach project titled She Wrote Music Too, with the aim of increasing awareness of women composers throughout history. In addition to solo performances, she collaborates frequently in duos as well as in larger chamber groups, and has had years of experience as an orchestral player. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from The Shepherd School of Music, Rice University (Texas, USA), where she previously attained her MMus in Piano Performance. Her doctoral thesis (advisor: Damian Blättler), titled "Unconventional: Sonata-Form Manipulations in the Multi-Movement Works of Fanny Hensel", adopted a theory-focused approach to six of Hensel's works. Dr Lee also holds a BMus in Piano and a BA in German Studies from the Bard College Conservatory of Music (New York, USA). Her Senior Project (advisor: Franz Kempf), titled "Italy, Writing and Music: A Translation with a Critical Introduction of Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel's Italienisches Tagebuch (Italian Diary)", involved German-to-English translation of Hensel's letters and diary entries. Her primary teachers have been Brian Connelly, Peter Serkin, Melvin Chen, and Rustem Hayroudinoff. She has also worked with Jeffrey Kahane, Matti Raekallio, and Lala Isakova.
Dr Lee has performed widely in Singapore and overseas, having given solo and chamber performances in countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Thailand, the United Kingdom (including at the Southbank Centre in London), and the United States. She made her concerto debut with the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra under the direction of Leon Botstein, and has collaborated with artists such as violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Brian Connelly. She was a guest artist multiple times on the Context concert series in Houston, including a performance that was later broadcast on Houston Public Media. In addition to giving Texas premieres of multiple contemporary works, Dr Lee has performed with multiple professional ensembles, such as the Da Camera Young Artists, Hoppa Project, the Houston Chamber Choir, the string ensemble Kinetic, the new music ensemble Loop38, and the Victoria Symphony (Texas, USA). She was a member of the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra on their concert tour to Carnegie Hall, New York, and a member of the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra on their tour of Europe, performing in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Vienna.
Dr Lee has participated and performed in The International Holland Music Sessions, the Young Artist Chamber Music Program at Kneisel Hall, the Sarasota Music Festival, and the Young Artists Program at Yellow Barn. She has also participated in piano masterclasses by artists including Dmitri Alexeev, Philippe Bianconi, Jeremy Denk, Christopher Elton, Richard Goode, Robert Levin, Robert McDonald, John Perry, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Arbo Valdma, and Arie Vardi. As an active chamber musician, she has also played in masterclasses by artists including Ida Kavafian, Nicholas Mann, Arnold Steinhardt, and Donald Weilerstein.
Dr Lee obtained her DipABRSM (Diploma of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) at the age of 11 and received a Distinction for her LRSM (Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music) at the age of 13. She was a prizewinner in The Stravinsky Awards 2012 Bach Piano Competition, and a three-time finalist in the Bard College Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition.
In addition to teaching at the tertiary level, Dr Lee is also a committed teacher of many years for students of all ages, and is dedicated to holistic education for every proficiency level.
Photo credit: Deanna Ng