Current Toronto Symphony RBC Resident Conductor Earl Lee has been appointed Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), effective September 2018.
Similar to Lee’s current role with the TSO, the position will require Lee to be prepared to fill in on a moment’s notice, and lead community-based orchestra programming. Lee will also assume the post of music director of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.
“The PSO is such a great organization for me to work with and absorb their style of music-making,” Lee said.
Raised in Toronto, Lee began his career as a cellist in the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. After graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School Lee was diagnosed with Focal dystonia, a neurological condition that causes involuntary contractions and cramping. The condition prompted Lee to consider conducting as an alternative. Lee started studying conducting with George Manahan (Manhattan School of Music) and Hugh Wolff (New England Conservatory of Music), and was awarded the 2013 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship to study with Kurt Masur in Leipzig. That same year, Lee won the prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors by the American Austrian Foundation.
Lee joined the Toronto Symphony in 2014 as the RBC Resident Conductor and has established himself as a conductor poised to take a leadership role on the podium of a major symphony orchestra.
“I have had the pleasure of watching Earl develop as a musician over the past decade,” said TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian. “As an accomplished cellist, he performed with great sensitivity and brilliant artistry. He brings these same instincts to his conducting. He has been expertly taught by Hugh Wolff, and I, along with the musicians of the TSO, am thrilled to be a part of the development of Earl’s considerable talent.”
Lee replaces outgoing PSO Associate Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, who has accepted a three-year contract as Music Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony.