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THE SCOOP | Former TSO Alumni Named Music Director Of Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra

By Michael Vincent on June 9, 2022

Earl Lee (Photo: Lim Hak Hyun)
Earl Lee (Photo: Lim Hak Hyun)

There’s nothing we like to do more than cheer for one of our own.

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has announced the appointment of conductor Earl Lee as the orchestra’s next Music Director.

Lee becomes the 14th Music Director in the orchestra’s 94-year existence. He’s a rising star in classical music and the first Asian to win the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award.

Besides being known as one of the most picturesque towns in the US, Ann Arbor is home to one of Michigan’s premier regional orchestras.

The spark was lit

“Even during the short period of a week spending time with the orchestra, staff and board members, it was clear to me that I wanted to do something here with this group and become a part of this community,” said Lee in a statement. “Thank you so much for your open arms as I join the A2SO family, and I look forward to sharing many years of great music together.”

Rooting for the home team

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.

He 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.

On September 9, 2022, Lee will conduct his inaugural performance at the orchestra’s season opener with Carlos Simon’s This Land, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with pianist Inon Barnatan.


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Michael Vincent
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