Donald Lee III


Ryan Opera Center Ensemble

Donald Lee III is sponsored by lead sponsors Michael and Salme Harju Steinberg and cosponsors Dr. David H. Whitney and Dr. Juliana Chyu.

Virginia native Donald Lee III is the inaugural Ryan Opera Center conductor/pianist, a new Ensemble position in 2021/22. Committed to uplifting marginalized voices, Lee recently programmed and performed in digital recitals titled “Where Honor is Due” with Salon 21 in Cincinnati and “Adaptations” with Piano by Nature (Elizabethtown, New York), highlighting music of Black composers alongside canonical works. For the Indictus Project, he recorded for the first time a set of cotillions by Black composer Francis Johnson. Lee achieved success as a solo pianist with Liszt’s Totentanz (Eastern Music Festival’s Young Artist Orchestra). He has won top prizes in Virginia’s MTNA competition, the Harold Protsman Classical Period Piano Competition, the Eastern Music Festival Concerto Competition, and the VMTA Piano Concerto Competition. Lee has participated in such prestigious music festivals and summer programs as the Chautauqua Institution, the Art of the Piano Festival, and the Wintergreen Music Festival. An alumnus of James Madison University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Lee has served as assistant professor of piano at Kentucky State University.

For Lyric Opera’s 2021/22 season Lee conducted a selection in Sunday in the Park with Lyric’s Rising Stars.