Donald Lee III


Ryan Opera Center Ensemble

This Season at Lyric: Champion

Previously at Lyric: Music staff for The Factotum (2022/23); conducted selections for The Magic Victrola (2021/22).

A Virginia native, Lee is the inaugural Ryan Opera Center conductor/pianist, an Ensemble position started in 2021/22. While with Lyric, he has conducted selections for Sunday in the Park with Lyric (both 2021 and 2022). Recent engagements as a conductor and pianist include Des Moines Metro Opera for Carmen (2023) and Porgy and Bess (2022) and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for their New Works Festival (2023) and other projects. Lee recently programmed and performed in digital recitals titled Where Honor is Due with Salon 21 in Cincinnati and Adaptations with Piano by Nature, 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 participated in 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.

Donald Lee III is sponsored by Lead Sponsors Michael Steinberg and Salme Harju Steinberg and cosponsors Dr. David H. Whitney and Dr. Juliana Chyu and Drs. Joan and Russ Zajtchuk.