Donald Lee III


Ryan Opera Center Ensemble

Donald Lee III is sponsored by Michael and Salme Harju Steinberg.

Donald Lee III is a first-year Ryan Opera Center conductor/pianist. Committed to uplifting marginalized voices, Lee recently programmed and performed digital recitals titled “Where Honor is Due” with Salon 21 in Cincinnati, Ohio and “Adaptations” with Piano by Nature in Elizabethtown, New York. These programs highlighted the music of Black composers alongside canonical works. Lee also recorded a previously unrecorded set of cotillions by the Black composer Francis Johnson for the Indictus Project. A formidable pianist, Lee is at home in a wide variety of repertoire, and has been praised for his “extraordinary technique” by Classical Voice of North Carolina for his performance of Liszt’s “Totentanz with the Eastern Music Festival’s Young Artist Orchestra. Lee has won numerous prizes and awards including the first prize in the MTNA competition for the state of Virginia, grand prize in the Harold Protsman Classical Period Competition, the Eastern Music Festival Concerto Competition, and first prize in the VMTA Piano Concerto Competition. He has attended prestigious music festivals and summer programs including the Chautauqua Institution, the Art of the Piano Festival, and the Wintergreen Music Festival. Lee was a Presser Scholar, receiving his bachelor’s degree in piano performance from James Madison University with Dr. Eric Ruple. As a Yates Fellow, he received his master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM),where he studied with Awadagin Pratt. He was an assistant professor of piano at Kentucky State University, and he is currently completing an artist diploma in solo piano at the CCM.


Photo: Key'mon Murrah