Praised as “colorful” and “engaging” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Scott Lee's music often takes inspiration from popular genres, exploring odd-meter grooves and interlocking hockets while featuring pointillistic orchestration and extended performance techniques. His music marries the traditional intricacy of classical form with the more body-centered and visceral language of contemporary popular music, creating a complex music of the present with broad appeal. The Berkshire Edge described the world premiere of his Slack Tide at Tanglewood Music Center as having “moments both of calm and maximum tension...we’ve never heard anything like it.”
Lee has worked with leading orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Symphony in C, the Moravian Philharmonic, Raleigh Civic Symphony, the Occasional Symphony, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and members of the Winston-Salem Symphony, as well as chamber groups such as the JACK Quartet, yMusic, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Deviant Septet, chatterbird, ShoutHouse, Verdant Vibes, and pop artist Ben Folds. Recent commissioners include the Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival, Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, Florida State Music Teachers Association, loadbang, and the Raleigh Civic Symphony.
Notable performances include the world premiere of Lee’s Vicious Circles by Symphony in C and a reading and performance of Anadyr by the American Composers Orchestra, conducted by George Manahan, as part of the 27th Annual Underwood New Music Readings In New York City. Three pieces by Lee – Drip Study, Tourbillion, and Car Alarm Strut – were premiered at a Tanglewood Music Center concert led by Michael Gandolfi with coaching by composer Osvaldo Golijov. He was Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence for the 2019-2020 season.
In November 2020, New Focus Recordings releases a recording of Lee’s 45-minute work Through the Mangrove Tunnels, performed by the JACK Quartet, pianist Steven Beck, and drummer Russell Lacy. Recorded at Duke University in 2018, the piece is inspired by the history and Lee's personal memories of Weedon Island, a nature preserve Lee grew up exploring in Florida.
Honors include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, winner of the Symphony In C Young Composer’s Competition, the Grand Prize in the 2015 PARMA Student Composer Competition, and the Gustav Klemm Award in Composition from the Peabody Institute. In 2020, Lee received fellowships from the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Copland House’s CULTIVATE program.
Active as a music educator, Lee is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Florida School of Music, and has previously worked as a Lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an Instructor at Duke University. Lee earned a PhD in Composition at Duke University, and also holds degrees from the Peabody Institute and Vanderbilt University.