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. He marries the traditional intricacy of classical form with the more body-centered and visceral language of popular music, crafting compositions that are both “rigorously contemporary and fully accessible” (AllMusic). The Berkshire Edge described the world premiere of his Slack Tide, commissioned by the 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 Bozeman 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, Icarus Quartet, Deviant Septet, chatterbird, ShoutHouse, Verdant Vibes, and pop artist Ben Folds. Recent commissioners include the Bozeman Symphony, 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.
Lee currently serves as the Bozeman Symphony’s first-ever Composer-in-Residence, a three-year role that began in 2021. The residency involves three commissions for new orchestral compositions and co-curation of the new Current Commotion contemporary music series with Music Director Norman Huynh. The first commission, a concert-opener inspired by the city of Bozeman entitled The Last Best Place, was premiered on the Bozeman Symphony’s 2021-22 season-opening weekend. The second commission will be in honor of Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary, and will be premiered in February of 2023.
A native Floridian, Lee has often found inspiration in the natural landscape and history of his home state. In November 2020, New Focus Recordings released a recording of Lee’s 45-minute work Through the Mangrove Tunnels to international acclaim, with positive reviews in The Wire, BBC Music Magazine, and AllMusic among others. Performed by the JACK Quartet, pianist Steven Beck, and drummer Russell Lacy, the piece is inspired by the history and Lee's personal memories of Weedon Island, a nature preserve Lee grew up exploring in Florida.
Notable 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 PARMA Student Composer Competition, and the Gustav Klemm Award in Composition from the Peabody Institute. Lee has received fellowships from the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Copland House’s CULTIVATE program, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Aspen Music Festival.
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.