Thomas Oboe Lee

Thomas Oboe Lee

Fellow: Awarded 1983
Field of Study: Music Composition
Fellow: Awarded 1986
Field of Study: Music Composition

Competition: US & Canada

Thomas Oboe Lee was born in China in 1945. He lived in São Paulo, Brazil, for six years before coming to the United States in 1966. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in music, he went on to study music composition with William Thomas McKinley, George Russell, and Gunther Schuller at the New England Conservatory (1972-76);  Betsy Jolas at Tanglewood (1976); and Earl Kim at Harvard University (1977-81). He has been a member of the music faculty at Boston College since 1990.

Mr. Lee has composed over a hundred and thirty works: seven symphonies, eleven string quartets, nine concerti, an opera, choral works, song cycles, and scores of chamber music. He has received many awards for his work: the Rome Prize Fellowship, the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, two Guggenheim Fellowships (1983, 1986), two National Endowment for the Arts Composers Fellowships, two Massachusetts Artists Fellowships, First Prize at the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards for his String Quartet No. 3 … child of Uranus, father of Zeus, the Georges Enesco International Composition Prize, the Koussevitzky Tanglewood Composition Prize, recording grants from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Charles Ives Center in Danbury, Connecticut, and Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1984, Esquire magazine selected him as one of two composers in its First Annual Register, “The Best Of The New Generation: Men and Women Under 40 Who Are Changing America." He has received commissions from the American Jazz Philharmonic, Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Amnesty International USA, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Brockton Symphony Orchestra, Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, Fromm Music Foundation, Intermezzo – the New England Chamber Opera Series, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra, Massachusetts Philharmonic Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Omaha Symphony Orchestra, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Thoreau Society. Additional orchestral performances include those by the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Keith Lockhart, the Charleston Symphony with David Stahl, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra with Jeffrey Kahane, and the American Composers Orchestras with Gunther Schuller.

Seventeen of his works for orchestra, chorus, and chamber opera are available for sale or rental at Theodore Presser Company/Merion Music Inc. Ten of his early works originally published by Margun Music Inc. are now available at G. Schirmer Inc./Associated Music Publishers. The rest is self-published under the moniker Departed Feathers Music—a BMI affiliate.

Mr. Lee’s music can be heard on Nonesuch, MCA Classics, Northeastern, Catalyst BMG Classics, and GM Recordings. Two recent solo compact discs of his music are commercially available: Morangoalmost a tango, featuring the Hawthorne String Quartet on Koch International Classics, and The Visconti Sforza Tarot Cards, opus 66Twenty-two salon pieces for two pianos, featuring the Evan Hirsch-Sally Pinkas Piano Duo on the Arsis label. Mr. Lee is also active as a jazz flutist. An LP recording of his jazz band, Departed Feathers, is available on GM Recordings.


In 2010, Mr. Lee launched his own iPhone and Android mobile apps.  Follow the links below for more information:




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