“Ms. Lee is new to me, yet she clearly has musicality and confidence in abundance.”Showtime Magazine
Known for her diversity and versatility, Canadian pianist Vanessa May-lok Lee is much sought after as a collaborative pianist. Having made her Carnegie Hall (Isaac Stern Auditorium) debut in June 2014, Ms. Lee has performed with internationally acclaimed artists in a wide variety of contexts ranging from traditional duos and trios to ensembles of unique and often unorthodox instrumentations. She has appeared in recital with Jörgen van Rijen (principal trombone of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra), Joseph Alessi (principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic), Nicholas Daniels (Artistic Director of the Leicester International Festival), Jeffrey Beecher (member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and principal bassist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra), and Rachel Mercer (cellist of Ensemble Made in Canada) among others.
Ms. Lee’s most recent CD Reflections with Gordon Wolfe, principal trombone of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, was released in February 2015. Featured on this recording are two new Canadian works: Gary Kulesha’s Sonata for Trombone and Piano and Ian McDougall’s Devil or Angel? Her debut CD Bleu et Or was released in August 2012 with flautist Miguel Ángel Villanueva (Mexico) and violist Elodie Guillot (France). Recorded on the Quindecim label, this CD features the works of Mexican, French and Canadian composers including the commissioned piece Prism by Canadian composer Erik Ross.
In addition to being a Faculty Accompanist at the Manhattan School of Music and a staff pianist at The Juilliard School, Ms. Lee’s concert engagements continue to showcase her strong interest in pursuing a wide variety of projects. Highlights include serving as the rehearsal pianist for Maestro Jurowski and the NY Philharmonic’s performances of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, introducing young children to quality educational concerts with Ensemble SOL, as well as working along side conductor Kent Tritle preparing Britten’s monumental War Requiem for performances at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine’s Great Music in a Great Space series.
An avid teacher and educator, Ms. Lee joined the piano faculty at the Third Street Music School Settlement in New York City in 2014. She is a founding member of Ensemble SOL, a chamber ensemble specializing in quality educational concerts for children and families. From 2006-2013, Ms. Lee was the music director of the Etobicoke Studio, a private audition-based teaching studio for piano and theory, and has been a member of Music Makers, an educational touring ensemble at the Banff Centre.
Ms. Lee has served as collaborative pianist for various competitions including Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Standard Life Competition, International Women’s Brass Conference Competitions and TD Canada Trust Elora Festival Young Artist Competition. She has also been a collaborative-pianist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the fall and winter residency programs.
Ms. Lee has been the recipient of numerous grants and accolades including a Grant to Professional Musician (Individual) and a Music Recording Production Grant from The Canada Council for the Arts. She has also received a Commissioning and Recording Grant from the Ontario Arts Council. She has been a national finalist at the Canadian Music Competition and prize-winner at the provincial level of The Kiwanis Music Festival both in Ontario and BC, Canada.
Ms. Lee graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with Honours from the University of Toronto where she studied with Marietta Orlov and a Master of Music from the Royal Academy of Music in London, England with Michael Young. In May 2014 she completed pre-doctoral studies at the Manhattan School of Music with John Forconi through the generous support of The Canada Council for the Arts.
Ms. Lee currently makes her home in Brooklyn, New York.
A shorter bio is available on the Media Downloads page.
Biography may not be altered without approval by the artist.