Described as “alluring, sparkling, thoughtful, and carefully crafted” (Augusta Read Thomas, Director of The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition), composer Dongryul Lee seeks to write music that is deeply oriented around the acoustical nature of sounds and virtuosic classical performance practice, creating profound aural experiences with both dramaturgy and pathos. He finds inspirations in spiritual, literary, and scientific elements, encompassing a diverse range of topics from Borgesian poetics to Number Theory. Of Lee's A finite island in the infinite ocean, Robert Hasegawa (editor of The Oxford Handbook of Orchestration Studies) writes, “Lee raises the ante by allowing considerably more complex sonic relationships to emerge. The result is a piece which sounds entirely fresh yet somehow natural in its unfolding.”
His compositions have been performed by ensembles such as the Avanti!, Grossman, Kairos, Contemporanea, Jupiter, MIVOS, Callithumpian Consort, Axiom Brass, GMCL, S.E.M., Conference Ensemble, Paramirabo, and Illinois Modern Ensemble. He was awarded the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship in 2020; the third prize in the first Bartók World Competition in Budapest (Hungary, 2018); the Special Prize Piero Pezzé in the Composition Competition Città di Udine (Italy, 2018); and Second Prize in the 3rd GMCL Competition (Portugal, 2017). His dissertation research on virtual bells realized by using the Finite Element Method was presented at the IRCAM Forum Workshop in Montreal in February 2021. The performance of his Unending Rose by the Kairos quartett (Berlin, 2020) was supported by the Presser Foundation Award, Arts Council Korea, Kultur Büro Elisabeth Berlin, and Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the Land Brandenburg. His Parastrata has been performed in four different cities in Europe and North America, and his “A finite island in the infinite ocean” was premiered at the Fromm Players Concerts at Harvard by Miranda Cuckson in April 2021.
Lee serves as the 2020-21 Postdoctoral Researcher for the University of Chicago's Center for Contemporary Composition. He earned a DMA degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he held a lecturer position. Lee also holds degrees in computer science (BS) and music composition (BM) from Yonsei University and the Eastman School respectively. He studied composition with Reynold Tharp, Heinrich Taube, Stephen Andrew Taylor, Erin Gee, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, David Liptak, and Tae-hoon Kim, and conducting with Brad Lubman and Mark Davis Scatterday. He also studied composition with Jukka Tiensuu with the support of the Kate Neal Kinley Prize.
His new pieces are commissioned by Grossman Ensemble (Chicago) and the Callithumpian Consort (Boston) to be premiered in 2021.
CV (updated April 2021) Korean(한글) French