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Modern musician

A composer and teacher of contemporary music, HyeKyung Lee has been awarded tenure at Denison.

The college recently announced that four members of the faculty have been awarded tenure by the Board of Trustees and will be promoted to the rank of associate professor. This is the third in a four-part series highlighting the faculty earning tenure this year: Brenda Boyle, English; HyeKyung Lee, music; Jonathan Walley, cinema; and Lina Yoo, biology.

HyeKyung Lee is fascinated by new things, whether she discovers them or creates them herself. The assistant professor of music is a prolific composer and pianist, and delights in writing music for choirs, pianos, wind instruments, symphonic bands, string quartets, orchestras, brass quintets, fixed media, toy pianos and a litany of other instruments.

Her Romanza piece, written for piano and violin, was debuted recently by fellow faculty member Damien Mahiet and guest artist Angela Early at Burke Recital Hall. Now Lee is completing a new piece, A-ri-A-rang, commissioned by the Avion Saxophone Quartet. It will premier at The World Saxophone Congress XVI, in St. Andrews, Scotland in July. She also is composing the film music for the movie “We Could Be Your Parents” by Charlie Anderson, to be released in 2013.

Growing up in Incheon, South Korea, Lee began piano lessons in elementary school and continued her musical interest at Yae Won Middle School and Seoul High School of Arts and Music, a three-hour commute each way for her every day. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Composition at Yon Sei University in 1983.

She came to the United States in 1986, where she earned a Master of Music in Composition in 1988 and a Certificate in Piano Performance at the University of Austin in 1992. Lee says her study there taught her to discover each note, make it different from the others, and give it the depth needed for her to become a successful composer. In 1998, she was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at the University of Texas.

Before joining Denison’s faculty in 2006, Lee was a visiting assistant professor at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Bowling Green State University and Ohio Wesleyan University. She also was composer-in-residence at Interlochen Arts Academy, University of Florida, Murray State University and University of Houston. She says she has found the perfect place at Denison with students who are creative, enthusiastic and interested in electronic as well as acoustic music.

Lee teaches courses in music theory, composition, conducting and orchestration and gives private lessons. Among her recent awards are the Renee B. Fisher Composers Award, the Uncaged Toy Piano Competition, the Athena Chamber Music Composers Competition and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Composition Prize. Her compositions have been recorded by MSR Classics, Innova Recordings, Vienna Modern Masters, VoxNovus, Equilibrium and Capstone Records.

She also has contributed to Denison’s musical history, writing Fanfares for Brass Quintet for the Classes of 2011, 2012 and 2014; Awakening for the Denison University Orchestra; and Gust of Embers for violin, clarinet and piano for Associate Professor of Music Andy Carlson and former assistant professor Nicolas del Grazia.

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