Catherine Lee

Instructor of Oboe

Evans Music Center, MSC: 018

Considered a “new breed of instrumental specialist,” (New Music Buff) Dr. Catherine Lee offers “immaculate, masterful oboe playing” (The Double Reed) in combination with inspired and discerning musicality across an impressive range of genres and styles. A performer of oboe, English horn, and oboe d’amore, Lee shares a “deep understanding of the expressive possibilities of her instruments in both traditional and extended techniques.” (New Music Buff) “Fresh, unencumbered musical ideas” (The Double Reed) characterize her “ever-evolving, emotionally touching” ( performances. Naturally inquisitive and eager to push the boundaries of oboe technique, Lee commissions evocative new music that showcases her “ravishing, declamatory tone and absolute control over her instrument.” (Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review)

With a Juno Award nomination for Classical Album of the Year (solo artist), Lee’s second solo album, Remote Together (2021 – Redshift), received unanimously positive reviews from an international array of media. A musical exploration of metamorphosis, Remote Together takes the listener on a compelling, evolutionary journey, responsive to pandemic culture: “the discordance and beauty throughout are a perfect reflection of finding flickers of peace and comfort amid the nonstop madness.” (Voice of Energy) Lee’s first solo album, social sounds (2013, Teal Creek Music) featured works by Canadian composers and also received wide acclaim, being “a CD as compelling as it is eminently listenable.” (The WholeNote)

Embracing “a new vision appropriate to the new century,” (New Music Buff) Lee performs as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician in classical, contemporary, and free improvisation settings. She is a founding member of the Lee + Hannafin Duo, with percussionist Matt Hannafin, and of Re:Soundings, with Dana Reason and John C. Savage, and has performed in ensembles with noted improvisers such as Han Bennick, Vinny Golia, John Gruntfest, Gino Robair, and Tatsuya Nakatani. Her work with renowned 2020 NEA Jazz Master Roscoe Mitchell is especially noteworthy. Having performed his 1970’s work Nonaah in a more lyrical and recent arrangement with Re:Soundings Trio at the Park Avenue Armory in 2019, they also recorded the piece for Roscoe Mitchell and Ostravaska Banda: Distant Radio Transmission, an album released byWide Hive records and deemed “a new but essential contribution to our New Music Modernist canon.” (Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review) A former member of Orchestre Symphonique de Longueuil, Catherine has also appeared with the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra, Portland Opera Orchestra, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and the Montreal Chamber Orchestra among others. Lee’s interdisciplinary collaborations include the creation of reeds, a site-specific work composed by Emily Doolittle (Sound Symposium, 2010); work with POV dance (Ten Tiny Dances, 2008); and with Tracy Broyles (Risk/Reward Festival, 2012). In 2015, the Lee + Hannafin Duo released their debut album Five Shapes: Improvisations for Oboe d’amore and Percussion, showcasing their inventive musical imagination, and… deliver[ing] a surprisingly multifarious experience.” (Oregon ArtsWatch)

Lee’s doctoral research on how virtuoso performers in the late eighteenth century used solo concerti to demonstrate skill and build resonance with audiences, has led to a curiosity with regard to the role of improvisation in both the development of creativity and voice of a performer and in the relationship between performers, audience and space. She has presented her research at the International Alliance for Women in Music (2022), the University of Edinburgh (2022), ISSTA: Sonic Practice Now (2020), Agile Futures: Approaching Improvisation (Vancouver, BC, 2019), Ecomusics & Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues (Asheville, NC, 2014), The Embodiment of Authority – Perspectives on Performances (Helsinki, Finland, 2010), The Performer’s Voice (Singapore, 2009), Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium (Guelph, 2010, 2012), Performance in the Studio (2013) and College Music Society (Seattle, WA, 2010, 2013). Yale University Press, Peter Lang, Music Educators Journal, the IAWM Journal, the IDRS Journal Double Reed, and the ADRS Journal Reeding Matter have all published her research.

Lee holds a Doctor of Music in Oboe Performance and a Bachelor of Music from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec), a Master of Music and a Performer Diploma from Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana), and certification from the Deep Listening Institute (New York). Her principal influences include Theodore Baskin, Normand Forget, Bruce Haynes, and Eleanor V. Stubley.


Catherine Lee, *Remote Together. Redshift Records TK4893 2021. CD.
*Nominee Classical Album of the Year (Solo Artist) 2022 JUNO Awards

Catherine Lee, social sounds. Teal Creek Music 2305. 2013. CD.

2018 “Musicians as Movers: Applying the Feldenkrais Method to Music Education.” In Music Educators Journal, 104 (4): 15–19.

2016 With Tomie Hahn, George Blake, Louise Campbell, et al. “Banding Encounters-Embodied Practices in Improvisation.” In Negotiated Moments: Improvisation, Sound and Subjectivity, ed. Gillian Siddall and Ellen Waterman.

2015 “Reeds: Play within Shared Authority”. In Interdisziplinare Studien zur Musik, ed. Taina Riikonen and Marjanna Virtanen, 157–172.

2010 “The Language of the Oboe Virtuoso in the Late Eighteenth Century: Part III. Johann Christian Fischer and Conclusion.” The Double Reed, 33 (3): 105–113.

2009 “The Language of the Oboe Virtuoso in the Late Eighteenth Century: Part II. August LeBrun.” The Double Reed, 32 (4): 73–84.

2009 “The Language of the Oboe Virtuoso in the Late Eighteenth Century: Part I. Introduction and Carlo Besozzi.” The Double Reed, 32 (3): 67–75.

Academic Credentials

Bachelor of Music Performance (Schulich School of Music, McGill University)

Master of Music Performance (Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University)

Performer Diploma (Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University)

Doctor of Music in Performance Studies (Schulich School of Music, McGill University)