Building character. Testing excellence.
Adept at both the practical and theoretical sides of music, Frances Lee is a versatile performer who strongly believes that musicians benefit from a holistic education. She tends towards creative programming choices and particularly enjoys finding and presenting lesser-known works that deserve greater recognition. Having performed extensively as soloist, chamber musician, collaborative pianist and orchestra player, she believes that there is something to be gained from every musical experience– and teaching is no different! She strives to share her passion for music with every student she teaches, while always placing the priority on their personal interest and development.
Ms. Lee was born in Singapore, where she began playing the piano at the age of three. She then entered the School of Young Talents at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, making her first public appearance at the age of six. After several years of studying with the principal of the school, Fang Yuan, she left Singapore for The Purcell School for Young Musicians, a specialist music school in England, where she studied with Rustem Hayroudinoff. She attended the Bard College Conservatory of Music in the piano studio of Peter Serkin, and graduated as a straight-A student with a BMus in Piano and a BA in German Studies. In conjunction with her Senior Project in German Studies, Ms. Lee gave a lecture-recital on Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel’s piano cycle Das Jahr. She has previously studied with Melvin Chen and Lala Isakova. She was a recipient of the Stephen and Belinda Kaye Scholarship during her time at Bard, and was awarded the Bard Conservatory Prize. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The Shepherd School of Music, Rice University in the studio of Brian Connelly, as a recipient of the Burt Duke Raiza Prize in Piano, where she previously attained her MMus in Piano Performance, as a recipient of the Abigail Diane Dalton Williams Endowed Scholarship and the Walter C. “Buddy” English Endowed Scholarship in Piano. In addition to solo work, she collaborates frequently in duos as well as in larger chamber music groups, and has had years of experience as an orchestral player.
Ms. Lee has performed widely in Singapore and overseas, in countries including the United States, Thailand, Slovenia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. She was a member of the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra on their tour of Europe in 2014, performing in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Vienna. She made her concerto debut with the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra in 2011 under the direction of Leon Botstein. She participated and performed in the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in 2003, the EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association) UK Conference in 2005, the Young Artists Program at Yellow Barn in Vermont in 2011, The International Holland Music Sessions in Bergen, North Holland in 2012, and the Young Artist Chamber Music Program at Kneisel Hall in Maine in 2014. She has performed as a soloist in London at Steinway Hall and the Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room. Ms. Lee has also participated in piano masterclasses given by Dmitri Alexeev, Philippe Bianconi, Melvin Chen, Jeremy Denk, Christopher Elton, Richard Goode, Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, Ivari Ilja, John Perry, Carole Presland, Matti Raekallio, Mark Ray, Aaron Shorr, Steven Spooner, and Arbo Valdma. An active chamber musician, she has also played in masterclasses given by Ida Kavafian, Nicholas Mann, Arnold Steinhardt, and Donald Weilerstein.
Ms. Lee obtained her DipABRSM (Diploma of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) at the age of 11 and received a Distinction for her LRSM (Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music) at the age of 13. She was a prizewinner at The Stravinsky Awards 2012 Bach Piano Competition, and was also a finalist in the Bard College Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition in 2010, 2011, and March 2013.