Timothy Lees


College Orchestral Institute
High School Orchestral Institute

Timothy Lees, violinist, enjoys an exciting and eclectic career as both performer and educator. Before his appointment as Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), Mr. Lees served as Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2018 during which time he appeared regularly as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician.  Prior to his arrival in Cincinnati, his extensive orchestral resume includes serving as the Concertmaster of the Charleston (SC) Symphony Orchestra and Spoleto Festival Orchestra and as a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, the Philly Opera and the Rochester Philharmonic.  In addition, Mr. Lees has also appeared as Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras.  During his tenure, Mr. Lees led the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 10 international and domestic tours in which the orchestra performed in the most prestigious venues in the countries of Germany, Spain, Poland, France, China, Japan and Taiwan.  In addition, the prolific discography of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras includes over 60 recordings on the Telarc and Fanfare Cincinnati labels in which Mr. Lees led the orchestra.  In his Carnegie Hall, New York debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra his performance of Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben was hailed by Strings Magazine: “the display of egotism is almost redeemed by the soaring melodies and the famous bravura violin solo, played with spectacular virtuosity by concertmaster Timothy Lees.” From Bach to Bartok, Mr. Lees’ flexibility and command of the solo violin repertoire is evident through his numerous solo appearances with the Cincinnati Symphony as well as on many other stages throughout North America.  As a recitalist, he has been featured in solo recitals in cities throughout the United States such as Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Diego and at festivals including Sarasota, Spoleto, Sebago-Long Lake, Mainly Mozart Festivals, and in Europe at the Recontres Musicales Internationales des Graves in Bordeaux, France.

As an educator, Mr. Lees serves in a vital, dual role at CCM as private teacher and orchestral coach in preparing students as they hone their orchestral audition skills. Mr. Lees’ versatility in teaching effectiveness is evidenced by a consistent and strong track record of students claiming competition prizes as well as winning full-time positions in orchestras such as the National Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony, and the Oregon Symphony, among others.  A member of the Sarasota Festival faculty since 2004, and the Recontres Musicales Internationales des Graves in Bordeaux, France, Mr. Lees has also served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School where he performed as Concertmaster of both the Aspen Chamber Symphony and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.  The expertise he has cultivated in his own command of solo, chamber music,  and orchestral literature is shared, not only by his appointment to the violin faculty of CCM, but also through master classes presented nationally and internationally at Universities, Conservatories, and festivals including CCM, Indiana University, Aspen Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Beijing Central Conservatory, Sookmyung Women’s University, Yeungnam University, Korea National University of Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, College of Charleston, University of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University, Ohio University, Biola University, Ascent Festival, and many others. 

An avid and highly sought-after chamber musician, Mr. Lees frequently has collaborated with the world’s most prominent artists including Maxim Vangerov, Jaime Laredo, Joseph Silverstein, Yefim Bronfman, Ida Kavafian, Peter Wiley, among many others.  Additionally, he has appeared in performances as guest artist with members of the St. Lawrence, Pacifica, and Jupiter Quartets.  Mr. Lees has also been featured regularly in chamber music on well-established series including the Linton Music Series, CCM Faculty Artist Series, Oberlin Conservatory Series, Concert Nova, Sebago-Long Lake as well as appearances on Aspen Music Festival Faculty Artists Series, and Spoleto Festival Series. His performances have been broadcast on NPR Performance Today, WFMT (Chicago Public Radio), NHK Radio (Japan), WGUC (Cincinnati Public Radio), KAJX (Aspen Public Radio), (WMEA) Maine Public Radio, and WFSU (Florida Public Radio). 

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Lees received the coveted Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Charles Castleman.  When not playing or teaching, Mr. Lees is an avid road cyclist who enjoys spending time with his wife and fellow musician, Catharine, spoiling their two border terriers Hazel and Indy, and repairing and rehairing violin, viola, cello and double bass bows.

Mr. Lees performs on a J. B. Vuillaume violin c. 1845