Catharine Lees

Catharine Lees

  • Professor of Viola at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM)

Catharine Lees, viola, maintains an active career as recitalist, chamber musician, pedagogue, and andragogue.  Professor of Viola at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where she also served as Chairman of the String Department from 2009 - 2017, Dr. Lees was also the host chair of the 2010 International Viola congress and served as a member of the Artist/Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School and Principal Violist of the Aspen Chamber Symphony for 25 seasons.  She is also coordinator of the event exchange agreement between Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea and CCM. 

Dr. Lees has been featured on numerous occasions as soloist with the Aspen Chamber Symphony, CCM Chamber Players, Wired.  Upcoming features include appearances with orchestras performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, and with the CCM Philharmonia in Strauss’ Don Quixote.  As a chamber musician, she has collaborated with the world’s most prominent artists including Gil Shaham, Jaime Laredo, Sarah Chang, Alisa Weilerstein, Don Weilerstein, Vivian Weilerstein, Joseph Swensen, as well as members of the Tokyo, Cleveland, American, LaSalle, Ariel Quartets, and the Beaux Arts Trio.  In addition, she has been featured in broadcasts on WGUC, WFMT, NHK Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and WOSU.

Dr. Lees’ passion for teaching and the advancement of pedagogy/andragogy led to her collaboration with Dorothy DeLay resulting in Essentials for Viola, a book on basic technique widely used by students who have claimed top prizes in international competitions as well as those who have won positions in major symphony orchestras and universities in the United States, Asia, and Europe.  Other publications include A Comprehensive Overview of Left Hand Technique for Violin and Viola and a forthcoming release of a relaxation recording for performers combating performance anxiety.  Dr. Lees has presented annual master classes at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and Universities including Eastman School of Music, University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, Carnegie-Mellon, University of Memphis, Beijing Central Conservatory (China), Sookmyung Women’s University (Seoul, South Korea), Yeungnam University (Daegu, South Korea), as well as in Tainan and Taipei, Taiwan.  In addition, she was featured at the 2014 American String Teachers Association Convention as well as at the 2011 International Viola Congress in Wurzburg, Germany. 

As host chair of the 2010 International Viola Congress at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, Dr. Lees featured 75 internationally acclaimed artists in master classes, recitals, chamber music, lectures, and two orchestra gala concerts.  These highly renowned performers included Nobuko Imai, Kim Kashkashian, Tabea Zimmermann, Bruno Guirrana, Garth Knox, Paul Coletti, Lawrence Dutton, Samuel Rhodes, James Dunham, David Aaron Carpenter, Gil Shaham, Adele Anthony, Akira Eguchi, Eric Kim, Richie Hawley and many more.

Dr. Lees earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts Degrees at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory where she studied viola with Masao Kawasaki, violin with Henry Meyer, and chamber music with the LaSalle and Tokyo String Quartets.  As a fellowship student of the Aspen Music Festival she received training in orchestral leadership with the concertmaster at that time of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ruben Gonzales.  More information regarding Dr. Lees’ philosophy of teaching and learning will be available at her new website, currently under construction.