Resident Composer Spotlight: Jia Yi Lee

Jia Yi Lee is one of eight Resident Composers selected for the 2022 Mizzou International Composers Festival from a total of 532 applicants from 49 countries.

Jia Yi Lee                                Photo credit: Tavifa Gascon

Jia Yi Lee is a Singaporean composer who writes music that explores the colors and textures of sound through movement and gesture. She creates imaginative sound worlds inspired by natural phenomena and processes, and is interested in the perception of temporality and timbre in music.

Ms. Lee’s music has been performed by the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, KOU Musik (Singapore), Ensemble Multilatérale (Paris, France), Trio SurPlus (Freiburg, Germany), Ensemble Phoenix (Basel, Switzerland), Ensemble Linea (Strasbourg, France), Asko|Schönberg (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Ensemble Signal (New York, USA) and Talea Ensemble (New York, USA), and heard in festivals such as June in Buffalo (USA), Etchings Festival (France), soundSCAPE Festival (Italy) and Asian Composers League Festival (Vietnam). She has been awarded the Otto Ortmann Prize in Composition (2021) and 2nd and 3rd Prizes in the Prix D’Été Competition (2022, 2020).


In addition to composing music, Ms. Lee plays the trumpet and is passionate about music education. She is currently a Graduate Assistant in Music Theory at the Peabody Institute, and teaches composition as part of the school’s Junior Bach Program. She is also part of the organizing team for Music for All, a Singapore-based initiative that promotes inclusivity through music education.

Ms. Lee is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts at Peabody Institute, studying with Oscar Bettison. She recently completed her Master of Music at Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and earned her Bachelor of Music with Honors (Highest Distinction) at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore. Her past teachers include Felipe Lara, Ho Chee Kong, Peter Edwards, and Adeline Wong.

For the MICF, Ms. Lee has written a new work, emergency exit only (2022), which will have its world premiere July 30 at 7:30 pm at the Missouri Theater. The concert will feature Alarm Will Sound playing world premiere performances by all eight Resident Composers.

You can hear samples of Ms. Lee’s music on her website.