Catherine Lee

Catherine Lee

Applied Oboe


A diverse musician, Catherine Lee has performed extensively as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician on oboe, oboe d’amore and English horn in a wide range of artistic settings, including classical, contemporary and free improvisation.

Catherine is principal oboe with Salem Chamber Orchestra and teaches at George Fox, Western Oregon and Willamette universities. In 2013, she released a solo CD entitled “Social Sounds” on Teal Creek Music. As an interdisciplinary artist, Catherine collaborated in the creation of reeds, a site-specific work composed by Emily Doolittle (Sound Symposium, 2010); with POV dance (Ten Tiny Dances, 2008); and with Tracy Broyles (Risk/Reward Festival, 2012). Catherine also has performed in the oboe sections of many ensembles, including Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Opera and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and was a tenured member of Orchestre symphonique de Longueuil from 2003 to 2008. She has also performed in ensembles led by improvisers John Gruntfest, Gino Robair and Tatsuya Nakatani.

Catherine’s doctoral research in how virtuoso performers in the late 18th century used the solo concerto to demonstrate their specific skills and create a resonance with audiences, has led to a curiosity with 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 Ecomusics & Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues (Asheville, N.C.), 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, 2010, 2013).

Catherine’s doctoral document, “The Language of the Oboe Virtuoso in the Late Eighteenth Century,” has been published in the IDRS Journal, Double Reed and the ADRS Journal Reeding Matter. Her poetry will be included in a chapter she is co-authoring in the forth-coming book Sounding the Body: Improvisation, Representation and Subjectivity (eds. Ellen Waterman & Gillian Siddall). Catherine is on the board of the Creative Music Guild. (Portland, Oregon).

She is a founding member of the Umbrella Ensemble, the Blue Box (formerly Tardis) Ensemble and the Lee/Hannafin Duo. She holds a Doctor of Music in oboe performance and a Bachelor of Music from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec), and a Master of Music and a Performer Diploma from Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana). Catherine’s principal influences include Theodore Baskin, Normand Forget and Bruce Haynes.