R. Andrew Lee

Select “Best of” lists

Best Classical Album of 2017

Top 10 Albums of 2017 (all genres)
Chicago Reader

Best NYC Performance of 2015
New York Classical Review

Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2013
The New Yorker

Best Classical Recording of 2013
Time Out New York

Top 50 Albums of 2013 (all genres)
The Wire

2012 Critics’ Choice

Audio/Video Interviews

Colorado Matters (2017)
Colorado Public Radio

The Next Track

BBC Newshour with James Coomarasamy

Between the Keys with Jed Distler
WWFM - The Classical Network

Colorado Matters (2014)
Colorado Public Radio


Concert Reviews

The Log Journal Review by Steve Smith
"He molds phrases imaginatively with touch and pedal, bringing out whimsy, charm, and rusticity... It all served to showcase Lee’s patience, even-handedness, and knack for continuity among disparate modes of expression."

New York Classical Review by George Grella
"Lee expressed these ideas for the whole concert through assured, graceful phrasing, absolute tempos and rhythms, and fine delineation of counterpoint and inner voices."

New York Classical Review by George Grella
"Though never flashy or overstated, Lee’s program and playing displayed integrity and clarity of thought."

Concert Review by Joe Young
"Pianist R. Andrew Lee put on an impressive and thought-provoking performance, and left me syphoning through my own emotions and reactions to the sounds he produced. The point is: he rocked."

Bach Track by Rebecca Lentjes
"Dr Lee performed the first 112 minutes of the transcription and then improvised off of Dr Gann’s suggestions for the remainder of the piece. Both men deserve medals for their devotion, and in Dr Lee’s case, for brilliantly realizing such an intimidating amount of music without a single pause or break."

Boring Like a Drill by Ben Harper
"It was interesting to watch Lee relax as he moved from the fully-notated transcription of the piece’s first 100 minutes, into the more open notation that made up the next three hours of playing. He seemed to go into a serene state of focused timelessness, perfectly matching the music he was playing... [His] interpretation of the open notation took on a similar character, meditative at times, almost casual at others, building up the strong impression of of a unified whole, gradually revealed. In effect, the music sounded like a inspired burst of improvisation, a fleeting run of chord changes and leading tones, slowed down 100 times to linger over every sensuous detail."

KCMetropolis.org by Lee Hartman
"Mental stamina is required of all performers every given day, but in hearing R. Andrew Lee’s intimate performance of Tom Johnson’s An Hour for Piano... I had never been so confronted by the staggering necessity of mental fortitude."

Bryan Christian: Each flows into the other

The Best of Bandcamp Review by Peter Margasak
"The work eschews any clear narrative path, instead presenting itself as a kind of floating sound installation—constantly producing strange sonic confluences that ooze like molasses but sparkle like crystal."

Textura Review
"A long and decidedly meditative piece, certainly, but it's also rich in incident; it's ever-changing and thus always engaging, especially when the listener's attention alternates between the horizontal evolving and the vertical juxtapositions between the piano and electronics."

DiaKCritical Review by J.J. Pearse
"When you immerse yourself in this piece, whether on speaker or headphones, I hope it envelops you wholly as it did for me... The work between Bryan Christian and R. Andrew Lee provide an aural landscape that is teeming with life."

Randy Gibson: The Four Pillars Appearing from The Equal D

Sequenza21 by Christian Carey
Best Drone Recording of 2017
"Lee deserves credit for a tour de force of stamina, focus and, perhaps above all, musicality in shaping the repeating pitches into countless varied phrases. Gibson is a master of deploying overtones."

Bandcamp Daily by Peter Margasak
Best Contemporary Classical Albums of 2017
"Lee established his mastery of minimal durational music four years ago, when he recorded a nearly five-hour interpretation of the overlooked Dennis Johnson masterpiece November, but he’s outdone himself with this dazzling epic by New York composer Randy Gibson."

Dusted by Marc Medwin
"The piece’s implications are as large as the music is diverse, its purpose as unified as the one note that births it. I have never heard piano and electronics joined in such complete symbiosis and to such organically singular effect"

"A forcefield of awesome power builds during “Roaring” when Lee's clangorous patterns meet the reverberating frequencies produced by Gibson's laptop, the resultant sound mass so huge the moment of its cessation startles."

The New York Times by Seth Colter Walls
"Listeners with the patience for slowly unfolding drones will detect significant changes in texture over the sprawling duration of Mr. Lee’s recorded performance. Both long tones and shorter attacks weave around the steady insistence of his acoustic piano playing — and your sense of where the performer ends and the laptop assistance begins grows pleasingly"

Inner Monologues (Venn Diagram of Six Pitches)

Christian Carrey
"Lee is a dedicated advocate and compelling performer, cannily exploiting the resonance of the instrument, never pushing the proceedings but instead trusting the piano’s decay to be a guidepost."

Best of Bandcamp by Peter Gargask
"The piece is exquisitely quiet, spare, and slow, opening with a single heavy chord that hangs in the air, loaded with portent. It takes almost a minute before we hear it again, but then it is appended with a couple of tentatively-voiced single notes, as if the piece is summoning up its courage to progress."

Adrian Knight: Obsessions

Music Works by Nick Storring
"Sitting squarely on the border between meditative, quasi-ecclesiastical serenity, and single-minded obstinacy."

Touching Extremes by Massimo Ricci
"[Lee’s] interpretation of the small variations, reiterative fragments, sudden ruptures and profound clusters conceived by Knight is impeccable; we can literally visualize the connection between hands gifted with the certitude of foreknowledge and a mind that, gradually soothed by the frequencies, little by little becomes one with the sonic tide."

Improv Sphere by Julien Héraud
"Une très belle découverte en somme, qui donne franchement envie de se plonger dans l'univers de ce compositeur, et qui me laisse penser que décidément, R. Andrew Lee est peut-être l'un des nouveaux pianistes les plus talentueux outre-Atlantique.” [A very beautiful discovery in short, which really makes me want to delve into the world of this composer, and which leaves me thinking that R. Andrew Lee is perhaps one of the most talented new pianists across the Atlantic.]

Paul A. Epstein: Piano Music

Review by Christian Carey
"Lee performs this challenging music nimbly, with extraordinary verve and impressive rhythmic accuracy."

The Box is Empty Review by Jeremiah Cawley
"Lee’s playing takes on a sheen that was surely always present but disguised in Epstein’s counterpoint. Poignancy of tone, revelatory articulation, and textures now snarled, now transparent, are the sublime outcomes of Lee’s renderings of Epstein’s musical strictures."

Jay Batzner: as if to each other...

Pitchfork Review by Seth Colter Walls
"Lee has rocketed to prominence in the world of modern and contemporary classical music, thanks to his sterling technique as well as his curator's attention to pieces in need of greater hearing."

The Arts Desk Review by Graham Rickson
"Pianist R. Andrew Lee has a rare gift for bringing such arcane, esoteric repertoire to life, and he’s on superb form here"

Jürg Frey: Pianist, Alone

Detroit Metro Times by Mike McGonigal
"No matter how much work by slow-burners like Morton Feldman, Giacinto Scelsi or LaMonte Young you've listened to, you will have to retrain yourself for years, and while performing this music to enter some kind of fugue state. Performers like R. Andrew Lee are like competitive long distance runners in this respect."

The Arts Desk Review by Graham Rickson
"Lee's concentration is contagious. If you were hearing this music live, you wouldn't dare leave the hall, such is the potent spell it casts.... This is music that needs to be heard, not heard of."

Other Music Review by Michael Klausman
"This is music that is so attentively focused and nearly Zen like in its perfection that you get the sense that Frey, via Lee, has reached some heretofore unattainable endpoint of music.... The rare music that renders everything else you hear around it totally superfluous."

Just Outside Review by Brian Olewnick
"How difficult to separate the physical actions of the keys from the automatic connotations the notes evoke.... A marvelous recording and a great addition to the canons of both Frey and Lee."

Eva-Maria Houben: Piano Music

Selected as one Top 10 Classical Recordings by Alex Ross for The New Yorker

Dusted Magazine Review by Marc Medwin
"With releases like this, Kansas City’s Irritable Hedgehog is fast becoming a reference label for contemporary piano music and Lee as one of its staunchest proponents.."

New York Times Review by Steve Smith
"Through his consistently impressive solo releases on the curiously named Irritable Hedgehog label, the Colorado-based pianist R. Andrew Lee has asserted a vision of musical Minimalism far broader than the limited patch that abused term usually signifies."

Just Outside Review by Brian Olewnick
"R. Andrew Lee... performs these works with great sensitivity and depth... after six or seven listens, I'm still enjoying tackling it anew each time."

Sequenza21 Review by Jay Batzner
"Lee’s touch and timing are sensitive and nuanced. I can easily hear the care and concentration that goes into these performances and I have no trouble picturing a stoic and deliberate performance on stage."

Improv Sphere Review by Julien Héraud
"A piece based on the never identical repetition of a few melodic notes, many resonances and silences, where the dynamics of the different registers are explored according to their attack and their resonance; all with great attention to the particularities of the piano, great sensitivity to the intermediate zone between sound and silence, and with very poetic, fluid and captivating writing. Outstanding."

Dennis Johnson: November

Selected as the Best Classical Recording of 2013 by Time Out New York
Selected as #15 among the Top 50 Releases by The Wire Magazine

Time Out NY Review by Steve Smith
"Enter pianist R. Andrew Lee, whose impressive string of albums... has included major pieces by outliers like Tom Johnson, Ann Southam and William Duckworth. Lee’s new recording of November, a five-hour span of superhuman patience and stamina, rescues Johnson from oblivion, and offers a sea of tranquility far removed from the everyday grind."

New Music Box Review by Isaac Shankler
"There are many ways this kind of improvisation could go astray, but Lee’s sense of pacing is impeccable. He might spend several minutes lingering on an idea, exploring its many permutations, or he might breeze through a passage in a fleeting and ephemeral way, but the way Lee manages to keep a sense of direction going throughout this material is truly impressive. The overall effect on the listener is something like exploring pools of liquid connected by tiny canals."

The Wire Review by Dan Warburton
"It’s a joy from start to finish, and Lee’s playing reveals as much genuine affection for the piece as it does scholarly attention to detail."

Sequenza21 Review by Jay Batzner
"November comes alive under the fingers and musical abilities of R. Andrew Lee... Given such few musical materials and so much time, there are rather few pianists who I think could pull this off. Some could work with these materials for 30 minutes, maybe an hour, but the ability to bring forth five hours of music in such a compelling-yet-accessible way is nothing short of a miracle."

Gramophone Magazine Review by Pwyll ap Siôn
"[Kyle] Gann has claimed that Johnson’s composition ‘rewrites the early history of minimalism.’ Equally important is that November offers a rewarding listening experience on its own terms."

The National (UAE) Review by Andy Battaglia
"As played by the pianist R. Andrew Lee, November could not be more stark. A simple beginning of lone piano notes hangs in resonant space, with a suggestion of chords to come on a horizon that is hardly hearable... At stake are ages, epochs, aeons - intervals that rush forward and backward in a manner that makes the ever-patient present seem all the more active."

Mouvement (France) Review by Xavier Hug
"Performed by pianist R. Andrew Lee, the five hours of November act on the consciousness like a sweet narcotic, taking us to the shore of waking dreams and providing us with an aesthetic thrill such as is rarely manifested in such pure form."

Trouw (Netherlands) Review by Anthony Fiumara
"Under the skilled hands of pianist R. Andrew Lee, ‘November’ winds its way through the short 5 hours. One tone here, one there, an occasional chord as confirmation. This enchanting atmosphere is sometimes very subtly reminiscent of Morton Feldman. But Johnson got there first."

His Voice (Czech Republic) Review by Matěj Kratochvíl
"Whatever the dates of creation, whether we should rewrite the history of musical minimalism or not, this is an extremely powerful and hypnotic composition working with simple means."

Jürg Frey: Piano Music

Surround Journal Review by Juko Zama
"Lee sends his piano sounds into the air as if he was artistically placing stones in a Zen garden.... [His] performance seems to accentuate these characteristics in a natural organic flow, creating a surreal feel as if time and space were wavering or stretching."

The Watchful Ear Review by Richard Pinnell
"What Chopin said in streams of complexity, what Schubert told through richly patterned melody, so Frey retells with simple brushstrokes, which are reproduced here by Lee without fuss, but with immense skill. Stunning work then, and a new pianist to keep a close eye upon."

The Wire Magazine Review by Philip Clark
"Pianist R. Andrew Lee colours repetitions with an expert [variance] of touch and tone.”

Sequenza21 Best of 2012 Review by Christian Carey
"Lee presents a committed performance in which Frey’s penchant for pianissimo passages, as well as his idiosyncratic use of repetitions and silences, are savored."

Just Outside Review by Brian Olewnick
"Lee, to his great credit in music like this, virtually disappears. There's certainly wonderful thought, consideration and decision making at play here, but the music seems to exist apart form a performer, a fine thing."

William Duckworth: The Time Curve Preludes

Gramophone Magazine Critic’s Choice for 2012
"Andrew Lee's recent recording is a fitting tribute to one of the unsung composer heroes of the 20th century."

Clavier Companion Review by Sang Woo Kang
"a captivating and thoughtful look at one of the more appealing examples of post-minimalism."

American Record Guide Review by Ira Byelick
"Lee is right at home performing this music, and he brings to it a clarity and space that suits it admirably."

AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
"R. Andrew Lee plays them with sensitivity and obvious affection... Highly recommended for any fans of new music for piano."

Fame Review by Mark S. Tucker
"the extremely capable hands of R. Andrew Lee, whose work, frankly, I find to be as interesting as David Tudor's coverage of John Cage”

Ann Southam: Soundings for a New Piano

Sequenza21 Review by Christian Carey
"Lee is a sensitive interpreter who recognizes the detailed and delicate character of Soundings."

American Record Guide Review by Ira Byelick
"Lee’s performance is engaged and exemplary. He caresses the music and communicates perfectly its quiet mystery."

The WholeNote Review by Tamara Bernstein
"Lee captures the spirit of curiosity that propels Soundings, and vividly conveys the distinctive, richly nuanced characters found in these 13 compact movements"

La Scena Musicale Review by Éric Champagne
"Magnificent music! ... performed with precision and sensitivity."

Sequenza21 Review by Jay Batzner
"This EP release... is another excellent vehicle for R. Andrew Lee to showcase a subtle virtuosity and sensitive musical touch."

Tom Johnson: An Hour for Piano

Review in the Journal Notes
"Lee’s version joins Rzewski’s recording as deserving to be preserved and made accessible to as many library patrons interested in hearing minimalism as possible."

Fanfare Magazine Review by Robert Carl"R. Andrew Lee plays beautifully. Of course one needs control, elegance of touch, and enormous stamina to project the “infinite pacing” of the piece. But to these I’ll add his ability to clarify the various repeating layers of the different textures, not so different from delineating Bach’s counterpoint. Above all, I salute this uncovering and return to the repertoire of a gem of early American Minimalism."

Sequeanza21 Review by David Toub
"it’s in every way at least an equal of the Rzewski performance...And that’s meant as a compliment-both performers skillfully captured the beauty in Johnson’s piece, and I’m not sure either recording could be outdone."

Just Outside Review by Brian Olewnick
"This rendition by R. Andrew Lee...approaches the work a shade or two more gently than Rzewski (not surprising, given the latter's forged steel attack), allowing the notes a fraction of a second to suspend in space, which in turn may allow the listener an extra glimpse into the underlying mechanics."