Samuel Lee, first prize winner of the BMI International Conducting Competition in Bucharest and the International Conducting Competition in Taipei, and a semifinalist in The Mahler Competition 2023, was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2022–23 season, and was promoted to Associate Conductor in August 2023.
Lee has guest conducted several orchestras, with debuts including Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Bamberg Symphoniker, Hamburg Camerata at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Leipziger Symphoniker at the Gewandhaus, and engagements with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt State Orchestra, Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bucharest Symphony Orchestra, Arad Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Korean National Symphony Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra and the SAC Festival Orchestra. Recent engagements include acting as cover conductor for the Minnesota Orchestra and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra.
Lee has assisted Cristian Măcelaru in concerts with the WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, Munich and Salzburg, as well as Vladimir Jurowski for his concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. As a conducting fellow and participant in masterclasses of conductors such as Daniele Gatti, Riccardo Muti, Neeme Järvi and Markus Stenz, he gained deeper insights into the art of conducting.
In 2019, Lee was invited to conduct the Orchestra Giovanile di Siena as part of an audition for the Chigiana International Music Festival in Siena. He was also invited to the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy in Tokyo Vol. 1, organized by the Tokyo Spring Festival, where he conducted Verdi’s Rigoletto.
An avid promoter of contemporary music, Lee has conducted several premieres of orchestral and ballet works. He was also a conducting fellow with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2021 and 2022, where he worked with conductors Cristian Măcelaru, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Octavio Más-Arocas and Marin Alsop.
Since 2016, Samuel Lee has been the chief conductor of the C.P.E. Bach Musikgymnasium Orchestra Berlin. He and the orchestra have been regularly invited to the Berlin Philharmonie and Konzerthaus Berlin for subscription concerts. He also served as a viola professor at Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” in Leipzig, Germany until 2022.
Lee is an alumnus of Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” Berlin, where he studied viola with Prof. Tabea Zimmermann (BM, MM, Konzertexamen) and orchestral conducting with Prof. Christian Ehwald (BM, MM). Lee completed Konzertexamen in orchestral conducting at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg with Prof. Ulrich Windfuhr.
As a violist, Lee has performed with several orchestras worldwide and was invited to perform with the Baden-Baden Philharmonic, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Southern German Philharmonic, Zabrze Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, KBS Symphony and Korean Symphony, and at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Music Festival.
From 2009 until 2017, Lee was the violist of the Novus String Quartet, which performed in and was invited to renowned venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Vienna Musikverein, Cologne Philharmonie and Suntory Hall. He also was the second prize winner of the 61st International Music Competition of ARD Munich and first prize winner of the Salzburg International Mozart Competition.