1/6/19 - Snare drums by Boston's Charles A. Stromberg are recognizable by their elegance, attention to detail, and forward thinking design. All of those traits are on full display in this early Invincible Orchestra Drum produced between about 1912 and 1914. Read more...
10/18/18 - It was a privilege to work (briefly!) with the students at the University of Michigan this week. Thanks to our gracious host, Jonathan Ovalle, and to Zildjian and Remo for their continued support!
10/13/18 - It was a fun week performing Ravel's Daphnes & Chloe with the Joe Petrasek, Mark Yancich, and everyone at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
9/28/18 - Nashville's contemporary music ensemble Intersection always does interesting programing. Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale on the 100th anniversary of the premier was a special treat! And because it's Lee, there had to be old drums involved.
9/2/18 - O. A. Whitmore settled north of Boston in Malden, Massachusetts around 1871 and was building drums and banjos at least as early as the mid 1870s. This drum featured here dates from circa 1875 placing Whitmore as perhaps the first in a long succession of drum makers contracted by Boston's Thompson & Odell. Read more...
5/20/18 - Another summer, another trip to Tuscany for the Cortona Sessions for New Music. This year it was a privilege to perform Suzann Farrin's this mind made war with JiHye Jung on the opening night concert with the composer in the audience.
4/19/18 - Thank you to Tim Feeney for the invitation to work with the wonderful percussion students at the University of Alabama. And as always, thank you to Zildjian and Remo for their continued support!
2/19/18 - Lee recently appeared as featured marimba soloist with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra performing Eckhard Kopetzki's Concerto for Marimba and Strings. Many thanks to Music Director Thomas Hinds for the invitation and for making this homecoming possible!
12/16/17 - A lowly Orchestra Drum from Boston's George B. Stone & Son went through some significant changes after it's birth in 1911. Eighteen separate tension lugs were not part of the original plan. Read more...
10/28/17 - Amongst the most common styles of drums manufactured during the late 19th century were the so called "Prussian Drums". Featured here is just such a drum from Boston's John C. Haynes & Co. Read more...
8/15/17 - Lee is thrilled to be joining the percussion faculty at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music! Among other duties, he will be teaching an orchestral repertoire course, coaching masterclasses and large ensemble sectional rehearsals, and running a weekly fundamentals seminar for all first year percussionists.
4/2/17 - Among the more significant, yet now obscure, drum builders operating in Boston during the late 19th century was the firm of Blair & Baldwin. The two men went into business together in 1892 having worked together as touring musicians at the Theatre Comique in St. Louis, Missouri more than a decade earlier. Read more...
3/4/17- It was a fun day of music with students from across the state convening in Nashville for the 2017 Tennessee Day of Percussion. Lee was delighted to offer a session about how to better approach learning to play snare drum, xylophone and cymbals.
2/5/17 - Boston's F. E. Dodge Company operated for only a short period of time from roughly 1903 until 1912. The Company's own advertising claims have until now led many to believe that Frank E. Dodge was in operation much earlier than this. But the origins of Dodge's drum making endeavors may have been closely tied to the Boston Stitching & Plating Company just after the turn of the 20th century. Read more...
12/1/16 - Here we have a marvelous mid 1930s George B. Stone & Son Master-Model drum. What is so stunning about the drum, aside from the brilliant chrome plated hardware and white marine pearl wrap, is just how well the whole instrument is constructed. There is absolutely nothing shoddy about the construction, nothing whatsoever lacking in the way of craftsmanship to hint at Stone's fading prowess as a drum builder. Read more...
11/11/16 - PASIC 2016 has come and gone and Lee's snare drum lab session was loads of fun! Many thanks to student performers Joe Miller, Gloria Yehilevsky, Mark Collins, Moose Davis, and Nathaniel Gworek.
11/1/16 - New to the collection is an F. E. Dodge Orchestra Drum dating from roughly 1907. It is a remarkably well preserved piece of Boston drum building history, complete down to the original "Satin Finished Water-proof Snares".
9/1/16 - Lee's Snare Drum Etude Lab at PASIC 2016 is scheduled for Friday November 11th at 11:00 AM in Room 109. Spots for participants are now full, but a preview of the session appears in the September edition of Percussive Notes. Give it a read!
8/9/16 - During Nokes & Nicolai's fourteen year existence from 1912 through 1926, the company had more success than any of the other Boston Drum Builders at manufacturing metal shell drums. As metal drums gained in popularity through the 1910s and into the 1920s, virtually every American drum company had their own rendition, the most common shell choice being nickel plated brass. Nokes & Nicolai constructed theirs around a thick, polished aluminum shell riveted together at the seam. Read more...
7/20/16 - It was a blast being back at the Brevard Music Center for the first time in many years. Many thanks to Zildjian for their continued clinic support!
5/10/16 - Lee is honored to be presenting the Symphonic Snare Drum Lab at PASIC 2016! Lab sessions are essentially open masterclasses for student performers. This class is titled "The Etudes That Make Us" and will consist of college and high school students performing and recieving coaching on common snare drum etudes by Cirone, Peters, Delecluse and others. Stay tuned over the coming weeks and months for more information on how to apply to be a student performer.
4/15/16 - Lee was privilaged to have recently performed with the Southern California based chamber music ensemble Camerata Pacifica. Programs in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Marino, and Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles included Toru Takemitsu's "Bryce" for flute, two harps, and to percussionists.
3/15/16 - The last two days were spent at in Nate Bartlett's sound-space audio lab outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico recording "impulse response" for four percussionists playing six snare drums each. In this case, I played all four parts. The recording was done in HD 3D eight-channel (cube) surround, placing the listener in an immersive field of 24 spatially distinct snare drums.
2/10/16 - Winters in northern Michigan can be harsh, but it was worth braving the elements to see Keith Aleo and all of the talented young students at the Interlochen Arts Academy!
2/6/16 - The performance schedule remains busy including dates with the orchestras of Detroit, Nashville, and Alabama over the last several months.
1/3/16 - Boston's George B. Stone & Son produced a great of drums in black lacquer finishes during the 1920s and into the 1930s. Most were either Master-Model snare drums or bass drums from matching drumsets. Much less common are black lacquered examples of the Separate Tension Orchestra Drum. Read more...
11/29/15 - The fall masterclass / clinic schedule has been pleasantly busy with visits locally to Vanderbilt University and Belmont University, as well as internationally with students in Seoul, South Korea. Special thanks to Ed Choi for organizing and hosting the class in Korea at the Seoul Philharmonic, and to my sponsors Zildjian and Remo for their continued support of percussion education.
11/1/15 - Swedish immigrant Charles A. Stromberg came to the United States in 1887 and found work at Boston's Thompson & Odell where he served as the foreman in their banjo, mandolin, and guitar factory. After Thompson & Odell went bankrupt in 1905, Stromberg went into business for himself. The Artist Drum seen here dates from sometime between April of 1904 and March of 1906 just as Stromberg was venturing out on his own. Read more...
10/4/15 - Towards the end of the 19th century, American musical instrument retailers began cataloging drums described as "Prussian" models. These were not generally instruments imported from Prussia, but rather early rod tension drums as opposed to the more traditional "regulation" style of drums which used rope and leather tugs to tune the heads. Read more...
9/1/15 - And now, for your listening and viewing enjoyment, Lee and Ji Hye play down some Ragtime!
8/2/15 - As Vaudeville was meeting a rapid demise towards the end of the 1920s at the hands of talking cinema and broadcast radio, so too were the dreams of aspiring drummers and drum makers alike. Just as the curtain was coming down for good on Vaudeville, the Great Depression landed and a manufacturing startup of any sort was all but impossible for a one man operation such as that of A. A. Young. Read more...
7/12/15 - Lee was recently a guest percussionist at the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Cortona, Italy. The annual two week workshop focuses on the study of contemporary classical chamber music by bringing together young composers and performers for two weeks of collaboration in the hills of Tuscany.
6/22/15 - Lee lives in Nashville now!
6/9/15 - The only snare drums I really collect these days are those of the early 20th century Boston builders. This drum is an exception because it was given to me by John Beck. It's an early 1900s J. W. Pepper drum respectfully cleaned up and with new calfskin heads tucked on the existing flesh hoops.
5/1/15 - As the academic year was coming to an end, the Kansas University Percussion Group was busy with a series of concerts including performances at the KU School of Music, and the Spencer Museum of Art. The final program of the semester featured more than two hours of unconnected chamber music for percussion including Bob Becker's Mudra featuring Lee.
4/15/15 - One of the most historically significant pieces to enter the collection in quite some time is a Stromberg Invincible Orchestra Drum dated March 30th, 1906. Why is this drum so fascinating? Find out at blog.BostonDrumBuilders.com.
4/1/15 - The 2015 Kansas Day of Percussion is in the books! Lee's clinic was entitled "The Concert Rudimentalist" drawing technical, musical, and pedagogical comparisons between traditional rudimental drumming and modern orchestral snare drum playing.
1/20/15 - Seven trips to Rochester, NY in three months makes for a lot of air travel, but the opportunity to work with the amazing students at the Eastman School of Music this year has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my professional life. Many thanks to professor Michael Burritt and the entire Eastman percussion studio for giving back to me more than I could ever teach them.
11/27/14 - The Thanksgiving week was a busy one with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Boettcher Hall in Denver, Colorado. An all Copland concert was part of a larger recording project including the complete ballet scores of Billy the Kid and Rodeo.
11/20/14 - It's always great to see everyone at the convention and I never miss a chance to catch up with my teacher and mentor, the one and only, JB.