President and Artistic Director, Chicago Children's Choir
Founded in 1956, the Chicago Children's Choir is a multiracial, multicultural choral music education organization, shaping the future by making a difference in the lives of children and youth through musical excellence
“Under her watch, the Choir has grown to become one of the nation’s finest...giving kids from the metropolitan area a chance to represent what is best about Chicago.”
– John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
“Music is more than notes on a page. Through our breadth of repertoire, these children are learning diverse social codes and through their voices are able to bring cultures together. Chicago Children's Choir helps our singers become cultural diplomats and world citizens in our global society.”
– Josephine Lee, Artistic Director
Josephine Lee has served as artistic director of the Chicago Children’s Choir since 1999, and was appointed president in 2010. Through her vision and leadership, the Choir has become a civic treasure and cultural icon. Ms. Lee has solidified longstanding partnerships with Chicago’s renowned arts institutions, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera, and Ravinia Festival, and has expanded the Choir’s artistic breadth through celebrated collaborations with the finest theater and dance organizations. In 2002, Chorus America named Ms. Lee the first Robert Shaw Conducting Fellow. In 2006, the Chicago Tribune named her a “Chicagoan of the Year in the Arts,” and in 2007, she was honored as a Distinguished Musician by the Union League Club of Chicago. In 2011, Ms. Lee was invited to serve on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Arts & Culture Transition Committee. In 2004, she participated in the recording of Bobby McFerrin’s Grammy nominated album VOCAbuLarieS, and recently conducted the premiere of VOCAbuLarieS with the Chicago Children’s Choir at the Ravinia Festival and in Finland and Latvia. In 2012, Ms. Lee composed a new work for River North Dance Chicago, which premiered on national television. Recently, the world musical, Sita Ram, a collaborative work between Ms. Lee, David Kersnar of Lookingglass Theatre, and Krithika Rajagopalan of Natya Dance Theatre, based on the Hindu epic the Ramayana, enjoyed critical acclaim at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Following the success of the production, Ms. Lee and select singers from the Voice of Chicago made their inaugural visit to India for a 10 day international tour.
Ms. Lee received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from DePaul University and a master’s degree in conducting from Northwestern University. Last summer, she received the Roman Nomitch Fellowship to attend the Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, a program that provides opportunities for senior executives to examine their missions and develop strategies for the new global economy.