© 2019 Lee University International Piano Festival & Competition.

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Assistant Professor of Piano at Lee University

Artistic Director: Lee University International Piano Festival & Competition 

Born and raised in rural Alabama, pianist Cahill Smith has performed in major venues in the United States and abroad, including four performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the PolyTheater in Chongqing, China, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall in Boston, Cleveland Museum of Art, the Royal Dublin Society’s Concert Hall, the Aspen Music Festival’s Harris Hall, Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall, Buffalo’s Kleinhan’s Music Hall, and Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Center. Cahill has been featured as a concerto soloist with the National Ukranian Symphony
Orchestra in Kiev, the Mongolian Symphony Orchestra in Hohhot, China, the Eastman Philharmonia, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Chattanooga Symphony, the Butler Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, and others. His live and studio recordings have been broadcast on WQXR, New York’s Classical Music Radio Station and WSMC, Chattanooga Public Radio.
Cahill gave his first recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2013 with a program dedicated entirely to works of Nikolai Medtner. Two years later, in a review of his 2015 solo recital in the same venue, New York Concert Review wrote, “The entire second half was devoted to a special “cause” of Mr. Smith: the piano music of Nikolai Medtner […]. Here, Mr. Smith was in his element, revealing every twist and turn, every poignant repeat of the cyclic themes, with beautiful shimmering colors I haven’t heard since Gilels played the Sonata reminiscenza in Carnegie Hall in 1980.  Of another performance in 2011, the East Hampton Star wrote, “The unexpected gems of the afternoon were two of Nikolai Medtner’s Vergessene Weisen (‘Forgotten Melodies’), played by Cahill Smith. I was not familiar with these works, but in Mr. Smith’s hands they were absolutely endearing.” Cahill has given recitals and lectures on Medtner’s music at Yale University, the International Medtner Festival in London, UK, and a number of other universities in the United States.
Cahill completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music in 2014, where he served as the teaching assistant to Natalya Antonova. At Eastman, Cahill was the inaugural recipient of the Douglas Lowry award for excellence in degree recital performance, won the Eastman Concerto Competition, and was awarded the Prize for Excellence in Teaching as a graduate assistant. Cahill completed his Master’s degree at the University of Michigan with Arthur Greene, and his Bachelor’s at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with Yakov Kasman. Other piano teachers include Ann Schein, the late Betty Sue Shepherd, Ronald Shinn, and Margaret Moore.
Cahill serves on the piano faculty at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where he also serves as Artistic Director for the Lee University International Piano Festival and Competition. He is an active lecturer, competition juror, and masterclass presenter. Cahill is a Yamaha Artist.


Assistant Professor of Piano at Lee University

South Korean-New Zealand pianist Jonathan Jung concertizes regularly across the USA, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. He has been featured as a Guest Artist at the Texas State International Piano Festival and Brevard Summer Music Festival. Jonathan has performed with the Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra, Korean Philharmonic Orchestra of New Zealand, University of Auckland Symphony Orchestra, and Auckland Youth Orchestra. Jonathan received prizes in Kerikeri Piano Competition, Eastman Concerto Competition, Kapiti Coast National Piano Competition, and Christchurch National Piano Concerto Competition.
His solo recitals and concerto performances have been recorded and broadcasted by Radio New Zealand and World TV. He has been featured in public master classes with renowned pianists including Joseph Banowetz, Bao Hui-qiao, Piers Lane, Marina Lomazov, Jura Margulis, Hiroko Nakamura, John Perry, Martin Roscoe, Vladimir Tropp, and Arie Vardi.
As a composer, Jonathan has premiered and performed his own compositions at Carnegie Hall, University of Southern Mississippi, Tulane University, Hatch Recital Hall, and Brevard Music Center. In a review of his recent Carnegie Hall Recital, New York Concert Review wrote, “[Mr. Jung’s] The four pieces are (no title), Illuminate, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. There is a strong French influence in the first three; the first two have striking Debussyian qualities, and the third reminds one of Milhaud. The piano part is virtuosic; there is no “hack-in-the-back” anywhere to be found in any of the selections. The fourth piece, the Agnus Dei, was much more individualistic, with a mournful sound that was truly moving.” Jonathan enjoys writing music for all instruments and he is a devoted chamber musician.
Jonathan completed a Master of Music Degree and Bachelor of Music (Honours) Degree with First Class at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In 2009, he received an invitation to study in the USA to complete a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree (2016), Master of Arts in Theory Pedagogy Degree (2015), and Master of Music Degree (2011) at the Eastman School of Music. His academic mentors include Barry Snyder, Rae de Lisle, Read Gainsford, Douglas Humpherys, Thomas Schumacher, Steven Laitz, Elizabeth Marvin, Katherine Ciesinski, David Temperley and Matthew Brown.
Jonathan has a passion for collecting rare historical music recordings of the early twentieth century. He is now combining this passion with his academic interest: music theory and music analysis. Jonathan’s current research is on tempo rubato—an in-depth comparative study between nineteenth- and twentieth-century pianists’ interpretations. His thesis, titled “Structural Hearing of Rubato,” is a pedagogical study of tempo fluctuation in music performance, focusing on motives, counterpoint, and harmonization. Jonathan has presented his theoretical work at the MTNA and College Music Society conferences.
Jonathan previously taught Applied Piano, Music Theory, Aural Skills, and Class Piano sequences at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Jones County Junior College. Starting Fall 2017, he joined Lee University as Assistant Professor of Piano to continue his teaching, research, and performance career.


Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano and Vocal Coaching 

at Lee University

Dr. ChoEun Lee, a native of Korea is an active pianist, vocal coach, and chamber musician. She has given numerous performances in Korea, the United States, Austria, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand, in major venues including Carnegie Hall in NY City, Ozawa Hall in Tanglewood Music Center and Harris Concert Hall in Aspen Music Festival. She has worked extensively in recitals and masterclasses with renowned musicians, including Stephanie Blythe, Martin Katz, Anne Sofie von Otter, Christine Schäfer, Dawn Upshaw, Jake Heggie, Erie Mills, Linda Watson, Jennifer Ringo, and Grant Gershon. 
She was a pianist in Opera gala concerts in Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy, where she worked with Donna Brunsma, Gianfranco Cosmi, and Rolando Russo. She was twice invited to Tanglewood Music Festival and has been named as a recipient of the Grace B. Jackson Prize. One of her performances in Seiji Ozawa Hall was broadcasted on WAMC. She was also invited to Emerging Artist Fellowship Program in Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar in Potsdam (NY) directed by Stephanie Blythe and Alan Smith. Since summer of 2016, she joined American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz (Austria) as a repetitor and she will be returning to the festival this summer in 2018.
Thomas has served as adjudicator for a variety of competitions on the local, regional, and international levels. His students often receive the highest ratings; some have won their respective divisions. Thomas is listed in the Who’s Who Among American Teachers and is a member of the American Musicological Society, the College Music Society, and Historical Keyboard Society of North America.
Dr. ChoEun Lee, as a harpsichordist, has performed many Baroque music concerts and she is also passionate about discovering and performing contemporary classical music and vocal chamber music. She has appeared many times at the Grandin Vocal Chamber Music Festival, and she has premiered various works and has worked with many living composers, including John Harbison, Michael Gandolfi, Jake Heggie, Thomas Pasatieri, and John Plant. Recently, she was invited as a guest panel to CollabFest@USC at University of Southern California. She has given masterclasses at Covenant College and University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She is going to join the 22nd Annual UTC Piano Arts Festival in April 2018, as a guest artist and competition adjudicator.
Dr. ChoEun Lee was awarded a master’s degree in collaborative piano studies from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where she studied with Kenneth Griffiths, Sandra Rivers, and Donna Loewy. She earned her doctoral degree at the University of Southern California in the studio of Dr. Alan Smith. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society. She is a recipient of the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Keyboard Collaborative Arts scholarship four times. Previously Dr. Lee has taught at California State University, San Bernardino as a resident-collaborative pianist, vocal and instrumental coach, and opera music director. She served as a vice-president of CAPMT (California affiliate of the MTNA) Riverside-San Bernardino Chapter, and was presented an Outstanding Member Award. Dr. ChoEun Lee is currently teaching at Lee University as an assistant professor in collaborative piano and vocal coaching.


Professor of Music and Chairperson of Musicianship Studies 

at Lee University

Phillip Thomas is an educator, performer, and university administrator with a variety of scholarly interests. A year after graduating summa cum laude from Lee College (now Lee University), he completed the master’s degree in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory; his major teachers were George Walker and Julio Esteban. Thomas later completed the Ph.D. degree in Music History from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati, where he was the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship and an assistantship in Music Theory. His dissertation was entitled Music for One or More Alternately
Tuned Acoustic Pianos, 1920-1993: Trends in Melody, Harmony, and Technique. While there, he studied harpsichord with Eiji Hashimoto, a noted performer, conductor, and editor.
Thomas has served as adjudicator for a variety of competitions on the local, regional, and international levels. His students often receive the highest ratings; some have won their respective divisions. Thomas is listed in the Who’s Who Among American Teachers and is a member of the American Musicological Society, the College Music Society, and Historical Keyboard Society of North America.
In 1996, Thomas established Lee University’s Chamber Orchestra, after serving as founding conductor of a community string orchestra for several years. He studied conducting at the Institute Provençe-Aubagne in France with Yves Cohen, a student of Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. Thomas led the ensemble in performances of masterworks, light classics, and other genres; a study tour to Germany and Austria; and a two recording projects. In the same period, Thomas began serving as a department chair in the School of Music at Lee, a post he still holds. It boasts a highly-qualified faculty of some 20 members, who teach courses in music theory and history, church music, and music business.
Previously, Thomas had a long tenure as keyboardist for the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra. He also served as board member for the Tennessee Music Teachers Association and Chattanooga Youth Symphony. Thomas was also selected to review several college textbooks, including the second edition of Douglass Seaton’s Ideas and Styles in the Western Musical Tradition, published by McGraw-Hill. For many years, he was staff pianist for the Mount Paran North Church of God just outside Atlanta, Ga.
Most recently, Thomas has studied with harpsichordist Arthur Haas, a performer and recording artist, who teaches in the Early Music Program at The Julliard School. Thomas lives in Cleveland, Tennessee, with his wife Dale, a talented soprano and music educator. They have one daughter, Shannon, a professional violinist and university professor.