Lee Joiner is a violinist whose interests encompass a broad range of styles and performing mediums.
New music, one of those interests, has been with him since his early days. Growing up, he played the works of Colorado composers George Lynn, Max DiJulio and Cecil Effinger, all family friends of his parents, who were musicians in the Denver Symphony Orchestra (now Colorado Symphony Orchestra). Attending a rehearsal of the orchestra
that was conducted by Stravinsky made a strong impression on him as a youth. As a soloist and later as a member of the Blair Quartet, he performed works of Roy Harris with the composer’s wife, pianist Johanna Harris. The Quartet also performed the premier of a quintet by Juilliard Quartet violist and composer Samuel Rhodes, and gave a New York premiere of a quartet by Frank Proto. While in doctoral studies at Eastman he recorded with Musica Nova. Moving to Chicago, he has performed with the Contemporary Chamber Players, working with Ralph Shapey and Shulamit Ran. His interest in contemporary music has taken him into many different areas of the repertoire, most recently works for solo violin and works by Czech composers. At last year’s Newfound Music festival, he performed solo violin works by John Harbison, Elliott Carter, and Memorial University faculty composer, Kati Agocs. This past October he performed Song of Songs by Clark Ross, who was visiting composer at Wheaton College.
Chamber music has been another favorite vehicle of expression. In his first summer music camp experience, he had the opportunity to study string quartets in Aspen with Robert Mann, founding member of the Juilliard Quartet. Besides his membership in the Blair, a quartet-in-residence at Vanderbilt University, he has been a regular organizer and participant in the Faculty Chamber Series at Wheaton College and a guest artist with the Rembrandt Chamber Players and the Orion Chamber Ensemble. He regularly performs chamber music with fellow faculty members from Credo, a summer chamber music program held on the Oberlin College campus. Other performing opportunities in the Chicago area have included Ars Viva, Fulcrum Point and the Lyric Opera, Chicago Jazz Orchestra.
A more recent passion of Lee’s has been improvised music. He is a member of the International Society of Improvised Music and he has done presentations at the first and second annual conferences. He is a member of the improvising ensemble, Spontaneous Combustion, and has played with the Allos Music Ensemble. With colleague Howard Whitaker, he has pioneered a course in improvisation at Wheaton Conservatory and he also has coached chamber ensembles in free improvisation. He believes that improvisation has the decisive capability to integrate the separate musical disciplines that are typically part of college music study.
On occasion, Dr. Joiner’s music-making takes him into worship settings. Recently, he has performed with a string quartet accompanying singer/songwriter Fernando Ortega in church concerts around the Midwest. Besides his participation in chapel at Wheaton College, he is an active part of musical life at St. Marks Episcopal Church, Geneva, IL.
Dr. Joiner’s interests beyond performance are many and varied. He enjoys such hobbies as tree and bird identification, visiting and learning from contemporary instrument and bow makers, reading theology, exercising his border collie, and following the interests and activities of his two sons, which include opera, soccer, baseball, and model trains.
Summers find Lee busy with a variety of performing and teaching. In addition to Credo, he also teaches at The JVL Summer School for Music in North Bay, Ontario. In past summers he has taught at the Masterworks Festival, Rocky Ridge Music Center, and Music on the Fly, an institute for the study of improvisation.
His musical studies include degrees from Juilliard and Eastman, with additional studies taking place at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Aspen Music School and Yale University Summer School.