Catharine Carroll Lees

Catharine Carroll Lees


Professor of Viola, Geraldine B. Gee Chair of Viola

Memorial Hall


CCM Viola - 0003

Professional Summary

Catharine Carroll Lees, Professor of Viola and Geraldine B. Gee Chair of Viola, is an active recitalist, chamber musician, pedagogue, and andragogue, Dr. Lees has received numerous nominations for the Glover Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, the Dolly Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching, and was recipient of the American Viola Society Founders Award and awarded the Certificate of Appreciation by the International Viola Society.  She also served as Host Chair of the 2010 International Viola Congress and the 2017-2020 CCM/Sookmyung Women's University (Soeul, Korea), and collaborated in the Borden Research Project which successfully quantified the positive affect of live classical music vs. recorded or no music in pain and anxiety management with post-surgical patients at the Bethesda North Hospital.   Principal violist for 25 seasons of the Aspen Chamber Symphony where she was a member of the Artist/Faculty from 1994 - 2016, Dr. Lees has also served as Principal Viola of the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra, and guest Principal of the Cincinnati Chamber and Aspen Festival Orchestras.  In addition to guest appearances at festivals within the United States, Dr. Lees currently spends her summers teaching and performing in Europe.

Dr. Lees has been featured as soloist with orchestras including the Aspen Chamber Symphony, CCM Chamber Players, “Wired”, the Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, among others. Her chamber music collaborations include the world’s most prominent artists including, Maxim Vangerov, Gil Shaham, Adele Anthony, Jaime Laredo, Sarah Chang, Alisa Weilerstein, Don Weilerstein, Vivian Weilerstein, members of the Tokyo, Cleveland, American, Fine Arts, LaSalle, Pacifica, and Amernet Quartets, and members of the Beaux Arts Trio. She has been featured on well-established chamber music series on three continents and in broadcasts on WGUC, WFMT, NHK Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, and NPR.

Dr. Lees’ collaboration with Dorothy DeLay inspired her first scholarly work, "Essentials for Viola", widely used by her students claiming top prizes in international competitions, (such as Tertis, Sphinx, etc.) positions in many major symphony orchestras, and university faculty appointments in the United States, Asia, and Europe.  Her most recent scholarly works, currently available only for Dr. Lees’ students include two volumes of GPS:  Grounded Practice Strategies, forthcoming publications include her treatise, Facets of Integration, and Viola Excerpts/Strategic Audition Preparation.  In addition to her scholarly works, Dr. Lees’ background in Alexander technique and Performance Anxiety Psychology directly benefit her students.

A frequent presentor of master classes, Dr. Lees has been featured annually at the Aspen Music Festival and School (1994-2016) and at numerous universities domestically and abroad, including Eastman School of Music, University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, Carnegie-Mellon, University of Memphis, Ohio State University, Florida State University, Penn State University, New World Symphony, Cincinnati Young Artists, Fine Arts String Academy, Beijing Central Conservatory (China), Seoul National University (Seoul, South Korea), Sookmyung Women’s University (Seoul, South Korea), Yeungnam University (Daegu, South Korea), in Tainan, Taiwan, and at summer music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival and Interlochen Arts Camp.  She presented the collegiate viola master class at the 2014 American String Teachers Association Convention as well as featured presenter the 2011 International Viola Congress in Wurzburg, Germany.  

Dr. Lees earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory and was a fellowshi