Ilse-Mari Lee serves as the Dean of the Honors College at Montana State University. Born in South Africa, her principal teachers include Barbara van Wyk, Adolph Hallis, Betty Pack, Raya Garbousova, GordonEpperson and Robert Muczynski. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, Masters degrees in Cello Performance, and in Theory and Composition, from Northern Illinois University, and a Doctorate in Cello Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Lee is active as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, and performs regularly at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She was awarded the Montana Arts Council Individual Fellowship Award and was selected to perform at the American Cello Congress in Phoenix in1991. In 1992, she premiered the Cello Concerto, Opus 55, by Eric Funk. Collaborative performances include performances with the internationally renowned Moscow, Muir and Fry Street string quartets. CD releases include “The Duet Album” with classical guitarist Stuart Weber, “Song of the Cello” with pianist Michele Levin, and “In Performance at St. Timothy’s with the Muir Quartet.”
Dr. Lee founded the MSU Cello Ensemble in 1998. The ensemble has toured throughout the Northwest, as well as to Italy and Central Europe in May 2000 and to China in March 2006, performing in Beijing, Xian, and Tianjin.
Active as a composer, Dr. Lee’s compositions have been performed in South Africa, Canada, Europe, Southeast Asia and in China. In 2002, Dr. Lee premiered her Cello Concerto, “Mandela”, with the Billings Symphony. Her film scores for “Certain Green”, and “Forced into Comfort, Fighting for Apology” were awarded gold medals at the Park City Film Music Festival in 2008 and 2009.
A dedicated teacher, she was awarded the “Mortar Board Professor of the Month”, and the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce “Excellence in Teaching” Award. (2000, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016). She is a recipient of the prestigious President’s Excellence in Teaching Award (2006), the Distinguished Service to the Honors Program Award (2007), the Wiley Award for Meritorious Research (2008) and was invited to present a Provost Distinguished Professor lecture, as part of the Year of Engaged Leadership.