Obituary: Composer Benjamin Lees, 86

Posted on: June 2, 2010

In Wednesday’s (6/2) Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California), Bruce Fessier writes, “Benjamin Lees, a Palm Springs resident who was one of the great classical composers of the past half century, died Monday in New York. He was 86. Lees had moved to his daughter’s house in Glen Cove from his home in Palm Springs last month after suffering a heart attack and minor strokes. … [Lees] received a Grammy nomination in 2004 for his Symphony No. 5, ‘Kalmar Nyckel.’ He also received a Grammy for his Violin Concerto in 2009. His String Quartet No. 5, recorded last year by the Cypress String Quartet, was named one of the 101 best American small ensemble works by Chamber Music America. … Lees won the first Fromm Music Foundation Award in 1952 and became the first recipient of the Copley Foundation Award in 1955. In 1958, he became the first non-British composer to win the Sir Arnold Bax Society Medal in London. … A composition for four cellos, ‘Shadows,’ had its premiere last year at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Lees’ Collage for Organ premiered last June at the Far West Regional Convention in Phoenix.”

Posted June 2, 2010