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School appoints first Director of Equity, Belonging, and Student Life

Albert Lee

Dr. Albert Lee

Dr. Albert R. Lee has been appointed Associate Professor of Music, Adjunct and the school’s inaugural Director of Equity, Belonging, and Student Life. He will teach two courses annually in the academic-studies area and will guide the school as it works with the university on long-term commitments to belonging. Dr. Lee will contribute to the development of the curriculum, particularly as relates to equity and belonging and participate in the admissions process. He will also create equity and belonging initiatives for students, faculty, and staff and oversee affinity groups and student participation on university committees and in student government.

Dr. Lee comes to Yale from the University of Nevada, Reno, where, as associate professor of voice and opera, he has coached graduate students in an advanced repertoire class, taught a course in art song, oratorio, and opera literature, and led an opera and opera-theater workshop in which students have presented productions of Menotti’s The Medium, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Monica Houghton and Jon Christensen’s The Big Bonanza, which the university’s Nevada Chamber Opera premiered.

At the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Lee has served as a faculty adviser to the Black Student Organization and the Phi Beta chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, chaired the Faculty Diversity Committee, and sat on the Academic Honesty and Conduct Review Board and the Chief Diversity Officer Advisory Board. He has also taught at Troy University and Lincoln University and was a graduate teaching assistant at Florida State University.

Dr. Lee’s doctoral treatise at Florida State University explored The Poetic Voice of Langston Hughes in American Art Song. His essay “All You Have Gotten is Tokenism” was published in Prejudice, Stigma, Privilege, and Oppression: A Behavioral Health Handbook (2020, Springer International Publishing). In 2017, at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Lee gave a TEDx presentation called When I Sing the Anthem, in which he sang The Star-Spangled Banner and said, “We must embrace our responsibility as citizens to demand … that the actions that our country takes continue to live up to our brightest and best hope.” At universities across the United States, Dr. Lee has delivered such lectures as American Art Song: Reframing and Reforming the Canon and The Musical Legacy of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, among others.

A native of New Haven, Dr. Lee earned his bachelor-of-music degree cum laude from the University of Connecticut, his master-of-music degree from The Juilliard School, and his doctor-of-music degree from Florida State University. He has performed as a recitalist and in oratorio and operatic settings with such ensembles as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Collegiate Chorale, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, National Chorale, New Haven Chorale, Reno Philharmonic, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Las Vegas, Opera Steamboat, and Palm Beach Opera, among others. He appears as a featured soloist on Sinfonia da Camera’s 2013 Albany Records recording of George Walker’s Lilacs, for voice and orchestra, which won the composer the 1996 Pulitzer Prize, and has also recorded with the American Spiritual Ensemble and the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh.

It is a particularly humbling honor to serve as the first Director of Equity, Belonging, and Student Life at the Yale School of Music,” Dr. Lee said. “As someone who grew up in New Haven but left after high school, this opportunity and the path that led here have reached beyond my wildest imagination.”

 “Albert Lee’s experience and academic career epitomize the qualities our search committee was seeking in this significant appointment, and we all anticipate our collaborative work will lead to an even more vibrant and welcoming community,” YSM Dean Robert Blocker said.