Composer and conductor Lee Actor (Born 1952 in Denver, Colorado) has won a number of awards for his compositions, most recently for Concerto for Horn and Orchestra, which was the First Prize Winner in the 2007 International Horn Society Composition Contest. Variations and Fugue for Orchestra was a finalist in both the Columbia Orchestra's 2007 American Composer Competition and the Holyoke Civic Symphony's 2005 Composition Competition, and Prelude to a Tragedy was selected as a finalist in the Columbia Orchestra's 2005 American Composer Competition. Conductor/composer Robert Ian Winstin has written, "Lee Actor's Prelude to a Tragedy is one of the best written new works I've had the privilege to conduct or record. It is clear, precise and very tightly written. It has a style that is completely original … an incredible orchestral tour de force as written by an immensely talented composer." The CD including Mr. Winstin’s performance of this piece with the Kiev Philharmonic was released by ERM Media in March 2005.
Actor’s orchestral music is characterized by its dramatic impact and emotional expressivity, featuring a striking use of harmony, counterpoint, motivic development, and lyricism with a fresh, modern flavor. These attributes are most prominent in the large-scale dramatic structures of Actor’s two symphonies. Conductor Jason Klein has written of Symphony No. 1: "Lee Actor ... is a composer of remarkable skill whose 3-movement symphony has strength, character, and generous helpings of brilliance and humor", and described Symphony No. 2 as "… energetic, intense, and highly polished." His work has been characterized by conductor Kirk Trevor as "… music of the highest quality in craftsmanship, inventiveness, and imagination." Actor’s first CD of orchestral works was released by MMC Recordings in June 2005, and a second CD was released by Albany Records in April 2008. Both CDs were recorded by Kirk Trevor and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra.
A former violinist with the Albany (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra, Actor has advanced degrees in both engineering, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and music composition, from San Jose State University. He has studied composition with Donald Sur, Brent Heisinger, Charles Jones, and Andrew Imbrie, and conducting with Angelo Frascarelli, David Epstein and Higo Harada. Actor was named Composer-in-Residence of the Palo Alto Philharmonic in 2002, following his appointment as Assistant Conductor in 2001, and in 2008 was named Assistant Conductor of the Nova Vista Symphony. He is a member of the American Composers Forum, the American Music Center, and ASCAP®, who recently named Actor the recipient of an ASCAPlus award for the sixth consecutive year. He has received awards and grants from ASCAP, the American Music Center, and the International Horn Society.
Works for Winds