Bonson Lee currently resides in Tempe, AZ, and teaches in the Phoenix area including being the Adjunct Professor of Saxophone and Chamber Ensembles at Glendale Community College and Ottawa University, the Woodwind Caption Head/Saxophone Teacher at Campo Verde High School, and the Saxophone Technician for the ASU Sun Devil Marching Band. As an active musician, Lee has competed and been awarded prizes in the solo and chamber rounds throughout his music career, recently including the Gold Medal at the 50th Fischoff Chamber Music Competition with his saxophone quartet, Kodachrome.
Lee has had the great privilege of performing at the highest level in collaboration with ensembles. In 2016, he was part of the UNLV Wind Orchestra’s album entitled The Return, and in 2017’s album, 24K Gould. In 2016, Lee was also part of the UNLV Wind Orchestra’s performance at the grand finale of the Festival des Anches d’Azur in La Croix Valmer, France, by invitation of the city’s mayor. During its 20-year history, the festival has grown and evolved significantly, and the UNLV Wind Orchestra has been the only American university ensemble ever invited to perform (UNLV website: https://www.unlv.edu/news-story/unlv-wind-orchestra-presents-presidents-concert-nov-19).
Lee was also in UNLV Jazz Ensemble I’s album “Rail Trails” / “Latin Journey III” 2017. Through UNLV Jazz Ensemble I, Lee was able to compete at the 60th Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival held in Monterey, California in March 2017, in which they received 1st Place Prize at the Top College Big Band division. After winning the competition, Lee and the UNLV Jazz Ensemble I was invited to perform at the 60th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival in September 2017, also held in Monterey, California.
As a musician, Lee has performed with many artists throughout the US. Notable artists Lee had the opportunity to collaborate with include Nathan Tanouye, Derek Brown, Allen Vizzutti, Adam Schroeder, Bob Mintzer, Carl Saunders, Kenny Rampton, Don Cunningham, Clint Holmes, Eric Marienthal, Bernie Dresel, Kevin Axt, and among others. Lee also had the opportunity to work with conductors including Tom Leslie, Johan de Meij, David Waybright, Dave Loeb, Yunior Lopez, Nathan Tanouye, Jason Caslor, Gary Hill, Jamal Duncan, as well as Col. John Bourgeois.
In addition to numerous solo performances within the US and abroad, Lee has great experience in chamber music playing and collaboration in many wind ensembles and saxophone ensembles, one of which was being the baritone chair of the Kodachrome. Through Kodachrome, Lee has been able to educate and perform at numerous high schools and universities in the US. Competitively, Kodachrome has recently won the First Prize at the 10th Coltman, 10th Plowman, and the Gold Medal at the 50th Fischoff Chamber Music Competitions.
Lee chose his Doctoral Project to be focused on the soloistic qualities that the baritone saxophone offers, and collaborated with 4 composers to write pieces for baritone saxophone and piano. The 4 composers include Brooke Herndon, Kevin Day, Jorge Machain, and Tanner Bayles. Lee premiered Vignettes and Fantasia V recently at the 2023 NASA Biennial Conference, and will premiere On the Hunt and Lonepine, later this upcoming year.
Lee earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University under Dr. Christopher Creviston. Lee also earned a Master of Music from Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music and a Bachelor’s of Music at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Music. His current and former saxophone teachers include Dr. Creviston, Mark McArthur, John Seaton, and Eric Maine.
Lee is an endorsing artist for Silverstein Works, LefreQue Sound Solutions, ReedGeek Inc., and D’Addario Woodwinds.