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Owen Lee: “If We Bassists Want the Top Composers to Write for Us, Then We Should Also Champion the Works by Top Composers That Have Been Already Written”


This interview with accomplished musician Owen Lee provides insights into his musical journey, spanning from early influences to his diverse experiences as a double bassist. Lee’s earliest exposure to music, shaped by his parents and an affinity for rock in the 80s, laid the foundation for his enduring passion. The discussion delves into his introduction to the double bass during high school, crediting public school music teachers for guiding him toward this instrument. Noteworthy mentors such as David Young, Dennis Trembly, and Paul Ellison played pivotal roles in shaping his technical proficiency, high standards for musicality, and a nuanced understanding of the double bass.

Lee’s reflections on his favorite orchestral, chamber, and solo bass compositions reveal a deep appreciation for both classical standards and underappreciated works, such as those by black composers. The interview highlights Lee’s enthusiasm for Hans Werner Henze’s music, particularly his Concerto and S. Biagio, shedding light on the importance of championing existing masterpieces to inspire contemporary composers. As a teacher, Lee emphasizes the development of musical sophistication, problem-solving skills, and professionalism in his students.

The interview concludes by exploring Lee’s connection to hard rock and heavy metal, drawing parallels between classical and heavy genres. Additionally, Lee shares his role as a keyboardist in the band Electric Citizen, detailing how he transitioned from being a fan to a key member, contributing to the band’s creative process and performances, even amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee’s diverse experiences underscore the intersections of classical and contemporary musical landscapes, revealing the depth and breadth of his contributions to the world of music.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music