William Franklin Lee III
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William Franklin Lee III, aka Bill Lee (20 February 1929 Galveston, Texas; d. 23 October 2011 New Smyrna Beach, Florida) was an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, author, and music educator who was renowned for pioneering comprehensive music education, including jazz, at the collegiate level of a full liberal arts university. Lee was well known for having led the University of Miami School of Music to greater international influence across several music genres, particularly jazz. He served as Miami's third dean, from 1964 to 1982. In 1989, he retired from the University of Miami, but continued to work in music education at other institutions. Upon his initial retirement, the University of Miami acknowledged his contribution to his discipline and to the university by awarding him two permanent titles: distinguished professor emeritus of music theory and composition and emeritus composer in residence.
One of his sons, Will Lee (William Frankin Lee IV), is a prolific bassist and an original member of the bands on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman and CBS' Late Show with David Letterman, both led by Paul Shaffer.
Early life and education
Lee graduated from Kirwin High School, Galveston in 1945. He subsequently obtained a bachelor's degree in music, in 1949; and a master of science degree, in 1950, both from the University of North Texas College of Music. In 1956, he also obtained a master of music degree in composition and a PhD in music school administration, both from the University of Texas at Austin.
When Lee received his masters of science at the University of North Texas, in 1950, he was a member of the largest spring graduating class in the history of university as of that date. His studies at North Texas exposed him to two seminal people in music education at the collegiate level, Wilfred Bain, then the dean of the North Texas College of Music, and Gene Hall, who, in 1947, introduced at North Texas the first college degree in jazz studies in the world. Lee began his studies at North Texas in the fall of 1945. By his sophomore year in 1946, he was a member of the Beethoven Choir, conducted by Bain – the symphony orchestra; and the Aces of Collegeland, directed by Fessor Graham.
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Timeline as educator
- 1951-52 — Director of Bands at Kirwin High School, Galveston, TX
- 1952-55 — Professor of Music, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio
- 1953 — summer faculty, Trinity University, San Antonio
- 1954 — Distinguished Lecturer, San Antonio College
- 1952-55 — Special Music Instructor in the San Antonio Independent School District
- 1955-56 — Instructor of Theory and Assistant to the Dean of Fine Arts, The University of Texas at Austin
- 1956-64 — Professor of Theory-Composition and Director of the Music Department at Sam Houston State University, where he initiated their jazz studies program. One of his first assistants was renowned jazz educator Jerry Coker, who later followed Lee to The University of Miami.
- 1964-82 — Third Dean of the School of Music, University of Miami School of Music
- 1982-86 — Executive Vice President and Provost, University of Miami
- 1986-1989 — Distinguished Professor and Composer-in-Residence, University of Miami
- 1989-90 — Director of Fine Arts at Florida International University
- 1990-1994 — Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at San Antonio
- 1994-95 — Professor of Music, the University of Texas at San Antonio
- Honorary Mus.D. from the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Lima, Peru
- 1988 — Inducted into the IAJE Jazz Educators Hall of Fame
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William Franklin Lee III was born February 20, 1929, in Galveston, Texas, to the marriage of William Franklin Lee, Jr. (1906–1991), and Annie Tillie Lee (née Keis). (Lee & Keis were married in 1927 in Galveston). William Franklin Lee III married Lois Ruth Lee (née Snyder). Together, they had four children: William Franklin Lee IV (b. 1952); Robert ("Rob") Terry Lee (b. 1953); Patricia ("Pat") Lynn Lee (b. 1955) and Peggy Ann Lee (b. 1958).
Lee married his second wife, Jacqueline Tyler Lee, in 1980; and they were married 25 years. They had no children.
Selected published works
- William F. Lee, Stan Kenton: Artistry in Rhythm ed. by Audree Coke Kenton, Creative Press of Los Angeles (1980)
- Music Theory Dictionary, compiled and edited by William F. Lee, Huntsville, Tex., (c1961)
- Music Theory Dictionary: The Language of the Mechanics of Music, compiled by William F. Lee, C. Hansen Educational Music and Books (c1966)
- William F. Lee III, People in Jazz: Jazz Keyboard Improvisors of the 19th & 20th Centuries: preragtime, blues, folk and minstrel, early ragtime, dixieland, ragtime-stride, blues-boogie, swing, prebop, bop Columbia Lady Music, Hialeah, FL, distributed by Columbia Pictures Publications, (c1984)
- William F. Lee, The Nature of Music, a Guide to Musical Understanding and Enjoyment, C. Hansen Educational Music and Books, Denver (c1968)
- William F. Lee III, MF Horn: Maynard Ferguson's Life in Music, The Authorized Biography, Sunflower University Press (1997)
- Concerto Grosso, for brass quintet and orchestra
- Earth Genesis , for string orchestra
- Alamjohoba, for band
- Introduction and Fugue, for band
- Time After Time, for band
- Suite for brass, for brass choir
- Four Sketches for Brass, C. H. Hansen (c1969) – 4 trumpets, 4 horns, 2 baritones, 3 trombones, tuba, string bass, timpani & percussion (2 players) "Elite 23"
- Fanfare for Ralph, for brass choir
- Piece for Brass, for brass quintet
- Mosaics, for brass quintet
- Regimentation, for brass quintet
- Nocturne, for flute and piano
- Soliloquy, for horn and piano
- Mini-Suite, for trumpet and piano
- Three Reflections, for alto saxophone and piano
- Interlude, for guitar
- Tone Poem, for oboe, violin, viola, 2 celli
- Two Woodwind quintets
- Piano Pieces
- News release: William F. Lee III, University of Miami Frost School of Music, Julia D. Berg, Director of Communications, October 25, 2011
- Colin M. Mason, A Comparative and Historical Survey of Four Seminal Figures in the History of Jazz Education, DMA Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin (c 2005)
- Folks ... In the News, Galveston Daily News, col 6, pg. 22, May 28, 1950
- American Composers, A biographical dictionary, First edition, compiled by E. Ruth Anderson (born 1928), Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., Boston (1976)