The Charlotte Observer offers a thorough profile of Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees 

Lawrence Toppman, The Charlotte Observer

"Although short, his tenure at UNCSA was inspiring to the students he directed and taught, as well as the audiences, including yours truly!"

Peter Perret, Classical Voice of North Carolina

"Music Director Christopher James Lees conducted the entire concert with a firm and buoyant hand, while the student ensemble rose brilliantly to the challenge of the complex Russian score."

Peter Perret, Classical Voice of North Carolina

"Under the baton of Christopher James Lees – and under the Belk stage – the Charlotte Symphony filled the hall rather nicely."

Perry Tannenbaum, Classical Voice of North Carolina

"Lees and the VSO delivered it with real joy."

Jim Lowe, The Times Argus

"...Maestro Lees surprised me by moving the work along to a clear climax (with viola and cello exclamations) in a manner I have not ever heard. The intensity of that climax clearly justified the slow recapitulation of the introductory material as I had never heard it before. Bravo Maestro!"

Peter Perret, Classical Voice of North Carolina

"Christopher James Lees is also new to the show, conducting the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. He led the first act with vigor and without haste, supporting dancers buoyantly."

Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer

"[Christopher James Lees] also loves breaking down barriers. If anyone thinks there’s a dividing line between a cold beer and classical music, Lees looks forward to blurring that line at On Tap."

Page Leggett,
UNCSA Symphony & Soloist Provide Important "Fireworks" with Concert

"Maestro Lees conducted with knowledge of [Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony] that reminded me of watching Bernstein conduct Mahler: he knew every corner and turn and approached each with an incredible amount of musicianship."

Jackson Cooper, Classical Voice of North Carolina
UNCSA Delivers a Christmas Treat with Nutcracker

"Also new this year, Maestro Christopher James Lees, music director, fielded a well-rehearsed orchestra that sounded clear and confident from the first notes of the overture...A stellar collaboration is born."

Lynn Felder, Winston Salem Journal
Captivating Concert by UNC School of the Arts Orchestra

"Maestro Lees is clearly in charge of his orchestra, which responds well to his ever-changing direction. The outstanding playing brought the entire audience to its feet for a well-deserved standing ovation."

Peter Perret, Classical Voice of North Carolina
Denk Throws Changeups in an Offbeat Program

"Christopher James Lees, winner of the Aspen Conducting Prize for 2013, led the ensemble and got the tight rhythmic interjections to fit cleanly with the piano throughout..."

Harvey Steiman, Aspen Times
Review: University Opera Theatre's Don Giovanni
Christopher James Lees led a smoothly elegant performance that captured the comic, ironic, passionate, and sinister elements of the score [Don Giovanni], and the orchestra played with refinement and infectious energy”
Stephen Eddins, Ann Arbor Observer
PSO, Guests Shine in Pops Concert
“If the program, heavily revised from the original, was the work of guest conductor Christopher James Lees, he deserved the accolades of a large and enthusiastic audience…

His conducting, of both the orchestral works and the accompaniment of the singers, was precise, nuanced, and effective.”
Christopher Hyde, Portland Press Herald
A Red Hot Start to Michigan's New Music Season
“Maestro Lees’ commitment to new music is matched only by his charisma and musical ability...I was entranced from beginning to end by the beguiling ebb of instrumental strength, musical style and length as each work passed to the next.

Collectively, the pieces selected by Mr. Lees attacked me, beckoned me, mesmerized me, connected me to an imagined past, nuzzled me, astonished me, and drove me to tap my feet.

...I can confidently declare that, at least on Saturday night, Maestro Lees and his performers were beyond reproach.”
Garrett Schumann, Sequenza21
Have Baton, Will Travel: Classical Music Combine in New Orleans
Christopher James Lees had a small technique, but a long baton reach. Very genial, very precise about what he wanted, always couched in terms the musicians could accommodate. He was always set on his feet, a lithe backcourt warrior guarding classical music’s gates, athletic without being balletic. It’s most impressive when an orchestra thinks it is in charge, and yet a conductor gets what he or she wants almost at once, clearly delineated and modularized, and then really only helps them fix some obvious things. Lees’ live performances must be very thrilling.”
Lawrence Vittes, The Huffington Post
CDE and the Machine Which Makes Art
“As the vibrations of that final pizzicato evaporated into silence and Christopher Lees dropped his baton, I became certain that, in a season of strong performances, this [Contemporary Directions Ensemble] concert is the group’s crowning achievement -- so far.”
Garrett Schumann, Sequenza21
A conversation with Christopher James Lees
“Now in his third season, the orchestra’s ever inspiring conductor, Christopher James Lees, is a very thoughtful and articulate person who is passionate about the role that classical music can play in the nurturing of young people.”
Mike Telin,
[Christopher James] Lees conducted from memory, setting up a rhythmically vital, clean, and vibrant performance from the very opening bars...the peppy minuet was followed by a superbly layered account of one of Mozart’s most complicated symphonic movements...Lees brought this well-paced “Jupiter” to a joyful conclusion”
Mike Telin,
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