A South Carolina native, Dr. Lester Green has extensive credits as a multi-disciplinary musician, pedagogue, and vocal coach. As a solo pianist, recital partner, conductor, and educator, Green has performed at the Kennedy Center, Washington National Opera, the Colour of Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival. His work as a recital partner and chamber musician with several arts organizations has allowed him to perform in venues across the USA and abroad. Green currently serves as a member of the voice faculty in the Division of Voice and Opera at the University of Maryland School of Music, College Park. Green also teaches at Morgan State University and has formerly taught at both the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the Peabody Preparatory.
Green’s enthusiasm for vocal performance has afforded him opportunities to prepare the principal artists, soloists, and choristers of many operatic and musical theater productions. On different occasions, Green has participated as a singer, pianist, conductor, or coach – at times, he has even performed as an ensemble member of the orchestras which have accompanied these presentations. His clients, students, collaborators, and stage colleagues range from some of the top operatic luminaries of our time, to some of the most promising emerging young artists.
Green’s involvement with the Washington, DC and Maryland artistic communities have led to numerous collaborations and live performances of works across many different genres. In the summer of 2005, Green began to engage more extensively with the Greater Washington music scene, namely due to his appointment as Minister of Music at the historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. Almost immediately upon his appointment, Green commanded the responsibility of preparing and presenting music for the televised funeral service of the late civil rights activist, Mrs. Rosa Parks – featured alongside such noted artists as Oprah Winfrey and the late Cicely Tyson.
Green’s engagement at Metropolitan led to annual preparations and performances of Handel’s Messiah, and other choral works on a weekly basis. This post also included the duty of preparation and presentation of music for President Obama and his family on two occasions. For the 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Inaugural Prayer Service, on the occasion of the visit of keynote speaker Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Green conducted a mass choir and soloists from the organ, where he accompanied the service. A highlight of his Metropolitan years came many years later at a Founder’s Day celebration in February, 2014, where he curated a concert in partnership with the United States Air Force Strings and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ Chamber Singers. On this occasion, Green conducted the US Air Force Strings in performances of works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Margaret Bonds, as well as a newly commissioned setting of a spiritual for orchestra, A City Called Heaven, beautifully arranged by Master Sgt. John Bliss. As a result, Green was publicly commended with a ‘Challenge Coin’ by the Commander of the Air Force Band for his exemplary work, presented with the Secretary of the Air Force in attendance.
Green has frequently served as a clinician for arts organizations, a juror for competitions, or in an advisory role to arts organizations. In September 2014, Green was appointed Artistic Director of the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA). A non-profit national arts network of community partners and professional artists, CAAPA showcases, encourages, and develops excellence in the achievements of classical musicians of color and others, both in the USA and internationally. Additionally, since 2018, Green has served on the music education team of the Children’s Chorus of Washington, and in 2020, he was retained as Artistic Advisor to the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.
Like many artists, Green’s public performances were severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. However, he remained active as an educator and recording artist on several projects throughout 2020, including archival livestream features with CAAPA on their Vir-Cital™ Series. Additionally, in July 2020, Green helped to curate the performance content for an outdoor public concert commemorating the anniversary of the historic 1963 Civil Rights ‘March on Washington’, presented by the international performance tours company Classical Movements, and CAAPA. In February 2021, Green appeared as pianist, composer, and poet, in the ‘Black History Month’ concert entitled, ‘No Ways Tired’, presented by the UMD School of Music IDEA Committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility). In March 2021, Green appeared in concert with acclaimed mezzo-soprano, J’Nai Bridges, as presented by Washington Performing Arts. The program, entitled ‘Rising Together’, featured Ms. Bridges, accompanied by Green, in interpretations of works by German, Austrian, Spanish and American composers, highlighting Green’s own poetry and compositions as well.
Green earned degrees in solo piano from the University of South Carolina (1995), the Peabody Institute (M.M. 1997, G.P.D. 1999), and the D.M.A. in Collaborative Piano at the University of Maryland College Park (2005). His principal piano teachers have included Charles Fugo, Ann Schein, Marian Hahn, and Rita Sloan. Green is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. His film credits include, Samuel Coleridge Taylor and His Music in America: 1900-1912, and Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask, a PBS documentary.
Personal Quote: “Although I enjoy my musical pursuits, creative writing, and pedagogical research, my most fulfilling work is in helping other artists unlock their own creative potential to express their art with emotional impact, excellence, and integrity.”