Joanna Lee, Founder, Museworks Limited, USA


Joanna Lee founded Museworks Limited in 2002 to better facilitate artistic engagement between China and the West. She has consulted for large-scale arts festivals at Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the Concertgebouw, as well as new opera and theatrical projects including Poet Li Bai (Central City Opera, 2007), The Bonesetter’s Daughter (San Francisco Opera, 2008), Dr. Sun Yat-sen (Opera Hong Kong, 2011) and David Henry Hwang’s bilingual Broadway comedy Chinglish. She has also established Asian media profiles for a number of major American orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She received her PhD degree in musicology from Columbia University, with research on the post-1945 European avant-garde. She contributed 11 articles to the current New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and has published research on Chinese rock and popular music.

A former Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Asian Studies, (2002–11), Lee and her husband Ken Smith founded Museworks Books to publish translations of Chinese literary and vernacular culture. In 2002, they were co-music directors of the award-winning CD recording entitled Dong Folk Songs: People and Nature in Harmony, released by the Western China Cultural Ecology Research Workshop. The recording’s success led to the founding of the Dimen Dong Cultural Eco-Museum in China’s Guizhou Province, with cultural preservation programs ranging from weekend singing classes to traditional organic farming, with the daily life of the village extensively documented in archival materials. Dimen village was the subject of a 5000-word feature article by Amy Tan in National Geographic magazine (May 2008), and the Workshop’s accolades also include the Travel & Leisure Cultural Preservation Award (2008) and the US Presidential Committee for Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards (2011).