Lee Hyla was born in Niagara Falls, New York, and grew up in Greencastle, Indiana. He studied composition with Malcolm Peyton at the New England Conservatory, and at S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook with David Lewin. His musical background also includes extensive experience as a pianist in new music, rock, and free improvisation. He is writing or has written for numerous performers including the Midori/ Vadim Repin commissioning project, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet (with Allen Ginsberg), The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Speculum Musicae, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Lydian String Quartet, Triple Helix, the Firebird Ensemble Tim Smith, Tim Berne, Rhonda Rider, Stephen Drury, Mia Chung, Judith Gordon, Mary Nessinger, and Boston Musica Viva.
He has received commissions from the Koussevitzky, Fromm, Barlow, and Naumburg Foundations, the Mary Flagler Carey Charitable Trust, Concert Artist’s Guild, The Argosy Foundation, three commissions from Chamber Music America and four Meet the Composer commissions. In 2007-8 he was composer-in-residence with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as part of the Meet the Composer Music Alive Residency program. He has also been the recipient of the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guggenheim fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Rome Prize.
His music has been recorded on Nonesuch, New World, Avant, Tzadik, and C.R.I., and is published exclusively by Carl Fischer. In May, 2008, a cd of his work, containing Lives of the Saints and At Suma Beach performed by Mary Nessinger and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose conductor, was released on BMOP Sound. In the Fall of 2004 he was Resident Composer at the American Academy in Rome. He was chairman of the composition department at the New England Conservatory, where he taught from 1992 to 2007. He currently lives in Chicago where, in September, 2007 he began an appointment as the Wyatt Chair in Music Composition at Northwestern University.