Listen: Psalm 111

An archival recording of the world premiere, performed by the Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra of Second Presbyterian Church, with the Beecher Singers, under the direction of Michelle L. Louer. Used by permission.

For information on performing this work or obtaining a perusal score, please contact SDG.



Sunday October 20, 2014,  performance of Psalm 111 at Second Presbyterian Church worship service



Dr. James Lee, III, has been hailed as a “composer with a bright future” (Detroit Free Press). His works have been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chorus, and the Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Detroit Orchestras, among other ensembles. Reviewers have described his compositions as “bright, pure music” (Washington Post), “vibrant [and] richly layered” (Baltimore Sun).

Dr. Lee has degrees in piano and composition from the University of Michigan and is an associate professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

For a complete biography, visit Dr. Lee's website.


Psalm 111

James Lee, III

James Lee, III
Psalm 111

Mixed chorus (SATB) and chamber orchestra  
(Alternate version for SATB and piano available)
DURATION: 10 minutes
TEXT: Psalm 111
An exuberant choral admiration of the works of creation, incorporating the Hebrew phrase Halelu Ya (“Praise Yahweh”).


World Premiere
October 19, 2013
Second Presbyterian Sanctuary Choir & Festival Orchestra
Beecher Singers
Michelle L. Louer, conductor
Second Presbyterian Church
Indianapolis, Indiana










Dr. James Lee, III, Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, has been described as a “gifted young composer” (Cincinnati Enquirer). His choral composition Psalm 111 was commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria as part of SDG’s Psalms Project, a collection of fifteen contemporary musical works in the Western art-music tradition.


Program cover for Lee Psalm premiere
 Program from world premiere

The world premiere of Psalm 111 was featured on “A Festival of Psalms” program celebrating the 175th anniversary of Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. The work was also presented at the 9:30 and 11:00 worship services on the following Sunday, October 20, 2013.

The piece opens with the choir singing “Praise Ye the Lord” four times, to suggest the four regions of the earth (north, south, east, west). The orchestra serves both exclamatory and collaborative roles, as the music continues to express individual and collective admiration of creation. Toward the end, the music becomes more peaceful with a musical word painting of the phrase, “His praise endureth forever.”

One of the goals of SDG’s Psalms Project, made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., is to encourage exploration of the contemporary relevance of the Psalms. To that end, some of the Psalms Project composers are visiting the participating institutions to dialogue with pastoral leaders, members of the congregation, and choir. Dr. Lee worked on site with the choir in preliminary rehearsals and was in residence for the premiere.


Second Presbyterian Church Choir and Orchestra
Second Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra

Dr. Michelle L. Louer, Director of Music and Fine Arts at Second Presbyterian Church, is director of the Sanctuary Choir, which is comprised of over 90 volunteer members, supported by professional singers. The choir has earned a reputation Midwest as one of the Midwest’s foremost choral ensembles and has also presented concerts at such venues as St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, and St. Martin’s in the Fields, London.