• nienteForte is deep into its 2018/2019 season! Be sure to check out our events at nienteforte.com.


Mendel Lee is a composer, musician, and music and marching educator/arranger residing in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is currently the Assistant Director of Bands of Tulane University, the director of the Green Wave Brass Band, the founder and co-director of nienteForte Contemporary Music, and a composer and performer with Versipel New Music.

Mendel’s music has been commissioned by internationally renowned timpanist David Constantine of the President’s Own Marine Band, The Concert Singers (Los Angeles, LA), The Xavier University Symphonic Winds, Liminal Space (Houston, TX), the West Chester University Percussion Ensemble, the Portland Percussion Group, and the nienteForte Collective. Additionally, his works have been performed by Andy Kozar, the Greater Portland Flute Society, the San Francisco Festival of Contemporary Music, Future Music Oregon (Eugene, OR), Hundredth Monkey (Eugene, OR), and Versipel New Music (New Orleans, LA), amongst others.

As a performer, Mendel was the snare drummer for the “Shakespeare 400” Jazz Funeral Brass Band in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.  He has also performed as a pianist, percussionist, vocalist, and conductor for the Hundredth Monkey Ensemble, Versipel New Music, and the nienteForte collective, and he has also served as a guest performer/conductor for the West Chester University Percussion Ensemble, the Oregon Percussion Ensemble, Ensemble 504, and Ensemble Pamplemousse.

_MG_0556Mendel is an Innovative Percussion Educational Arist whose experience as a member of the West Chester University Marching Band and the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps and as an instructor with the Jersey Surf and the Glassmen has helped him build success as a creative designer and instructor for numerous high school and collegiate marching organizations nationwide. In his debut year as the creative designer for Hermiston High School’s Marching Band, his show earned them placement in finals for the first time in their program’s history. During his tenure with the Tulane University Marching Band, he helped coordinate performances and logistics for their participation in high-profile national events and television coverage including the 2009 New Orleans Saints Superbowl Victory Parade, the 2010 Krewe of NFL Kickoff Parade, the 2011 Wheel of Fortune College Week, the 2013 Fox and Friends Super Bowl Week broadcast, the 2013 Celebrity Beach Bowl Pregame Show, and the TUMB’s 2016 appearance in the second season of “NCIS: New Orleans”. He also coordinated the Green Wave Brass Band’s 2016 appearance in the second season of MTV’s “Brothers Green – Eats!” and their appearance as the opening act for the 2016 and 2018 New Kids On The Block Mardi Gras World block party.

Mendel has served as an adjudicator and clinician for the Worldstrides Heritage Performance Programs as a part of their festivals in New Orleans, LA, and Nashville, TN, as well as for the Louisiana Marching Band Circuit and the Louisiana-Mississippi Color Guard and Percussion Circuit. In his spare time (yes, he has spare time), he is an amateur poker player and a member of the Poker Player Alliance, cashing in 8th place in 2009 and 1st place in 2011 of the Pot Limit Omaha tournament of the Winter Bayou Poker Challenge held in Harrah’s New Orleans, and he is a self-proclaimed tabletop game nerd with a love for Fury of Dracula, Tzolk’in, and Terraforming Mars, amongst others.  He is also a registered minister of the Universal Life Church whose ability to foster a personable and memorable wedding experience has given him demand as a wedding officiant in Louisiana, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Timpani Forces is published and available for purchase at tapsace.


My completed creative projects. Program notes and/or media links contained within.

large ensemble

chamber (acoustic)

Moon of Eris (2013)

for unpitched percussion quartet

Remembrance (2001)

for alto voice, vibraphone, and piano

Shifts (1999)

for piano duet

Reflections (1998)

for flute and oboe


Minkowski Etudes (2018)

for C Trumpet and interactive electronics

Shifting Signals Zero (2012)

for solo clarinet, four computers, Google Hangouts, and digital media


Here Comes the TUMB (2015)

Tulane University Marching Band pre-game video

Polyomi (2015)

a flash puzzle game

Variations of Reich and Tetris (2012)

an animated short of First Person Tetris gameplay

Here Comes the TUMB (2010)

the original pre-game video for the Tulane University Marching Band

Chain Factor Chaos (2009)

an animated short based on gameplay of Chain Factor/drop7


As Composer/ Arranger

April 5, 2019: Minkowski Etudes performed by Andy Kozar for nienteForte Contemporary Music

As Performer

With Versipel New Music:

May 12, 2019: Percussionist in New Orleans, LA

As Organizer/Curator

March 27-28, 2019: nienteForte Concert #3 featuring The Rhythm Method

April 5, 2019: nienteForte Concert #4 featuring Andy Kozar

April 15-16, 2019: nienteForte Concert #5 featuring Promenade Sauvage


April 5, 2019: Minkowski Etudes performed by Andy Kozar for nienteForte Contemporary Music

current projects

  • In a Fast-Paced World for octophonic sound system and LEAP Motion controller (with solo digital audio variants)
  • Surrounded By Mirrors for clarinet, synthesizer, and Max

nienteForte is an contemporary music concert series founded in 2011 by Mendel Lee, co-directed by Mendel Lee and Max Dulaney.

In the first semester of my masters degree, I was in a graduate-level contemporary music class with about 30 graduate students. I remember the class vividly because aside from the small handful of composition majors, almost everyone - the teacher included - had a high disdain for contemporary music. Musical examples played would be laughed at. Twelve-tone analysis would be glossed over because "who cares about this noise?" John Cage's music was passed off as ravings of a lunatic.

The suppressive atmosphere of that class was heavy on my spirit. Becoming a composition major saved my undergraduate career, and I was excited about going to a graduate school program where I could share my newly discovered passion and enthusiasm for all music with my peers. Instead, my life path was brutally stomped on by my classmates with music educations degrees, some with masters degrees. I remember thinking to myself, "These are future high school and college teachers that will have a lasting impression on their students who could subsequently have lasting impressions on their students decades later."

It was one of the best classes I could have taken. Because I stopped being a mere contemporary music creator and supporter and I became a contemporary music advocate.

The seeds planted from that class is nienteForte's true origin story: a concert series based on my personal belief that contemporary music of all shapes and sizes has the the ability to resonate with a diverse populace and that the gap between contemporary art and its audience can be bridged with an open and inviting mindset on both sides. It is my sincere hope that by coming into these concerts as a disparate and diverse group of performers, composers, and listeners, we will all walk away at its conclusion as a more unified community that believes that contemporary music and art may have its work that we individually love or hate, but regardless it is something that belongs to all of us collectively and is therefore deserving of our acceptance, respect, and love.


I am always looking for opportunities to compose and/or arrange music for you!

I have a wealth of knowledge and over fifteen years of experience in the creation of music for musicians and ensembles as well as competitive marching band and drumline show arrangement. I pride myself in how my musical vision and innovations can inspire both performers and its audience, and how I am able to strike a proper balance between challenge and achievability for all levels of musicians and students from beginners to professionals.

Composition is a collaborative process between the composer and its performers. Through the entire creative process I will work with you to ensure that what we create together will result in a product that is right for you and for your ensemble. I want to create music that you love to perform.

Pricing for commissions are on a project by project basis. Particularly in the context of marching band or drumline arrangements, I want to be sure that I am compensated fairly for my work, but I am not interested in doing so at the expense of your school’s budget. As this is not currently my primary source of income, i am very willing to negotiate and be flexible about payment and am likely able to come to a mutual agreement with you.

Contact me if you are interested in having me write or arrange for you!


Solo (2018) – the non-spoiler review

My gut reaction immediately after the movie was that of annoyance above all else, but that was going into it…

How a single spacetime could still be preserved after the AoS season 5 finale

Spoiler warning for Agents Of SHIELD end of Season 5. One of the key narratives in AoS season 5's second…

Minkowski Etudes: The Aftermath

It was about one year ago when I made the decision to write Minkowski Etudes as a work for solo trumpet…

The eight-year reconnection – Chain Factor to Universal Paperclips

Back in 2009 I was fairly obsessed with Chain Factor - a game by Frank Lantz that would later become…

Thoughts about my Buffer Loop Patches

I've created a Buffer Recorder and Buffer Loop engine for Minkowski Etudes for Dylan and I've hit upon a small programming…

Brainstorming an arrowsmash/fighting game hybrid

Fighting games have evolved a great deal since I abandoned them in the decline of arcades (the last real fighting…

New sketchwork

There's two pieces of music that I have on the brain right now to complete by the beginning of 2018,…

Habits of Man – fifteen years later

Recently I pulled out my old solo digital audio work Habits of Man for a recital here on campus. It's the…

Mare Nostrum: Empires (2016)

On the one hand, the game is pretty fun to play because it's immersive and most of the game mechanics…

TUMB Banquet Awards Process

I thought it might be a good idea to document the process we use for the TUMB Banquet Awards in…



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