The renowned composer, musician, educator, and author George Lewis will take part in a “virtual residency” for the Mizzou New Music Initiative next month.
Lewis (pictured) will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in preparation for their performance of his composition “Les exercises spirituels” in an online concert at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 14. The performance will be available to view on the University of Missouri School of Music’s YouTube channel and on the Mizzou New Music Facebook page.
Then on Thursday, April 15, Lewis will be one of the panelists for a School of Music convocation to discuss “Decolonizing Contemporary Music.” The presentation, which will be open to the public for online viewing via Zoom, also will feature Mizzou faculty members including Stefan Freund, Yoshiaki Onishi, Sam Griffith, and Stephanie Shonekan.
Lewis’ residency will conclude on Friday, April 16 with a presentation to the School of Music’s composition seminar.
Currently the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University in New York City, Lewis has been a distinctive and prominent figure in American music for the past half-century. He has been a member of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, and holds doctoral degrees from the University of Edinburgh, New College of Florida, and Harvard University.
Lewis’ work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and improvisational forms has been documented on more than 150 recordings, and his music has been presented by ensembles around the world, including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, London Sinfonietta, Spektral Quartet, and many others.
His book “A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music” (University of Chicago Press, 2008) received the American Book Award and the American Musicological Society’s Music in American Culture Award. He also is the co-editor of the two-volume “Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies” (2016), and his opera “Afterword” (2015), commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, has been performed in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic.
Lewis also has received numerous other commissions from ensembles such as the American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Harvestworks, Ensemble Either/Or, Orkestra Futura, Turning Point Ensemble, IRCAM, and more.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. His other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship (2002) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015); a Doris Duke Artist Award (2019); a United States Artists Walker Fellowship (2011); an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999); and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
He has been on the faculty of Columbia University since 2004, having previously taught at the University of California, San Diego; Mills College; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Koninklijke Conservatorium Den Haag; and Simon Fraser University’s Contemporary Arts Summer Institute.
Lewis also has served as visiting professor at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley; as composer in residence for the American Academy in Rome; as resident scholar for the University of Chicago’s Center for Disciplinary Innovation; and as artist in residence at Brown University.