George E. Lewis

Updated
30 Nov 2016

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George Lewis. Photo by Oskar Henn.

George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A 2002 MacArthur Fellow and a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis' compositions are documented on more than 140 recordings, and have been presented by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Talea Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Wet Ink, Ensemble Erik Satie, Eco Ensemble, and others, with commissions from American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Harvestworks, Ensemble Either/Or, Orkestra Futura, Turning Point Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, IRCAM, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and others. Most recently, Lewis has served as Ernest Bloch Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley; Paul Fromm Composer in Residence, American Academy in Rome; and Resident Scholar, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, University of Chicago. Lewis received the 2012 SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, and his widely acclaimed 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 first Music in American Culture Award. Lewis and Benjamin Piekut are co-editors of the forthcoming (2015) two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies.

Lewis served as a Center 2003 panelist in Pew Fellowships, and he participated in "Music and Identity: The Risks and Rewards of Boundary-Crossing," a 2010 Center symposium that explored the artistic journeys of musicians and composers whose work exemplifies the risks and the rewards of crossing stylistic, social, and cultural boundaries. In summer 2014, he wrote the keynote essay for the Center's Question of Practice series on co-authorship.