George E. Lewis

Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music
George E. Lewis
Chair of Composition Area
Office Address: 
615 Dodge
(212) 854-5837

George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A 2015 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Lewis has received a MacArthur Fellowship (2002), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), a United States Artists Walker Fellowship (2011), an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.  In 2015, Lewis received the degree of Doctor of Music (DMus, honoris causa) from the University of Edinburgh.

A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis's work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and improvisative forms is documented on more than 140 recordings. His work has been presented by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, 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. Lewis has served as Ernest Bloch Visiting Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley; Paul Fromm Composer in Residence, American Academy in Rome; Resident Scholar, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, University of Chicago; and CAC Fitt Artist In Residence, Brown University.

Lewis received the 2012 SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, and 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. Lewis is the co-editor of the forthcoming two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies, and his opera Afterword, commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in October 2015.

Professor Lewis came to Columbia in 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 studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey.

University Lecture with Professor George E. Lewis

George Lewis and Vijay Iyer in Concert

At the AAR, Arnold Davidson and George Lewis on "improvisation as a way of life"

George Lewis and Marina Rosenfeld Sour Mash

Either/Or: George E. Lewis - Thistledown (world premiere)

George Lewis: Ikons (2011)

Degrees from Other Institutions: 
BA
Philosophy
Yale University
1974