Lewis, George E.
George Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002, an Alpert Award in the Arts in 1999, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis's work as composer, improvisor, performer and interpreter explores electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, text-sound works, and notated and improvisative forms, and is documented on more than 140 recordings.
His oral history is archived in Yale University’s collection of “Major Figures in American Music,” and his compositions and installations have been presented by the American Composers Orchestra, Dinosaur Annex, Wet Ink, the Turning Point Ensemble, Ensemble Erik Satie, Works and Process, the S.E.M. Ensemble, the NOW Orchestra, Deutschlandradio Kultur Berlin, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and others, with commissions from the 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, OPUS (Paris), IRCAM, Musee des Sciences et des Industries La Villette, Harvestworks, Studio Museum in Harlem, the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and others. His widely acclaimed book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008) is a recipient of the 2009 American Book Award. Most recently, Lewis was selected by United States Artists as a 2011 USA Walker Fellow.
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, and Simon Fraser University's Contemporary Arts Summer Institute. He has served as music curator for the Kitchen in New York, and has collaborated in the "Interarts Inquiry" and "Integrative Studies Roundtable" at the Center for Black Music Research (Chicago).
Lewis has worked closely with film/video artists Stan Douglas and Don Ritter, as well as with contemporary musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Anthony Davis, Bertram Turetzky, Count Basie, David Behrman, David Murray, Derek Bailey, Douglas Ewart, Evan Parker, Fred Anderson, Frederic Rzewski, Gil Evans, Han Bennink, Irene Schweizer, J.D. Parran, James Newton, Joel Ryan, Joelle Leandre, John Zorn, Leroy Jenkins, Michel Portal, Misha Mengelberg, Miya Masaoka, Muhal Richard Abrams, Richard Teitelbaum, Roscoe Mitchell, Sam Rivers, Steve Lacy and Wadada Leo Smith. His oral history is archived in Yale University’s collection of “Major Figures in American Music."
Lewis, George E., ed. Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies, Vols. 1&2. Under contract for two volumes, Oxford University Press. Volume one due in 2012.
Lewis, George E. A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Lewis, George E. Review of Robert R. Faulkner and Howard Becker, ’Do You Know...?’: The Jazz Repertoire in Action. Cultural Sociology, Vol. 5, No. 4 (December 2011), 559-61.
Lewis, George E. “Americanist Musicology and Nomadic Noise.” Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Fall 2011), pp. 691-695.
Lewis, George E. When Improvisers Speak, Where Do Their Words Go?In Da Rin, Renate, ed. Silent Solos: Improvisers Speak. Cologne: Buddy’s Knife, 2010, 11-13.
Lewis, George E. Review of Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call Out to Jazz and Africa, by Ingrid Monson (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Journal of the Society for American Music, Vol. 3, No. 3 (2009), pp. 365–369.
Lewis, George E. Interactivity and Improvisation. In Dean, Roger T., ed. The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press (2009), 457-466.
Lewis, George E. “Benjamin Patterson: Paper Piece.” Chamber Music, September-October 2009, 107.
Lewis, George E. "The Virtual Discourses of Pamela Z." In Hassan, Salah M., and Cheryl Finley, eds. Diaspora, Memory, Place: David Hammons, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Pamela Z. Munich: Prestel (2008), 266-281.
Lewis, George E., "Foreword: After Afrofuturism.” Journal of the Society for American Music, Volume 2, Number 2, pp. 139–153 (2008).
Lewis, George E., "Improvisation and Pedagogy: Background and Focus of Inquiry.” Critical Studies in Improvisation, Vol. 3, No. 2 (2008), 1-5
Lewis, George E., "Stan Douglas's Suspiria: Genealogies of Recombinant Narrativity." In Stan Douglas--Past Imperfect: Works 1986-2007. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 42-53 (2008).
Lewis, George E., "Improvising Tomorrow's Bodies: The Politics of Transduction." E-misférica, Vol. 4.2, November 2007. Available at http://www.hemi.nyu.edu/journal/4.2/eng/en42_pg_lewis.html
Lewis, George E., "Mobilitas Animi: Improvising Technologies, Intending Chance." Parallax, Vol. 13, No. 4, (2007), 108–122.
Lewis, George E., "Living with Creative Machines: An Improvisor Reflects." In Anna Everett and Amber J. Wallace, eds. AfroGEEKS: Beyond the Digital Divide. Santa Barbara: Center for Black Studies Research, 2007, 83-99.
Lewis, George E. "Live Algorithms and the Future of Music." CT Watch Quarterly, May 2007. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/
Lewis, George E. "Leroy Jenkins." Chamber Music America, Vol. 24, No. 3, June 2007, 32-34.
Lewis, George E. The Virtual Discourses of Pamela Z. Journal of the Society for American Music, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2007), 57-77.
Lewis, George E. Improvisation and the Orchestra: A Composer Reflects. Contemporary Music Review, Vol. 25, Nos. 5/6, October/December 2006, pp. 429-434.
Lewis, George E. Interview with Amina Claudine Myers. BOMB, No. 97, Fall 2006, 54-59.
Lewis, George E.. The Secret Love between Interactivity and Improvisation, or Missing in Interaction: A Prehistory of Computer Interactivity. In Fähndrich, Walter, ed. Improvisation V: 14 Beiträge. Winterthur: Amadeus (2005).
Lewis, George E. Book review, Northern Sun, Southern Moon: Europe’s Reinvention of Jazz (Mike Heffley, Yale University Press 2005). Current Musicology, No. 78 (Fall 2004), 7-21.
Lewis, George E. 2004. The AACM In Paris. Black Renaissance Noire, Vol. 5, No. 3, Spring/Summer 2004, 105-121.
Lewis, George E. 2004. Gittin' to Know Y'all: Improvised Music, Interculturalism and the Racial Imagination. Critical Studies in Improvisation (peer-reviewed online journal), Vol. 1, No. 1, ISSN 1712-0624, www.criticalimprov.com.
Lewis, George E. 2004. Leben mit kreativen Maschinen: Reflexionen eines improvisierenden Musikers. In Knauer, Wolfram, ed. Improvisieren: Darmstädter Beiträge zur Jazzforschung, Band 8. Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 123-144.
Lewis, George E. ( 2004). Improvised Music After 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives. In Fischlin, Daniel, and Ajay Heble, eds. The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 131-162.
Lewis, George. 2004. Afterword to "Improvised Music After 1950": The Changing Same. In Fischlin, Daniel, and Ajay Heble, eds. The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 163-172.
Lewis, George, “Gittin’ to know y’all: Von improvisierter Musik, vom Treffen der Kulturen und von der ‘racial imagination.’” In Knauer. Wolfram, ed. Jazz und Gesellschaft: Sozialgeschichtliche Aspekte des Jazz. Hofheim: Wolke-Verlag (2002), 213-247.
Lewis, George, "Experimental Music in Black and White: The AACM in New York, 1970-1985.” Current Musicology, Nos. 71-73, Spring 2001-Spring 2002, 100-157. Reprinted in O'Meally, Robert G., Brent Hayes Edwards, and Farah Jasmine Griffin, eds. 2004. Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies. New York: Columbia University Press, 50-101.
Lewis, George, “Discours virtuel” (in French). Champs Culturel 11, June 2000.
Lewis, George E., “Too Many Notes: Computers, complexity and culture in Voyager.” Leonardo Music Journal 10, 2000, 33-39. Reprinted in Everett, Anna, and John T. Caldwell, eds. 2003. New Media: Theories and Practices of Intertextuality. New York and London: Routledge, 93-106
Lewis, George, “Stan Douglas: Hors-champs, toujours et pour toujours.” In Jenny Lion, ed. 2000. Magnetic North: Canadian Experimental Video. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Lewis, George, "Purposive Patterning: Jeff Donaldson, Muhal Richard Abrams and the Multidominance of Consciousness." Lenox Avenue, vol. 5, 1999, 63-69.
Lewis, George, “Interacting with latter-day musical automata.” Contemporary Music Review, Volume 18, Part 3, 1999, pp.99-112.
Lewis, George, ”Teaching Improvised Music: An Ethnographic Memoir.” In Zorn, John, ed. Arcana: Musicians on music. New York: Granary Books (2000), 78-109.
Lewis, George, ”The old people speak of sound: Personality, empathy, community.” In INSITE 97: Private time in public spaces. Sally Yard, ed. 1998. San Diego: Installation Gallery.
Lewis, George, "Singing Omar’s Song: A (re)construction of Great Black Music." Lenox Avenue, vol. 4, 1998, 69-92
Lewis, George, "Improvised Music After 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives." Black Music Research Journal, vol. 16, No.1, Spring 1996, 91-122. Reprinted in Vol. 22, Supplement (2002) for the journal's 20th Anniversary, as one of the twenty-one most cited articles published in the journal. Excerpted in Cox, Christoph, and Daniel Warner. 2004. Audio Culture: Readings In Modern Music. New York: Contiuum, 272-286.
Lewis, George, "Singing the alternative interactivity blues." Front, Vol. 7, No. 2, November/December 1995, pp. 18-22. Reprinted in Grantmakers in the Arts, Vol. 8, No, 1, Spring 1997.
Lewis, George. Les Exercices Spirituels, Tzadik, 2011.
Lewis, George, and Marina Rosenfeld, Sour Mash, Innova Recordings, 2009.
Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and George Lewis: Metamorphic Rock (Iorram, 2009)
Lewis, George, and Joelle Leandre, Transatlantic Visions, Rogue Art, 2009.
Lewis, George, Roscoe Mitchell, and Muhal Richard Abrams. Streaming. PI Recordings, 2006.
Lev Manovich and Andreas Kratky, Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database. DVD-video with 40 page color booklet, with “invited contributions from leaders in other cultural fields: DJ Spooky, Scanner, George Lewis and Jóhann Jóhannsson (music), servo and Andreas Angelidakis (architecture), Schoenerwissen/Office for Computational Design (data visualization), and Ross Cooper Studios (media design).” Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005
Various Artists: From the Kitchen Archives: New Music New York 1979. Orange Mountain Music OMM 0015, 2004
Lewis, George, et al. Audiology: Live In Berlin, Total Music Meeting 2001, ALL 002, 2002
Lewis, George. The Shadowgraph Series: Compositions for Creative Orchestra (with the NOW Orchestra). Spool, 2001
Lewis, George. Endless Shout. Tzadik, 2000.
Lewis, George and Bertram Turetzky. Conversations. Incus, 1999.
Lewis, George, and Miya Masaoka. The Usual Turmoil. Music and Arts, 1998.
Lewis, George, Vinny Golia, and Bertram Turetzky, Triangulations, Nine Winds, 1997.
Iyer, Vijay: Memorophilia. Asian Improv Records, 1995.
Slideride (Ray Anderson, Craig Harris, G. Lewis, Gary Valente) Hat Hut, 1995
Braxton, Anthony: Concert In Dortmund. hat Art, 1994
Lewis, George, and Anthony Braxton. Donaueschingen (Duo) Hat Hut, 1994.
Lewis, George. Voyager, Disk Union, Tokyo, 1993
Lewis, George. Changing With The Times, New World, New York, 1992
Teitelbaum, Richard: Cyberband. Moers Music 03000 CD, 1993
Globe Unity Orchestra: 20th Anniversary. FMP, 1993.
Humanities W1123, Masterpieces of Western Music
Music V2015, Music In The United States
Music V3248, Interactive Music Composition
Music V3158, Music, Race, and Nation
Music V3163, Sonic Texts of the Black Atlantic
Music V3165, Jazz and Improvised Music After 1950
Music V3172, 20th Century Music
Music W4540, Histories of Jazz After 1960
Music G4601, Musical Interactivity
Music G6105, Proseminar in Historical Musicology
Music G6379, Music Since 1900
Music G8112, Seminar in Historical Musicology: Discourses of Experimentalism
Music G8231, Seminar in Music Composition
Music G8142, Seminar in Historical Musicology: Theorizing Improvisation
Music G8160, Sound Art and New Media
The Will To Adorn (2011), composition for large chamber ensemble. Written for the International Contemporary Ensemble; premiered November 12, 2011, Miller Theatre, New York City.
Anthem (2011), composition for chamber ensemble with electronics. Written for the Wet Ink Band.
Les Exercices Spirituels for eight instruments and computer sound processing. Forum de Blanc-Mesnil, Paris region. Commissioned by Banlieues Bleues Festival, Arnaud Petit (conductor).
Ikons, sculptural-sonic installation by Eric Metcalfe and George Lewis, with associated composition for eight instruments by George Lewis. Premiere: January 27, 2010, Vancouver, BC Canada. Commissioned by the 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad.
Sour Mash, composition for vinyl turntablists by George Lewis and Marina Rosenfeld. Premiered at New York Electronic Art Festival, Frederick Loewe Theatre, New York University, October 26, 2009.
Something Like Fred, composition for creative orchestra. Commissioned and presented by Millennium Park, City of Chicago. Premiered August 2, 2009, AACM Great Black Music Ensemble.
The Painted Bed, composition for tenor voice and viola, with text by Donald Hall. Commissioned and presented by Works and Process, Guggenheim Museum, New York City, May 10-11, 2009.
Travelogue, sound installation. Shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem, November 2008-March 2009.
Artificial Life 2007, composition for improvisors with open instrumentation. Commission, Scottish Arts Council, for the Glasgow Improvisors' Orchestra. Premiered December 2007, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, Scotland.
Exhibition, Rio Negro II, robotic-acoustic sound installation, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, May 2007
Commission, Harvestworks, new work for robotic sound sculptures. Premiere, 3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center, New York City, May 2007
Hello Mary Lou (2007) for chamber ensemble and live electronics. World premiere, Vancouver, BC, January 2007.
Virtual Concerto (2004), for improvising computer piano soloist and orchestra. World premiere, Carnegie Hall, April 2004, American Composers Orchestra.
Crazy Quilt (2002), composition for infrared-controlled "virtual percussion" and four European-classically-trained percussionists.
Information Station No. 1 (2000, updated 2009), multi-screen videosonic interactive installation for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, San Diego, Calif. Commissioned by the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ring Shout Ramble (1998), for saxophone quartet, commissioned by the Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Commissioning program, and premiered in October 1998 by the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Spruce Street Forum, San Diego, CA. Performances scheduled across the USA and Europe.
Signifying Riffs (1998), for string quartet and percussion. New York premiere, November 2000, Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians Concert Series.
North Star Boogaloo (1996), for percussionist and computer. Premiered February 1996, Mandeville Auditorium, UCSD. Steven Schick, percussion. Numerous performances internationally.
Collage (1995), for poet and chamber orchestra. Premiered November 1995, Society for Ethical Culture, New York City. Quincy Troupe, poet.
Endless Shout (1994), composition for piano, Premiered March 1994, De Ijsbreker, Amsterdam, Frederic Rzewski, pianist.
Virtual Discourse (1993), composition for infrared-controlled "virtual percussion" and four European-classically-trained percussionists. Premiered October 1993, Museum of Fine Arts, Bordeaux, France.