Prof. George Lewis (Case Professor of American Music) gave the President's Endowed Plenary Address at the 2015 meeting of the American Musicological Society (AMS) to a capacity crowd. The lecture, entitled “Putting Scholarship into (Art) Practice: Four Cases," was described in the AMS program as follows:
“This talk troubles the bright line separating creative work from academic research, through an examination of four cases from my own work as a composer and interactive artist. The works themselves are diverse in content and affect, and range from computer music performance and interactive installations to opera. Each of these works, however, was developed through a combination of ethnographic method, historical and archival work, analysis of musical practice, and critical examination. The results are serving in turn as the impetus for my musicological writing—on the works themselves, on histories of larger networks of musical practice that these works draw upon, and on still larger socio-technological networks and practices that all of us encounter every day. Thus, the talk affirms the fact that the world continues to draw critically important lessons from music—often cryptically, and despite an ongoing and deleterious trope that portrays music as peripheral to American intellectual life. In staunch opposition to this trope, musicologist Jann Pasler has proposed that ‘music can serve as a critical tool, activating and developing multiple layers of awareness... I invite the reader to listen for music’s resonance in the world and, through music, to help us imagine our future.’ My talk makes common cause with Professor Pasler’s view, echoing philosopher Pierre Hadot’s understanding that ‘in philosophy, we are not dealing with the mere creation of a work of art: the goal is rather to transform ourselves.’”
Congratulations to Prof. Lewis!