George Lewis

portrait of George Lewis

George Lewis is an American composer, musicologist, and trombonist. He is Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music and Area Chair in Composition at Columbia University. In 2020 – 21 he was a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and he currently serves as Artistic Director of the International Contemporary Ensemble. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin. Lewis’s other honors include the Doris Duke Artist Award (2019), a MacArthur Fellowship (2002), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015). Lewis is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971. His work is presented by ensembles worldwide and published by Edition Peters. A Yamaha Artist, Lewis is widely regarded as a pioneer in the creation of computer programs that improvise in concert with human musicians.

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 Music in American Culture Award. Lewis is the co-editor (with Harald Kisiedu) of the bilingual edited volume »Composing While Black: Afrodiasporic New Music Today/Afrodiasporische Neue Musik Heute« (2023), as well as (with Benjamin Piekut) the two-volume »Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies« (2016). Lewis holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, New England Conservatory, New College of Florida, Birmingham City University, among others.