George Lewis will present his highly regarded chamber compositions in performances by David Shively, flutist Lindsey Goodman, violinist Dawn Posey, cellist Jonathan Golove, pianist Eric Moe, and conducted by Roger Zahab. This performance is part of a weeklong residency featuring George Lewis, the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, whose scholarly work centers on the implications of improvisation as a practice of social transformation.
Lewis's scholarly work centers on the implications of improvisation as a practice of social transformation. It proceeds from the understanding that many musical improvisers have represented their sounds and practices as addressing larger questions of identity and social organization, as well as creating politically inflected, critically imbued aesthetic spaces. Following a 1964 suggestion by sociologist Alfred Schutz that “a study of the social relationships connected with the musical process may lead to some insights valid for many other forms of social intercourse,” Lewis's internationally presented series of dialogues with philosopher Arnold I. Davidson on "Improvisation as a Way of Life" have been organized around the idea that the practice of improvisation is not at all limited to the artistic domain, but is a ubiquitous practice of everyday life, a primary method of exchange in any interaction.