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George Lewis: Living With Creative Machines

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George Lewis is Edwin H. Case Professor of Music, Columbia University, USA.

  • Distinguished Lecture
When Apr 19, 2007
from 04:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Strathcona Music Building, 555 Sherbrooke St. West, room Tanna Schulich Hall
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The computer has become an irreversible part of cultural and social histories of the arts, in which improvisation has long served as a site for interdisciplinary exploration, exchanges of personal and cultural narratives, and the blurring of boundaries between art forms.  For George Lewis, living, working, and performing with creative machines of his own design is closely intertwined with the study of how improvisation produces knowledge and meaning.  As a kind of computer music-making embodying African-American aesthetics and musical practices, Lewis's work intersects with critical histories of new media, interactive music, and American experimentalism, as well as ethnographic and historical work on improvisation.  Part memoir, part history and criticism, this talk explores, among other topics,  Lewis's contention that notions about the nature and function of music inevitably become embedded in the structure of software-based music systems.

About George Lewis:
George Lewis, improvisor-trombonist, composer and computer/installation artist, studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey. The recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship in 2002, a Cal Arts/Alpert Award in the Arts in 1999, and numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lewis has explored electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, text-sound works, and notated forms. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis's work as composer, improvisor, performer and interpreter is documented on more than 120 recordings.  His oral history is archived in Yale University’s collection of “Major Figures in American Music,” and his published articles on music, experimental video, visual art, and cultural studies have appeared in numerous scholarly journals and edited volumes.  His forthcoming book, "Power Stronger Than Itself:  The AACM and American Experimental Music" will be published in October 2007 by the University of Chicago Press. Lewis is currently the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University.

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