NewMusicBox hosts a long interview with composer, improviser, and author George Lewis.
In the arts, you’ll come across a lot of multi-talented people, but not many who can boast the depth of accomplishment in as many areas as George E. Lewis. Since the beginning of his involvement with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) at the young age of 19, Lewis has engaged in a dizzying number of projects with an impressive array of collaborators. As an improvising trombonist, he has worked with not only AACM luminaries Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Roscoe Mitchell, to name just a few, but also with the likes of John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, and Miya Masaoka (who is also Lewis’s wife). And that’s only a very small sampling.
Starting in the late ’70s and continuing through the time he spent at IRCAM in Paris during the early ’80s, his interest in improvisation drew him (perhaps counterintuitively) to work with computers. Between 1985 and 1987, he worked on his software for Voyager, improvising software that reacts in real time to the input of another (human) player, and which has been featured on two of Lewis’s album releases. In the last few years, his palette has widened to use computers as something other than an independent factor in his composed works, which are increasingly fully notated for non-improvising performers.
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