Lab alumnus named to prestigious music role


Midway Staff

Lab alumnus George E. Lewis, Class of 1969, will be the first Black leader of the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Clare McRoberts, Reporter

A U-High alumnus has been named to lead a prestigious music ensemble in New York.

George E. Lewis, a composer and trombonist who graduated from U-High in 1969, will be the first Black leader of the International Contemporary Ensemble, a prestigious group that is considered an important outlet for modern musical composers.

Mr. Lewis first learned how to play the trombone as a student at Lab. Mr. Lewis, now a member of the faculty at Columbia University, was honored as a distinguished alumnus at Lab in 2020, according to Brad Brickner, a U-High music teacher. Mr. Lewis has received other honors throughout his career, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002.

The New York Times described the International Contemporary Ensemble as an important outlet for modern composers. 

 Over the years, Mr. Lewis has spoken about the importance of including more composers of color in music schools and other areas of the music industry. 

“How can we counter the impoverishment and devolution of the field that has resulted from the consistent absences of the same ethnic, racial, and gendered voices from stages, media, music histories, and professional networks?” Mr. Lewis wrote in an essay. He added, “What would a decolonized curatorial regime sound like?”