> contact us > mailing list
> employment > our history
> privacy policy > returns policy
Home > Composers > Composer Gallery > Composer Information
site search
PETER SCOTT LEWIS

PETER SCOTT LEWIS

Works

Recordings

Reviews


Peter Lewis is a San Francisco-based, yet internationally active, composer of modern classical music. His music has been commissioned and/or performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Conspirare; the Orion, Alexander, and Ciompi String Quartets; the Raphael, Robert Schumann, and Bakken Trios; the Dorian Wind Quintet, City Winds, members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Chamber Symphony of Princeton, Seattle's Intiman Theater, and many distinguished soloists and conductors including Kent Nagano, Alan Gilbert, Kees Hülsmann, Robert Hughes, Laurent Pillot, Stephanie Friedman, William Winant, and David Tanenbaum. His music has been performed throughout North America, Europe, and Japan, and has been broadcasted over National Public Radio in the United States, the BBC in England, World Broadcasts, and various other stations and programs throughout the world.

His major compositions include Pacific Triptych (for orchestra), two violin concertos, two cello concertos, Guitar Concerto, Where The Heart Is Pure (for mezzo soprano and chamber orchestra), two string quartets (Night Lights and River Shining Through), Beaming Contrasts (for guitar and string quartet), Rhapsodic Images (piano trio), Serenade for Winds (woodwind quintet), Through The Mountain (cello and piano), A Whistler’s Dream (flute and piano), as well as other compositions for orchestra, various chamber ensembles, and solo instruments.

New Albion and Lapis Island Records have produced five CDs devoted to his music. They are Beaming Contrasts (1993), Where the Heart Is Pure (1996), Three Suites for Guitar (2003), Atlantic Crossing/Rhapsodic Images (2004), and Riving Shining Through (2007).

Future premieres, ongoing commissions, and upcoming performances of existing compositions are listed on the Works page of his website, when known.

Peter Scott Lewis was born on August 31, 1953, in San Rafael, California, and grew up in both the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington State. A graduate of Yale University: School of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he studied composition with Andrew Imbrie, Jacob Druckman , Nicholas Maw, and Morton Subotnick; studied guitar with Alirio Diaz and Carlos Barbosa-Lima; and conducting with Arthur Weisberg. He has taught at the University of Washington and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, even though he currently does not hold a teaching position. In addition, he has completed composer residencies at Yaddo Corporation, the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Foundation, and has been composer-in-residence at Seattle’s Intiman Theater, Festival for New American Music, SFMOMA, among others. He has also performed as a classical and jazz guitarist, clarinetist, and conductor. His music is published by Theodore Presser.

More information can be found on the following web sites: www.lapisisland.com and newalbion.com

View scores here (roll over to view score title):



Works

Chamber Ensemble | Instrumental Solo | Orchestra | Theater | Vocal




Chamber Ensemble


Atlantic Crossing for Violin and Piano
Published: #114-41265
Reviews


Beaming Contrasts for Guitar and String Quartet (1989-90) -- 16'
Published: #114-40743
Premiere Information: Newman/Oltman Guitar Duo; January 5, 1990, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Additional Information: Originally written for 2 guitars and string quartet.
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#114-40743P)
Full Score - Large (#114-40743S)


Delicate Sky for Violin, Percussion, and Piano (1993) -- 17'
Published: #114-40820
Recordings

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#114-40820S)


Journey to Still Water Pond for Vibraphone, Marimba, and String Quartet (1983) -- 6'
Published: #114-40783
Premiere Information: Yale Ensemble; December 12, 1983, Sprague Hall, New Haven, CT
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#114-40783P)
Full Score - Large (#114-40783S)


Little Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano
Available From Composer


Night Lights for String Quartet (1983) -- 10'
Published: #114-40782
Premiere Information: Alexander String Quartet; November 8, 1988, Green Room, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#114-40782P)
Full Score - Large (#114-40782S)


Rhapsodic Images for Violin, Cello and Piano (1998) -- 22'
Published: #114-41127
Commission Information: Raphael and Bakken Trios and the Hulsmann/Van Staalen/Beenhouwer Trio (Holland)
Premiere Information: May 10, 1998, Minneapolis (partial performance)
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#114-41127P)
Full Score - Large (#114-41127S)


Serenade for Winds for Woodwind Quintet
Published: #114-41266
Recordings


Through the Mountain for Cello and Piano (1988-91) -- 21'
Published: #114-40821
Premiere Information: San Francisco Symphony members; April 15, 1990, Julia Morgan Center, Berkeley, CA
Additional Information: Also available for Cello and Orchestra.
Recordings



Instrumental Solo


First Guitar Suite (1977) -- 14'
Published: #114-40780
Premiere Information: Peter Lewis, guitar; November 12, 1977, Garden Club, La Conner, WA
Recordings
Reviews


Second Guitar Suite (1979) -- 13'
Published: #114-40852
Premiere Information: Peter Lewis, guitar; May, 1980, San Francisco, CA
Recordings
Reviews


Sun Music for Piano (1987) -- 6'
Published: #110-40716
Premiere Information: Miles Graber, piano; May 18, 1987, Hatley Martin Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Recordings


Third Guitar Suite (2000)
Available From Composer



Orchestra


First Violin Concerto (1986) -- 20'
Solo Vln.; 2 2(E.H.) 2 2 - 2 0 0 0; Perc., Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Robert Hughes, conductor; Mayumi Ohira, violin; April 25, 1987, Berkeley, CA
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#416-41144)


Guitar Concerto (1983)
Available From ComposerReviews


Second Violin Concerto (1996) -- 35'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Rotterdam Philharmonia Orchestra
Premiere Information: Alan Gilbert, conductor; Kees Hulsmann Concertmaster and Soloist, Rotterdam Philharmonia Orchestra, January 22, 1999.


Through the Mountain (Cello Concerto) for Solo Cello, Strings and Percussion (1991)
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Additional Information: Also available for Cello and Piano.



Theater


The Northwest Show
Available From Composer



Vocal


Three Songs from Ish River for Mezzo-soprano and Guitar (1976-78)
Published: #111-40181
Premiere Information: Cyndia Sydentop, soprano, Peter Scott Lewis, guitar; Seattle, WA; May 1978


Where the Heart is Pure for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Orchestra (1993) -- 16'
Mezzo-sop.; 1-1(E.H.)-1(B.Cl.)-0; Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Laurent Pillot, conductor; Stephanie Friedman, Mezzo-soprano; June 25, 1995
Additional Information: Based on three poems of Robert Sund. Version for Mezzo-Soprano and Chamber Ensemble also available.
Recordings
Reviews


Recordings


Sun Music for Piano


New Albion Records NA 079: Where the Heart is Pure
Robin Sutherland, piano



Beaming Contrasts for Guitar and String Quartet


New Albion Records NA 060: Beaming Contrasts
David Tanenbaum, guitar; Alexander String Quartet



First Guitar Suite


Lapis Island Records LIR001: Peter Lewis: Three Suites for Guitar
Peter Scott Lewis, guitar



Night Lights for String Quartet


New Albion Records NA 060: Beaming Contrasts
Alexander String Quartet



Journey to Still Water Pond for Vibraphone, Marimba, and String Quartet


New Albion Records NA 060: Beaming Contrasts
William Winant, percussion; Alexander String Quartet



Delicate Sky for Violin, Percussion, and Piano


New Albion Records NA 079: Where the Heart is Pure
Nadya Tichman, Violin; Jack Van Geem, Percussion; Robin Sutherland, Piano



Through the Mountain for Cello and Piano


New Albion Records NA 060: Beaming Contrasts
Lawrence Granger, cello; Marc Shapiro, piano



Second Guitar Suite


Lapis Island Records LIR001: Peter Lewis: Three Suites for Guitar
Peter Scott Lewis, guitar



Serenade for Winds for Woodwind Quintet


Lapis Island Records LIR003: "River Shining Through"
Dorian Wind Quintet



First Violin Concerto


New Albion Records NA 079: Where the Heart is Pure
Kees Hulsmann, soloist/conductor; Berkeley Symphony Orchestra



Where the Heart is Pure for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Orchestra


New Albion Records NA 079: Where the Heart is Pure
Stephanie Friedman, mezzo-soprano; Laurent Pillot, conductor; Berkeley Symphony Orchestra



Reviews

"San Francisco composer Peter Scott Lewis writes in an attractive tonal idiom that appeals to both the heart and mind. The music is euphonious and often disarmingly pretty, but with a core of strength that shows itself in surprising harmonic choices and vigorous instrumental textures."

-Datebook: San Francisco Sunday Chronicle


Beaming Contrasts for Guitar and String Quartet

"This CD is a real find. It is a great recording of what might best be described as post-modern chamber music by the California composer Peter Scott Lewis. Beaming Contrasts and Through the Mountain are both substantial new works that deserve to become staples of the contemporary chamber music repertoire."

-Arnold van der Valk, Classical Express

"Passionate, yet lyrical. This is music making by a virtuoso composer."

-Esquire (Tokyo)

"Beaming Contrasts is driving, full of jagged, jazz-like rhythm; an earnest piece, tightly constructed, and telling in its use of dissonance."

-Guitar Review (NY)

"It is obvious that the composer (having written a guitar concerto) knows the instrument well and exploits his aural resource with a fine ear."

-Strad Magazine

"A dialectic of steel and catgut exploring both differences and similarities between string and guitar textures. The amplified guitar’s strident, biting nature seemed to slice air when the duo played in jazzy syncopation with the quartet."

-Marion Jacobson, The Washington Post

"A finely crafted composition."

-The New York Times

"Peter Scott Lewis' new CD on New Albion is something completely different. The piece that has held my attention (and garnered plenty of response from WPKN listeners) is Journey To Still Water Pond . Lewis develops a beautiful tension between strings and percussion that grips you tightly. Another exciting piece isLittle Trio a mix of aggressive exchanges and romantic phrases."

-CMJ, Bridgeport, CT


First Guitar Suite

"Vivid, entrancing, and remarkable…impressionistic harmonies, recitative-like phrases and borrowings from Northwest Indians… Lewis' music exudes songfulness…""

-Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone Magazine

"Tuneful and highly rhythmic, the suites (especially the last one) have an improvisational feel, with repeated passages that alter slightly and gradually metamorphose into completely different material. The writing exploits the guitar's resources very stylishly."

-Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

"A wonderful CD. Exquisite!"

-J.L. Bueno, La Otra Musica, FM80, Cadiz, Spain

"The guitar suites are wonderfully haunting. I remember what Stravinsky said about the guitar: not small but as from far away. The music brings those distances home. I¹ve listened to it over and over. Bravo!"

-J.D. McClatchy, Editor, The Yale Review

"These three guitar suites present a convincing fusion of many styles and attitudes—blues-inflected harmonies sit comfortably alongside diatonically oriented flamenco figurations; minimalism with the Classical languages of Sor and Carulli. There are also spiritually borrowed moments from such Latin American composers as Agustin Barrios-Mangoré and Carlos Guastavino, often leavened with quite natural jazz syncopations. That last element, however, is subsumed into contexts that bring Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin and solo cello to mind—works that were, in their time, inspired by the age-old impulses to sing and to dance."

-William Zagorski, Fanfare


Night Lights for String Quartet

"A short, two-movement piece (played as one,) Night Lights derives its musical from, of all things, melodies-lyrical melodies with strong, clear profiles. That, along with the committed, no-hold-barred performance by the Alexander, made the work absorbable on a first hearing without sounding facile or glib."

-Timothy Pfaff, The San Francisco Examiner


Journey to Still Water Pond for Vibraphone, Marimba, and String Quartet

"Lewis develops a beautiful tension between strings and percussion that grips you tightly."

-CMJ, Bridgeport, CT, WPKN FM Radio

"Delightful… Shimmering… Skillfull. Unmistakably the work of an alert young American. Recommended."

-Scott Wheeler, Fanfare

"San Francisco composer Peter Scott Lewis writes music marked by an appealing combination of intricacy and rhetorical straightforwardness… The most immediately accessible work is the opening Journey to Still Water Pond, a quietly colorful nature portrait for vibraphone, marimba, and string quartet."

-Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle


Second Guitar Suite

"Tuneful and highly rhythmic, the suites (especially the last one) have an improvisational feel, with repeated passages that alter slightly and gradually metamorphose into completely different material. The writing exploits the guitar's resources very stylishly."

-Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

"Vivid, entrancing, and remarkable…impressionistic harmonies, recitative-like phrases and borrowings from Northwest Indians… Lewis' music exudes songfulness…""

-Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone Magazine


Rhapsodic Images for Violin, Cello and Piano

"...it is cast in two movements, the first of which is an extended (18-minute) rhapsody which fluctuates hauntingly between soaring lyricism and rhythmic potency. The four-and-a-half minute Epilogue which rounds out the piece is a separate coda that reflects upon the music heard in the previous movement with heart-warming affection."

-Julian Haylock, The Strad

"Rhapsodic Images, is an immediately winning work for the conventional complement of a piano trio (piano, violin, and cello). There are moments aplenty of genuine melodic and rhythmic interest that held my attention throughout."

-Jerry Dubins, Fanfare


Atlantic Crossing for Violin and Piano

"…it’s a work who myriad stylistic points of reference are negotiated here with chameleon-like ease. Late Delian chromaticism colours the more reflective passages of the first movement (An Awakening/Bright Morning!), while the dramatic opening of the finale (Arrival) initially pays homage to Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, yet continues with music of a tonally free, dancing, Bergian intensity.

For me, this is the contemporary discovery of 2004."

-Julian Haylock, The Strad

"San Francisco composer Peter Scott Lewis writes music that deftly balances vibrant dissonance and lyrical, slightly post-minimalist textures. It's smart, intricately crafted, and it makes a willing, even urgent appeal to a listener's sensibilities. "Atlantic Crossing," an arrangement for piano and violin of the composer's Second Violin Concerto, boasts a wealth of strong-limbed melody."

-Joshua Kosman, Datebook: San Francisco Sunday Chronicle


First Violin Concerto

"What you find is a serious, straightforward neo-romanticism, almost Bergian, without the Viennese master’s edge. Written in the mid 1980s, at the height of a flowering of concerto composition in the United States, Lewis’ Violin Concerto is a fine example of the genre. It is challenging for the soloist and accessible to the audience, without pandering or condescending."

-Stephen D. Hicken, American Record Guide

"It’s a work who myriad stylistic points of reference are negotiated here with chameleon-like ease…. homage to Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, yet continues with music of a tonally free, dancing, Bergian intensity. Hülsmann plays with a Ferras-like jewelled accuracy, employing an extraordinary range of bow pressure, speed, and articulation. This is big-personality playing of exquisite subtlety, which ensures that the music’s post-Romantic gesturing emerges as a compelling narrative."

-Julian Haylock, The Strad, London, England

"The mood throughout is romantic without cliches, the writing contemporary without contrivance. The piece makes demands on the soloist in ways that are both exciting and rewarding, with fresh sounds deftly woven into the total fabric. Above all, it is an easy piece to listen to, yet one that promises fresh insights on rehearing… Particularly attractive was an ostinato figure in the orchestra during the second movement that provides momentum over which the violin unfolds a lyrical melody."

-Janet Livingstone, The Montclarion (Oakland, CA)


Where the Heart is Pure for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Orchestra

"Where The Heart Is Pure : [is] a thoughtful and varied song cycle to poems of Robert Sund. The vocal writing shows equal concern for the shape of the poetry and for the autonomous demands of melody… Delicate Sky…an offbeat, charming trio."

-Datebook: San Francisco Sunday Chronicle

"Peter Scott Lewis is a composer of considerable talents…solid construction…strong rhythmic sections…luminous"

-20th Century Music

"Where The Heart Is Pure is a thoughtful and varied song cycle to poems of Robert Sund. The vocal writing shows equal concern for the shape of the poetry and for the autonomous demands of melody."

-Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Sunday Chronicle

"Both composer and poet capture the misty shades of the Northwest hills in their music and words, and while this is in the "new classical" vein, it will nonetheless appeal to any audience with good ears and an adventurous spirit."

-Steve Taylor, Hollow Ear Review


Guitar Concerto

"The composer Peter Lewis has the rare ability to make the language of his compositions emotionally accessible to the listener…his Guitar Concerto is melodically and harmonically abstract and also rhythmically complex. However, the music does not perplex, but is surprisingly pleasing and sensual. Herein lies the composer¹s originality."

-Guitar Review, New York

"The work has a number of highly lyrical passages interspersed with spiky segments, all combining into a constantly absorbing whole."

-The Times: Trenton, NJ