Peter Scott Lewis

  • 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 Bakken and Merling Trios; the Dorian Wind Quintet, members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Chamber Symphony of Princeton, Seattle’s Intiman Theater, New York Virtuoso Singers, and many distinguished soloists and conductors including Kent Nagano, Alan Gilbert, Craig Hella Johnson, Kees Hülsmann, Susan Narucki, Keisuke Nakagoshi, Stephen Gosling, 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), two piano trios (Rhapsodic Images and Surviving a Storm), Serenade for Winds (woodwind quintet, with bass clarinet), two cello and piano duos (Through The Mountain and Duo Concertante), A Whistler’s Dream (flute and piano), The Changing Light (chamber choir, vibraphone, marimba, and string quartet), Five Neruda Songs (vocal quartet or chamber choir), 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, Where the Heart Is Pure, Three Suites for Guitar, Atlantic Crossing/Rhapsodic Images, and Riving Shining Through.

    He’s also currently working on two more CDs, one all instrumental and the other vocal and instrumental. They are The Four Cycles, an all vocal recording featuring Susan Narucki, soprano; Christine Abraham, mezzo soprano; The New York Virtuoso Singers (Peter Lewis, conductor); and Stephen Gosling and Keisuke Nakagoshi, pianists. The other CD is titled Surviving a Storm and features Miranda Cuckson, violin; Chris Gross, cello, and Stephen Gosling, piano. Both CDs are being recorded in New York and should be released in 2016.

    Recent premieres include Surviving a Storm, commissioned and performed by the Merling Trio, and The Changing Light, commissioned and premiered by the vocal ensemble, Conspirare, and based on three poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Additional information and performances of existing compositions are listed on the Works page of his web site under their titles, 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 the Yale 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. 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 conductor, classical and jazz guitarist, and clarinetist. His music is published by Theodore Presser Company.


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    Drag Here to Add To List
    Solo
    Sun Music
    For Piano
    110-40716 6:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    Vocal / Choral
    3 Songs From Ish River 111-40181 7:00
    111-40254 Where The Heart Is Pure
    For Mezzo-soprano and Piano
    111-40254 :16:00 Mezzo-soprano, Piano
    Chamber Ensemble
    Atlantic Crossing 114-41265 Violin with Piano
    Beaming Contrasts 114-40743
    Delicate Sky
    For Violin, Percussion, and Piano
    114-40820 17:00 Chamber Ensemble
    Journey To Still Water Pond
    For Vibraphone/Marimba and String Quartet
    114-40783 6:00
    Night Lights 114-40782 10:00 String Quartet
    Rhapsodic Images 114-41127 22:00
    Serenade for Winds 114-41266
    Ensemble with Soloist(s)
    Second Violin Concerto 10210 34:00 Solo Vln.; 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(EbCl. B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 0; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
    Through the Mountain (Cello Concerto)
    for Solo Cello, Strings and Percussion
    12986 20: 00
    Violin Concerto 12988 20:00 Solo Vln.; 2 2(E.H.) 2 2 – 2 0 0 0; Perc. Str.
    Where the Heart is Pure
    for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Orchestra
    12989 16:00 Solo Mezzo-sop.; 1 1(E.H.) 1(B.Cl) 0 – 0 0 0 0; Str.

  • 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

    ATLANTIC CROSSING
    …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, San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle

    BEAMING CONTRASTS
    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, Washington Post

    A finely crafted composition.
    –New York Times

    FIRST GUITAR SUITE
    Vivid, entrancing, and remarkable…impressionistic harmonies, recitative-like phrases and borrowings from Northwest Indians… Lewis’ music exudes songfulness…
    –Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone

    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, 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

    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

    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)

    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, NY

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

    JOURNEY TO STILL WATER POND
    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 is “Little Trio” a mix of aggressive exchanges and romantic phrases.
    –CMH, Bridgeport, CT

    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

    NIGHT LIGHTS
    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, San Fransisco Examiner

    RHAPSODIC IMAGES
    …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

    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

    THE FOUR CYCLES
    (Naxos Recording)
    This is “pure” vocal music in an international modern style. There are no obvious vernacular touches but instead a play on consonance and dissonance, almost hearkening back to the Viennese School but ultimately original and captivating in its own right.
    It’s a surprise and will be a joy for all attracted to the modern-day extensions of the lieder.

    –Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

    THREE SONGS FROM ISH RIVER
    …the tiny, sparkling gem here is “Three Songs From Ish River,” a gorgeous and maddeningly brief triptych… It’s painful to arrive so quickly at the end.
    –Joshua Kosman, SFGate

    WHERE THE HEART IS PURE
    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

  • The Four Cycles THE FOUR CYCLES
    Naxos (8559815); August 12, 2016
    Performer(s): Christine Abraham, mezzo-soprano, Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano; Susan Narucki, soprano, Colin McAllister, guitar
    Work(s): Three Songs from Ish River
    Where the Heart is Pure
    River Shining Through RIVER SHINING THROUGH
    Lapis Island Records ( LIR003); March 20, 2007
    Performer(s): Dorian Wind Quintet
    Work(s): Serenade for Winds
    Atlantic Crossing/Rhapsodic Images ATLANTIC CROSSING/RHAPSODIC IMAGES
    Lapis Island Records (LIR002); January 1, 2004
    Performer(s): Kees Hülsmann, Amy Hiraga, violins, Peter Wyrick, cello, Marc Shapiro, Matthew Edwards, pianos
    Work(s): Atlantic Crossing
    Rhapsodic Images
    Three Suites for Guitar THREE SUITES FOR GUITAR
    Lapis Island Records (LIR001); January 1, 2003
    Performer(s): Peter Lewis, guitar
    Work(s): First Guitar Suite
    Second Guitar Suite
    Where the Heart is Pure WHERE THE HEART IS PURE
    New Albion Records (NA 079); January 1, 1996
    Performer(s): Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Laurent Pillot, conductor, Kees Hulsmann, soloist/conductor, Stephanie Friedman, mezzo-soprano, Nadya Tichman, violin, Jack Van Geem, percussion, Robin Sutherland, piano
    Work(s): Delicate Sky
    First Violin Concerto
    Sun Music
    Where the Heart is Pure
    Beaming Contrasts BEAMING CONTRASTS
    New Albion Records (NA 060); January 1, 1993
    Performer(s): Alexander String Quartet; David Tanenbaum, guitar, William Winant, percussion, Lawrence Granger, cello, Marc Shapiro, piano
    Work(s): Beaming Contrasts
    Journey to Still Water Pond
    Night Lights
    Through the Mountain

  • Yaddo Corporation residency
    MacDowell Colony residency
    Djerassi Foundation
    Composer-in-residence at Seattle’s Intiman Theater
    Composer-in-residence at Festival for New American Music
    Composer-in-residence at SFMOMA

  • Second Violin Concerto
    Through the Mountain (Cello Concerto)
    for Solo Cello, Strings and Percussion
    Violin Concerto
    Where the Heart is Pure
    for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Orchestra

Facebook
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
YouTube
Google+
http://www.presser.com/composer/lewis-peter-scott/