George Lewis

University of Pittsburgh & multiple venues
February 23 – 27
Various times

From Billy Strayhorn and Dakota Staton, to Art Blakey and Ahmad Jamal—and so many more on the city’s roll call of musical greats—Pittsburgh is synonymous with jazz. It’s an especially big week for jazz aficionados of all ilks because the 46th annual Pitt Jazz programming continues the region’s rich musical legacy with a wide array of events open to the public as part of the George Lewis in Residence—and many of them are free.

George Lewis
George Lewis

Running through February 27th both on and off campus, the highly anticipated musical confluence—which is part of an expansion of Pitt’s longstanding Jazz Seminar—features concerts, lectures, educational seminars, brown bag lunch programs, outreach events. The residence program is designed to convene top jazz innovators and scholars in Pittsburgh for an exploration of one of America’s most original art forms.

Don’t miss tonight’s kick off with a free panel discussion at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium featuring composer, trombonist, artist and Columbia University professor George Lewis. A member of the renowned Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and a pioneer in improvisational, experimental and electronic music, Lewis is serving as Artist in Residence for Pitt’s Year of the Humanities series. The event brings together social scientists, musicologists, technologists and artists to discuss the important role that sound plays in society, human expression, politics, technology and culture.

On Thursday, February 25th, Lewis will participate in a free lecture and book signing at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. The recipient of MacArthur, Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, Lewis will speak on “A Power Stronger Than Itself” and will discuss his celebrated book about the AACM and American experimental music.

Pitt Jazz Studies Program Director Geri Allen
Pitt Jazz Studies Program Director Geri Allen

Not to miss on Friday, February 26th is the free “Spooky Interaction” live performance at Bellefield Hall Auditorium featuring Lewis on trombone, along with flutist Nicole Mitchell, trombonist Michael Dessen, saxophonist Francis Wong and pianist Geri Allen.

The exiting week culminates with a ticketed concert on Saturday, February 27th at The Andy Warhol Museum where Music on the Edge will co-present an evening featuring four of Lewis’ renowned chamber compositions written between 1996 and 2014. Conducted by Roger Zahab, the performance will feature percussionist David Shively, flutist Lindsey Goodman, violinist Dawn Posey, cellist Yves Dharamraj and pianist Eric Moe.

With renowned pianist, composer and Pitt Jazz Studies Program Director Geri Allen at the helm, the annual festivities are among the country’s premier jazz events and they underscore Pitt’s unique focus on combining scholarship, performance, community involvement, cultural diversity and musicianship.

View a calendar of all Pitt Jazz events.

Looking for more events? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in February feature.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.