Conductor, educator, and writer Michael Lewanski is a champion of new and old music. His work seeks to create deeper and more engaged connections between audiences, musicians, and the music that is part of their culture and history. He is Associate Professor at the DePaul University School of Music, where he has been on the faculty since 2008; he conducts DePaul’s Concert Orchestra, Ensemble 20+ (20th century and contemporary music), and works with other ensembles. He is conductor of Ensemble Dal Niente, a Chicago-based new music group.
Michael has guest-conducted ensembles from Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, the State Symphony Orchestra of Turkmenistan, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Fifth House Ensemble, and many others. He has led over 100 world premieres. He was the conducting assistant for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2010 to 2014. At the 2012 Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music (Germany), Ensemble Dal Niente won the prestigious Kranichstein Music Prize under his direction. Michael has an extensive discography as both a conductor and a producer.
A native of Savannah, Georgia, he studied piano and violin; he made his conducting debut at age 13, leading his own composition. At 16, he was the youngest student ever accepted into the conducting class of the legendary Ilya Musin at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Michael attended Yale University. His post-Yale education featured conducting study with Cliff Colnot and Lucas Vis.
Michael was an organizer of There is No Repetition: Mathias Spahlinger at 70 in March 2015. Other recent festival appearances include June in Buffalo (2016 and 2017), the 2015 Foro Internacional de Música Nueva in Mexico City, the 2013 Ecstatic Music Festival (in which Dal Niente collaborated with the rockband Deerhoof), the Northwestern New Music Conference (2014 and 2015), the 2015 Omaha Under the Radar Festival, the MusicArte festival in Panama (2013 and 2015), and the 2013 Bowling Green New Music Festival.
Michael’s schedule for the 2017-2018 concert season includes concerts with DePaul School of Music Ensembles, performances with Ensemble Dal Niente (concerts at the Art Institute of Chicago, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, residencies at Brown, Brandeis, Northwestern and University of Chicago), conducting engagements throughout the US and abroad, recording projects, and festival appearances.