Conductor, educator, and writer Michael Lewanski is a champion of new and old music. His work seeks to create engaged connections between audiences, musicians, and the music that is part of their culture, society, and history. He is conductor of Ensemble Dal Niente, a Chicago-based new music group. 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.
Michael was resident conductor of the 2017 and 2019 SoundSCAPE Festivals in Italy. His guest conducting engagements have been wide-ranging and stylistically diverse, working with organizations such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW Series, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, the State Symphony Orchestra of Turkmenistan, Ensamble CEPROMUSIC (Centro de Experimentación y Producción de Música Contemporánea, Mexico City), the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Mocrep, and many others. He has led hundreds of world premieres. He was the Conducting Assistant for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2010 to 2014. At the 2012 Darmstadt Summer Courses, 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 included conducting study with Cliff Colnot and Lucas Vis.
Michael’s schedule for the 2019-2020 concert season includes concerts with DePaul School of Music Ensembles; a season of performances with Ensemble Dal Niente; guest conducting appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW Series, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, and the Grossman Ensemble (Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago); recording projects; and festival appearances.