Individuality and Collective Effort

Hey everyone! My name is Steven Lewis. I’m a second-year Ph.D. candidate in Music. My research interests include late 20th century jazz neoclassicism, early jazz, and 19th century African-American secular music. In my most recent project, I explored jazz performance as a means of constructing counternarratives of black American music history. I earned a BA in Jazz Saxophone, and I see my practice as an improviser as an important extension of my research.

Jazz is a music built on a balance between individuality and collective effort. The musicians in a good jazz band bring their personal styles into conversation with each other to create something new. I see Praxis as an opportunity to engage in this sort of improvisatory dialogue with my colleagues, each of whom is coming into the program with a unique set of skills and interests. The Ivanhoe project, with its emphasis on creativity and collective play, strikes me as an exciting way to engage my interests as a jazz musician while learning about digital technologies and their implications for my own work as a humanist.

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and earned a BA in Jazz Studies from Florida State University. I am currently in my second year of the PhD in the Musicology program at UVA. My research interests include late 20th century jazz neoclassicism, early jazz, and 19th century African-American secular music. I developed an interest in…

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