Daniel T Lewis

composer, percussionist, educator


Hi, I'm Dan. I write weird music inspired by strange, quiet, dark, and inscrutable things. I play jazz on the drums, I play new music on the vibes, and I play experimental music on whatever I can get my hands on. I've been playing and writing music since 1990, and I have a couple of degrees from a couple of places.

For more about my teaching philosophy and qualifications, see the "teaching" heading.

I have a YouTube channel called dtlewismusic, where I record video essays and performances of my music and others'. I play in an ensemble called Rested Field - we play lots of weird and beautiful improvisatory music.

I currently live in Chicago, but I work with people from all over, and I'm always eager to work on new, weird, community-focused projects.
Please reach out, I'd love to hear from you!


artist statement

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amplified percussion & effects pedals

invisible, alone - a ritual to summon something that comes simultaneously from beyond and from within.

2020 (in progress)

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amplified violin, freeze pedal, and gravel box

at great range, a gray effaced recollection. a familiar tune, half-remembered.

2019 for Lilit Hartunian

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voice, plastic cup, and sheets of paper

"I joy not in no earlthy blisse" - from a poem by Sir Edward Dyer. Originally for baritone, but can be performed in any range.

2018 for Josh Scheid

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bass clarinet, small appliances, and electronics

2016 for Chuck Furlong

duos & trios
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soprano & double bass

misinterpreting, covering over, omitting. there is a message struggling to get out.

2018 - 2020 commissioned by Departure Duo

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string trio

an environment of abstraction, reoriented and effaced by vertical structures

2016 commissioned by Sound Energy String Trio

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bass clarinet & marimba

the sift left of resolve sustained too long

2014 for Transient Canvas

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bass clarinet, marimba, viola

exploring the affect of a vanishing presence

2013 for Transient Canvas

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alto flute, viola, double bass

titled after the Kay Ryan poem "Reverse Drama"

2012 for Ludovico Ensemble

sm ensemble
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percussion quartet

...they begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means

2015 for Boston Percussion Group

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2012 (rev.2014) commissioned by ALEA III

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percussion septet



My Teaching Philosophy:

Learning to play, write, and improvise music is a process. Teaching someone these skills is a matter of teaching them the process, and showing them just how much fun the process can be.

My primary concern is to make sure that the student is enjoying the progress that they're making. Each of my students sets their own long-term goals - writing an orchestral piece, playing in the high school jazz band, etc. I help them visualize where they want to go, and everything we learn will be aimed at getting them there.

I consider it my job to not just demonstrate and explain new things but to teach my students how to teach themselves. I teach them how to work effectively, how to avoid frustration, and how to make progress every day without burning themselves out. I teach them that even tiny victories can feel great!

Every lesson we establish concrete, achievable short-term goals, and every lesson my student and I assess together the progress they're making towards those goals. We work out of industry-standard method books that the pros themselves learn from.

Ultimately I want all of my students to discover the joy of the process. I want them to be able teach themselves - to explore and analyze new kinds of music, and to have the tools they need to approach practicing any new and exciting thing they come across.


I teach out of my home studio, and I teach remote lessons over Zoom. My studio has everything I need for pristine audio, shared listening, play-alongs, and multiple camera angles for demonstrations - in some ways its even better than being in-person!

I hold a Bachelor of Science in Music Education, with minors in Percussion Performance and Music Composition, from Western Connecticut State University. I hold a Master of Music in Composition from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

I teach lessons on drums, mallet percussion, and orchestral percussion, I teach lessons in composition and improvization, and I tutor in music theory. For rates and availability please contact me at: lewis (dot) daniel (dot) T (at) gmail (dot) com.


you can reach me on twitter @dtlewismusic, or by email: lewis (dot) daniel (dot) T (at) gmail (dot) com

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