Hailed by the Boston Phoenix as “…both an inspired conductor…and an inspired programmer,” COURTNEY LEWIS is quickly becoming recognized as one of today’s top emerging talents. He is founder and music director of Boston’s acclaimed Discovery Ensemble, a chamber orchestra with the mission of introducing inner-city school children to classical music while bringing new and unusual repertoire to established concert audiences. Lewis has also recently been promoted to associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, where he regularly conducts Young People’s concerts, outdoor concerts, and other performances.
In November 2008 Lewis made his major American orchestra debut with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, leading a series of five concerts. He subsequently spent several weeks assisting conductors David Robertson and Marc Albrecht. He has also worked with the BBC Philharmonic, Tulsa Symphony and Liverpool Mozart Orchestras, as well as smaller groups including the Nash Ensemble and Alban Berg Ensemble. Recent engagements include a return to the St. Louis Symphony and successful debuts with the Ulster Orchestra and the New Hampshire Music Festival. In summer 2011, he makes his debut at the Sewanee Music Festival and returns to the Ulster Orchestra for a series of BBC Radio 3 Invitation Concerts. Lewis also appears with the Ulster Orchestra in fall of 2011 under the auspices of the newly formed Northern Ireland Opera as well as on the Ulster Orchestra’s main subscription series in spring of 2012.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Lewis attended the University of Cambridge, where he studied composition with Robin Holloway and clarinet with Dame Thea King, graduating at the top of his year with starred first class honors. After completing a master’s degree with a focus on the late music of György Ligeti, he attended the Royal Northern College of Music, where his teachers included Sir Mark Elder and Clark Rundell. He also completed a two-year tenure as a Zander Fellow with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, an intensive conducting apprenticeship under the ensemble’s music director, Benjamin Zander.