Assemblage: Ensemble Dal Niente Presents the Music of George Lewis

Live Arts


Admission actions

Chicago-based contemporary music group Ensemble Dal Niente present the record release concert of Assemblage, a collaboration with composer George Lewis.

The recording project marks the first-ever album solely devoted to the notated compositions of Lewis, who is renowned for his boundary crossing work as a trombonist, improvisor, computer musician, scholar and multimedia artist.

Of Assemblage, Lewis says: “both the title and the content of Assemblage refer to a type of visual artmaking that recombines and recontexualizes collections of natural and human-made objects. Assemblage-like processes were deployed in the early twentieth century works of Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, Louise Nevelson, and later, Jean Dubuffet… Artists active in the 1960s and after, including Noah Purifoy, Betye Saar, John Outterbridge, and David Hammons, adopted and extended the assemblage process, recycling and reframing both the quotidian urban detritus of modern civilization and the products of the human body as a means of establishing a historically synchronic creation of an African imaginary in African American.”

George Lewis’s works are constructed with an assortment of energetic sonic materials that are constantly recontextualized by juxtapositions and repetitions. The music encourages the listener to be an active participant in the unfolding context of the sounds, to concatenate their own experience, to be what the composer calls “improvisative listeners.”

George Lewis leads a pre-concert talk on Assemblage.

*Ticketholders for this event may enter the museum with their event ticket beginning at 2:30. To enter earlier, please purchase a separate museum admission ticket.

>This program is the culminating event after a series of in-gallery performances and talks presented by Ensemble Dal Niente and George Lewis. Learn more about their collaboration, and join us for these other related programs:Performance: Ensemble Dal Niente
Members of contemporary music group Ensemble Dal Niente respond to works from the museum collection with a series of in-gallery performances, concluding with a large-scale performance of George Lewis’ Artificial Life (2007).Artists Connect: George Lewis on AssemblageIn this in-gallery conversation, composer and musician George Lewis explores the assemblage approach to art making in the work of artist Joseph Cornell.

Support for Live Arts programming is provided by the Woman’s Board of the Art Institute of Chicago.

About the Artists

George Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002, Lewis has made over 120 recordings as composer or performer, and his publications on experimental music appear regularly in scholarly and popular journals.

Ensemble Dal Niente is a Chicago-based contemporary music collective that presents and performs new music in ways that redefine the listening experience and advance the art form. The programming, brought to life by a flexible repertoire-based instrumentation, seeks to challenge convention and create engaging, inspiring, and immersive experiences which connect audiences with the music of today.

Learn more about Ensemble Dal Niente.

To request an accessibility accommodation for an Art Institute program, please call (312) 443-3680 or send an e-mail to as far in advance as possible.

Please see the museum’s Accessibility page for more information.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions