Sherman’s March by George Lam was the first of the pieces to use the vocalists to full effect. … Lam set the text organically with Britten-esque prosody, but what really made the piece work was that he managed three fully-realized characters within the short piece.

- kcmetropolis.org: Kansas City's Online Journal of the Arts

… an unpretentious gem.

- New York Observer, on the opera Heartbreak Express

Hong Kong-born composer George Tsz-Kwan Lam (b. 1981) grew up in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and studied music composition at Boston University, the Peabody Conservatory, and Duke University, where he received a PhD in music. George has studied with composers Charles Fussell, Martin Amlin, Christopher Theofanidis, Nicholas Maw, Stephen Jaffe, and Scott Lindroth. George also holds an MMus in Music Theory Pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory, a BMus in Music Education from Boston University, and is a certified music teacher (Pre K-12) in the state of New York.

George is interested in projects that intersect music, theater, and the documentary, and is currently creating a new documentary work for New Morse Code (New Haven, CT), a new piece for middle school band for Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and a new trombone work for the 2017 International Trombone Festival. Other recent commissions include String Quartet (2013) for the Romer String Quartet (Hong Kong), Theseus and the Minotaur (2014) for the Asian Young Musicians Connection (Taipei, Taiwan), Ross McElwee’s “Sherman’s March” (2014) for the Black House Collective (Kansas City, MO), Citadel (2015) for Synergy Percussion (Sydney, Australia), and Carmina Burana (2015) for Hong Kong Voices.

George’s 2011 one-act opera The Persistence of Smoke, with a libretto by North Carolina playwright John Justice, focused on the once-thriving cigarette industry in Durham (NC), inspired by collected interviews, oral histories and archival materials. The opera was staged in April 2011 at Golden Belt, the site of a former cotton mill that manufactured bags for Bull Durham tobacco. George’s 2015 one-act opera Heartbreak Express, inspired in part by Tai Uhlmann’s documentary film For the love of Dolly, follows four Dolly Parton “superfans” as they wait to meet their idol for the first time.

George Lam’s music has been performed by Gotham Chamber Opera (New York, NY), Rhymes With Opera (New York, NY), Christ Church United Methodist (New York, NY), Emerging Voices Project (New York, NY), Contemporary Musiking (Hong Kong), Volti (San Francisco, CA), American Opera Projects (Brooklyn, NY), Red Clay Saxophone Quartet (Greensboro, NC), AM/PM Saxophone Quartet, Boston University Concert Band, Charles River Wind Ensemble (Boston, MA), Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and Hong Kong Voices. From 2009 to 2012, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and conductor Yip Wing-sie premiered three orchestral works and presented the Asian premiere of Variations On (2006).

George is the recipient of a PSC-CUNY Research Foundation award for his documentary chamber work The Emigrants (forthcoming) and his percussion duo Theseus and the Minotaur (2014). In addition, George was the recipient of an American Music Center grant for his orchestral work The Queen’s Gramophone (2009), as well as the Evan V. Frankel Fellowship in Humanities at Duke University. Past fellowships and residencies include the Aspen Music Festival Schumann Fellowship, the Dartington International Summer School Angus Allnatt Foundation Fellowship, American Opera Projects’ “Composers & The Voice” workshop series, the Virginia Arts Festival John Duffy Composers Institute, and the Volti Choral Arts Laboratory commissioning and residency program, for which he composed the choral work Words Become Unlatched. In 2011, George served as the Composer-In-Residence at the inaugural Gesher Music Festival of Emerging Artists in St Louis, MO, where cellist Sara Sitzer premiered the Suite for Cello.

From 2011 to 2013, George served as Producing Associate for the NYC-based Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group. George is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at York College, The City University of New York, as well as a co-artistic director of Rhymes With Opera.

To contact George, simply send an e-mail to georgelam@gmail.com.

100-word Biography

Hong Kong-born composer George Tsz-Kwan Lam (b. 1981) grew up in Winthrop, Massachusetts, studied music at Boston University (BM), the Peabody Conservatory (MM), and Duke University (PhD), and is interested in works that intersect music, theater, and the documentary.  Current projects include The Emigrants for New Morse Code (Lawrence, Kansas, USA). Recent commissions include works for the Romer String Quartet (Hong Kong), Asian Young Musicians Connection (Taipei, Taiwan), Black House Collective (Kansas City, USA), and Synergy Percussion (Sydney, Australia). George Lam is an Assistant Professor of Music at York College, The City University of New York.


Download headshot here. Please credit Anthony Trujillo.