Hong Kong-born composer George Tsz-Kwan Lam (b. 1981) grew up in both Hong Kong and Winthrop, Massachusetts. George has studied with composers Charles Fussell, Martin Amlin, Christopher Theofanidis, Nicholas Maw, Stephen Jaffe, and Scott Lindroth. George holds a PhD in music from Duke University, and is a certified music teacher (Pre K-12) in the state of New York. George Lam 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.
George works primarily on projects that intersect music, theater, and the documentary, and is currently creating a new documentary work for New Morse Code (New Haven, CT) and a new piece for the Oak Middle School band (Shrewsbury, MA). Recent works include A Story, Again, Misremembered (2017) written for the 2017 International Trombone Festival, 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).
Fellowships and Residencies
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.
To contact George, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Photo by Anthony Trujillo.