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 both Hong Kong and Winthrop, Massachusetts.  George Lam is Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music at York College, The City University of New York. Along with his colleague Ruby Fulton, George also serves as 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) titled The Emigrants. Recent works include Shrewsbury Fair (2017) for Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury, MA, 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.

Operatic Works

As the 2018 Composer in Residence for the Chautauqua Opera Company, George created new works that are being premiered in the company’s 2018 summer season, including two works for voice and piano (Sissieretta Jones, Carnegie Hall, 1902 / O patria mia on a poem by Tyehimba Jess; Such Sweet Sorrow on a poem by Allison Joseph) and a new work for mezzo-soprano and orchestra (Underwater Acoustics on a poem by Rajiv Mohabir). George’s recent operas include the 2018 collaborative opera Rumpelstiltskin, created with co-composer Ruby Fulton, the 2015 one-act opera Heartbreak Express, and the 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.


George Lam’s music has been performed by the Chautauqua Opera Company (Chautauqua, NY), 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 Queens Arts Council new works grant and a PSC-CUNY Research Foundation award in support of 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.

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, an MMus from the Peabody Conservatory, and a BMus from Boston University.

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

Short Biography

Composer George Tsz-Kwan Lam (b. 1981) grew up in both Hong Kong and Winthrop, Massachusetts.  George studied music at Boston University, the Peabody Conservatory, and Duke University, where he received his PhD.  George is interested in works that intersect music, theater, and the documentary process, and his current documentary projects include the cello-percussion duo The Emigrants for New Morse Code (Lawrence, Kansas) and a new band piece for Oak Middle School (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts). Recent commissions include works for Hong Kong Voices, 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.  In addition, George Lam is also a co-artistic director of Rhymes With Opera, an NYC-based ensemble that commissions and produces new operas.


Download headshot here. Please credit Anthony Trujillo.