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2019 ESS GALA - Honoring George E. Lewis

  • Constellation 3111 North Western Avenue Chicago, IL, 60618 United States (map)

ESS Annual Gala
August 16, 2019
Constellation Chicago
Honoring George Lewis


George Lewis, Sam Pluta, Mwata Bowden

Kim Alpert and Rob Mazurek

Ken Vandermark with Claire Rousay and Macie Stewart

Angel Bat Dawid & Douglas R. Ewart

Kotoka Suzuki

Katie Wood, Alba artist-in-resident

MC: Douglas R. Ewart

The 2019 Gala is SOLD OUT! Please consider making a donation to help support the cause. Thank you!

Email Olivia at with any questions.

This year’s Gala kicks off the Recording Studio Upgrade Campaign. Be a founding supporter of this initiative by buying a ticket to ESS’s Annual Gala or making a donation!

Support sonic arts and experimental music in Chicago by joining us at the Annual Experimental Sound Studio Gala, this year honoring luminary composer and scholar George E. Lewis.

In addition to being an essential contributor to the field as a whole, George has a long history with ESS, conducting workshops and performances with the organization as early as 1989. Perhaps most notably from those early years, in 1992 ESS commissioned George and Douglas R. Ewart (also joining the 2019 ESS Gala festivities) to create Rio Negro a computer-controlled rainstick installation that premiered at Randolph Street Gallery and was most recently reimagined at the Museum of Contemporary Arts exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art & Music 1965-Now.

Funds raised at this year’s Benefit will support significant upgrades to ESS’s recording studios.

For 33 years ESS has served as a responsive resource and gathering place for a wide network of innovative artists and curious ears. We serve as a hub of activity, a reverberant ecosystem for the sonic arts comprised of public performance and installation, a full-service recording studio, artist residencies, workshops, and an archive.

Central to this activity is ESS’s recording studio. In 2018 alone ESS worked with 146 unique artists or ensembles in 322 recording sessions. Beyond recording, mixing, and mastering sessions, the studios are essential in ESS’s public performances, artist residencies, and in the archive. Last year we professionally recorded an additional 100+ musicians in 36 live performances, all of which were given to the performers free of charge. We used the studio to digitize tens of hours of experimental music in the archive, which were previously unavailable to the public.

The generative power of this space over the years is immeasurable and ongoing. We hope you will help us continue to provide some of today’s most innovative artists with top tier resources, supporting a continuum of radical creativity coming out of Chicago.