Ensemble 20+

The DePaul University School of Music’s Ensemble 20+ is a uniquely ambitious college contemporary music group.  Though its exceptionally diverse programming— from high modernism, to generations of the European avant-garde, to emerging and established composers working in the US, and everything in between—it seeks to create a deep engagement by young musicians with a wide range of 20th and 21st century compositional styles.  Through concerts, commissions, workshops and recordings, it fosters a sense of mutual respect among performers, composers, and audience members and contributes to building a positive and creatively vital musical community.


Conductor, educator, and writer Michael Lewanski is a champion of contemporary music and older repertoire alike.  His work seeks to create deeper and more engaged connections between audiences, musicians, and the music that is part of their culture and history.  He is conductor of Ensemble Dal Niente and has been on the faculty of the DePaul University School of Music since 2007, where he conducts the Concert Orchestra, Ensemble 20+ (20th century and contemporary music), and works frequently with other ensembles.

Michael has guest-conducted Lyric Opera of Chicago, chamber ensembles from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Civic Youth Orchestra, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Fifth House Ensemble, and many other. He has led over 100 world premieres. He was the Conducting Assistant for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2010 to 2014.  At the 2012 Darmstadt Summer Courses, Ensemble Dal Niente won the prestigious Kranichstein Music Prize under his direction.  Michael has an extensive discography as both a conductor and a producer.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, he studied piano and violin; he made his conducting debut at age 13, leading his own composition.  At 16, he was the youngest student ever accepted into the conducting class of the legendary Ilya Musin at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.  Michael subsequently attended Yale University.  His post-Yale education featured conducting study with Cliff Colnot and Lucas Vis.

Michael’s diverse schedule for the 2015-2016 concert season includes concerts with DePaul School of Music Ensembles; Ensemble Dal Niente’s 10th anniversary season; guest conducting the Civic Orchestra of Chicago; return engagements in Toledo and Detroit; numerous recording projects; various festival appearances; and academic presentations and conferences.