Charles Lewis

Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments

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Career Highlights
  • International classical and jazz solo trumpet performances with the Boston Jazz Repertory Orchestra, the Boston Orchestra and Chorale, the Boston Pops, the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Naumburg Award–winning Empire Brass Quintet, the New Japan Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Rhode Island Pops; with Gunther Schuller on the New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble's Grammy-winning album, Scott Joplin: The Red Back Book, and with Aretha Franklin at the Newport Jazz Festival
  • Recordings include Carol Comune's Season of Light, the Commonwealth Brass Quintet's Paradox, Big Bang's Sol~Surfer, Don Byron's Bug Music, and 100=46 with David Amram and the Leite Concert Winds
  • Coauthor, with Tiger Okoshi, of the Berklee Press title Berklee Practice Method: Trumpet
  • Notable performances include Leonard Berstein's "Mass" at the opening of the Kennedy Center; the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of Much Ado About Nothing; and Dude (the Highway Life), a musical by Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermot
  • Cofounded the Empire Brass Quintet, playing on several recordings and winning the Naumburg Chamber Music Award
  • Recipient of Berklee's Teaching Excellence Award, presented by the Professional Performance Division (2006)
  • 2001 Brass Department Achievement Award
  • City Music Legacy Award
  • C.D. Jackson Prize for outstanding instrumentalist
  • Tanglewood Music Award
  • Naumburg Chamber Music Award
In Their Own Words

"My professional background contributes directly to my teaching in that it is the subject matter that I have chosen to teach. My familiarity and knowledge of the information gives my teaching more depth and understanding. Professional background goes hand and hand with experience, which makes for a more stable transference of information."

"I listen carefully to the student and, emphasizing complete breath support, I respond in earnest. I decide whether they are breathing correctly and make sure that their embouchure is in order—I'm known for resetting troubled embouchures. Getting to know a student is very important—learning their likes, dislikes, and desires. Desire, in my estimation, plays the biggest part in success, musical and otherwise."

"My mission is to help the student produce as good a sound as possible with the least amount of effort, and enable them to add their sound to any musical situation of their choosing. This musical flexibility involves the development of a fluid technique and a knowledge of a myriad of musical styles. Some students naturally have this chameleon-like ability to change styles, and others work harder to master this ability."

"When I was a graduate student, I played with the New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble on a recording, Scott Joplin: The Red Back Book, which won a Grammy. Gunther Schuller was the president of the conservatory at the time and the conductor of that group. He invited me to come to Boston."

"I also played for Leonard Bernstein when he conducted Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 at Tanglewood. The following year I played first trumpet on [Bernstein's] "Mass" at the opening of the Kennedy Center—that was really the beginning of my career. From there, I was hired to play the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Much Ado About Nothing for Joe Papp, which later went to Broadway and CBS television. Also, I was a founding member of the Empire Brass Quintet, the first brass group ever to win the Naumburg Chamber Music Award."