NEPA Scene Staff

‘Counterbop’ musician ELEW plays free ‘rockjazz’ concert at University of Scranton on Jan. 28

‘Counterbop’ musician ELEW plays free ‘rockjazz’ concert at University of Scranton on Jan. 28
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From a press release:

“Performance Music at the University of Scranton” will kick off its spring concert season with ELEW, master of the piano and creator of “rockjazz” and “counterbop,” on Sunday, Jan. 28.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center (342 Jefferson Ave., Scranton) at the University of Scranton. Admission is free and open to the public, with seating on a first come, first served basis.

“I am very much looking forward to offering our students and audiences the opportunity to hear this creative genius in a live concert setting – few artists spin my head with their virtuosity and creativity as consistently as ELEW,” said Cheryl Y. Boga, conductor and director of Performance Music.

A native of Camden, New Jersey, Eric Lewis began his musical studies at 2 years old and received the Rodgers and Hammerstein full merit scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music. Upon graduation, he toured the world, recorded, and performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Elvin Jones, Cassandra Wilson, Roy Hargrove, and John Hendricks, among others. In 1999, he won the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition, at the time the most coveted prize in jazz.

A decade into his career, Lewis reemerged as ELEW and began fusing his piano techniques with rock guitar-based ideas and experimental prepared piano methods, generating a powerful crossover brand he coined “rockjazz.” Over the course of multiple award-winning, critically-acclaimed albums, ELEW has reimagined songs by The Killers, Nirvana, Coldplay, and Michael Jackson, to name a few. Throughout his career, he has built an elite fanbase of distinguished leaders and celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Gerard Butler, Barack and Michele Obama, Prince Albert II, Will Smith, Eli Roth, Al Pacino, and many others.

Inspired by the European masters of Baroque counterpoint, ELEW has innovated the technique of simultaneously executing two independent melodies which precisely detail harmonic forms bursting with idiomatic verisimilitude and wide-ranging historical references, all while flawlessly maintaining the idiosyncratic Afrocentric timing at the core of jazz improvisation. He has named this technique “counterbop.” His album “ELEW plays Rosenwinkel – Cubism,” a solo piano exploration of contemporary jazz legend Kurt Rosenwinkel, provides perspective and insight into the nature of what counterbop is and how it may be implemented.

In addition to performing on piano and appearing in and scoring for films, ELEW is a prominent international DJ. He has created disco infernos for multiple events such as the World Economic Forum, TED, Art Basel, A-list Oscar parties, the Monte-Carlo Gala, the Cannes Film Festival, and multiple celebrity birthdays and weddings. This has led to him creating yet another innovation he calls “Piano Turntablism,” literally playing two different yet recognizable songs simultaneously as a DJ would, but on the piano.

For further information about his University of Scranton performance, call 570-941-7624, email, or visit

The University of Scranton bands, choirs, and string ensembles offer high-quality instrumental and choral performing ensemble opportunities in a variety of formats, ranging from very large ensembles to small ensemble and solo performing opportunities. Participation is open to any and all interested university students (as well as faculty, staff, and administration) with no individual audition requirement nor enrollment or membership fee, in the finest liberal arts tradition.

The University of Scranton Performing Arts Series and the Scranton Brass Orchestra present concert performances by outstanding and renowned musicians representing a variety of musical genres and closely coordinate programming with the bands, choirs, and string ensembles to offer special masterclasses, workshops, and lectures by visiting artists.

All performances are free of charge and open to the public, and most take place in the magnificently restored concert hall of the Houlihan-McLean Center on campus, which is equipped with a historic Steinway B grand piano and a fully restored Austin Opus 301 symphonic organ.

The late composer-in-residence Vaclav Nelhybel’s long and productive relationship with the university continues to be honored through close cooperation between the university and the Nelhybel estate through the establishment of “The Nelhybel Collection.”

The programs include an annual “World Premiere Composition Series” performance, the only series of its kind in the nation, which has received honor and acclaim from artists throughout the world. Since 1984, the series has provided our students with opportunities to work and interact with nationally and internationally renowned composers and conductors and has made significant contributions to the wind and choral repertoires.

Hundreds of students participate in the ensembles every year and are achieving their performance goals in the musical ensemble of their choice.