Announcement

Graduating Music Performance Major Mars Lewis Reflects on Music at UC Davis

Graduating Music Performance Major Mars Lewis Reflects on Music at UC DavisMars Lewis in the percussion studio holding mallets.
A SoundLab happening with electronics and glockenspiel by Mars Lewis on Picnic Day, 2022.

Mars Lewis is a graduating senior-honors-composition-percussion-conductor-electronic-music student. Yes, really.

Mars began as a percussionist in the UC Davis Marching Band, but leaned into all of the available opportunities. This included, briefly, conducting the Campus Band in what ended up being the final performance anywhere on campus before the March 2020 COVID shutdown. Early 2020 was a momentous time for Mars: “I think out of all the performances I’ve done here, the one that impacted me the most was [Reich’s] Music for 18 Musicians that happened in the Winter Quarter 2020. It was one of those performances where you walk off stage and start crying because it was so emotional.” If you watch the video, Mars is (most of the time) on the far-left marimba.

Their percussion teacher and UC Davis faculty member Chris Froh, was an early influence, bringing Mars into the newly—or at least officially— formed UC Davis Percussion Ensemble. However, things changed during the pandemic: “I started composing because of the pandemic even though I was sure I wouldn’t like it, but when we weren’t really allowed to have any in-person performances, it was really difficult to find any other musical outlet. Turns out it was really my thing, and I started down the road of completing the honors composition track.”

One of Mars’s introspective compositions—Shoulder to Shoulder—can be heard on their Soundcloud, which was performed by pianist and UC Davis faculty member I-Hui Chen. Mars pivoted heavily toward electronic music in their compositions, guided by faculty member Sam Nichols at the UC Davis SoundLab.

As Mars says, “it’s been a good run. I’m extremely grateful for all the faculty and staff who helped, taught, and mentored me over the years.”

View all UCD Arts departments and programs

Melody Chiang

Art
History

Melody Chiang

Art
Studio

Melody Chiang

Cinema and Digital Media

Melody Chiang

Design

Melody Chiang

Music

Melody Chiang

Theatre
and Dance

Melody Chiang

Performance Studies

Melody Chiang

Mondavi
Center

Melody Chiang

ARTS ADMINISTRATIVE GROUP

Melody Chiang

Social Media

Melody Chiang

Home:
UC Davis Arts