Peter Scott Lewis composes in a variety of genres, from concerto to chamber music to opera and other vocal music.
His work is often descriptive and evokes settings on the United States' west coast.
Lewis was born in San Rafael, California, and grew up in northern California and Washington state. His musical studies include an impressive list of teachers, such as Andrew Imbrie, Jacob Druckman, Nicholas Maw, and Morton Subotnick. In addition to composition, he has performed both classical and jazz music on guitar, having studied that instrument with Alirio Diaz and Carlos Barbosa-Lima. He also took conducting instruction from Arthur Weisberg.
Lewis' music, such as the orchestral Pacific Triptych and the song cycle Where the Heart Is Pure, is descriptive and evocative of the surroundings in which he grew up and where he has lived. The poetic nature of his music belies its formality, although it can often also sound improvisatory. His music has been commissioned and performed by the conductors Kent Nagano and Alan Gilbert, guitarist David Tanenbaum, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, to name just a few, and he has held several residencies, including ones at the MacDowell Colony, Seattle's Intiman Theater, and the Festival for New American Music. The first album devoted to his music, Beaming Contrasts, was released on New Albion in 1993. Other releases featuring his work appeared on Naxos and his own Lapis Island Records. An album of chamber music, Home Stretch, was released in 2019 and featured New York musicians Miranda Cuckson, Chris Gross, and Stephen Gosling.