Jill Terhaar Lewis

Professor of Music
Lightsey Music
P843-863-7959 / Ejlewis@csuniv.edu


Doctor of Musical Arts in vocal performance, music history cognate (University of South Carolina)
Master of Music in performance, music history cognate (Western Michigan University)
Bachelors of Music Education in choral (University of Idaho)
Teaching Certificate awarded in State of Idaho

Jill Terhaar Lewis

Dr. Jill Terhaar Lewis is a tenured professor of Vocal Music and the Chair of Vocal Programs at Charleston Southern University. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in vocal performance with a cognate in music history from the University of South Carolina. She also has degrees from Western Michigan University (Master of Music in performance and music history cognate) and the University of Idaho (Bachelor of Music Education, choral). She coordinates the vocal curriculum, teaches voice lessons and other classes and is also the music history teacher. She is a founder of Contemporary Collaborations, along with composers Trevor Weston and later Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, a new music project where student composers team up with student singers and poets to create new works for chamber ensembles resulting in dozens of new compositions and performances. Lewis and Dr. Vassilandonakis have presented on this project at an SC NATS Fall Workshop and again at the NATS National Conference in Chicago.

Known for her beautiful timbre and musical versatility, Lewis is in demand as a full-lyric soprano. She has performed as a soloist with esteemed classical ensembles such as the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO), the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and the Hilton Head Choral Society. In addition to her work as a classical soloist, she also has extensive experience with modern and contemporary styles. She has performed with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra and was a featured soloist along with members of the Jazz Artists of Charleston in the Hi-Harmony concert at the Charleston Music Hall. She has been a recitalist on various prestigious concert series including several spotlight performances with the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the Baker and Baker Recital Series, the CSO Magnetic South Series, and the Women & Concert Series. She is a frequent soloist and collaborator with the Charleston Southern Concert Singers and has traveled extensively with them performing throughout Europe as well as in New York City and the surrounding areas.

Lewis regularly performs recitals and has a penchant for Late-Romantic music and American art song, and has extensive experience with opera and premiering new music. She is married to jazz musician and saxophonist Robert Lewis. Together they collaborate with jazz pianist Gerald Gregory as The In-Between, an ensemble performing new compositions and arrangements by the group that lie both in and in-between classical and jazz genres. They have performed in the South, toured the Pacific Northwest, and made their international debut in Denmark. They have also recorded and released several albums. In her community, Lewis has volunteered her time and services to various organizations. She is co-artistic director of the St. John the Beloved Concert Series in Summerville. She has served as co-chair for the Charleston Jazz Festival, has been vocal consultant for the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, and has worked as a clinician and presenter for Charleston Jazz. Lewis is a co-founder of the Empathy Project with Dr. Jennifer Whipple, MT-BC and Maurice Burgess. This is a project to foster the development of empathy in young teens through interactive experiences with performing and visual artists in the community.

Lewis was recently elected Governor of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Mid-Atlantic Region overseeing a region including teachers and students in chapters and districts from North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland/Washington D.C., and Virginia. She lives in Summerville with her family.

Your Purpose. Our Mission.

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to see a young student come into college as a naive freshman and witness that student's journey into adulthood. Ideas and dreams are forged into reality through hard work, prayer, and perseverance. I get to see each student grow, maturing as an academic, as an adult in the community, and in their faith. It is hard to say goodbye, but so much easier when I know that they are equipped to flourish as leaders and go on to serve the world.

Dr. Jill Terhaar Lewis

Multiple student awards at the state, region, and national levels of the National Student Auditions. Four students in past five years have advanced to the semifinal rounds (top 14 in the nation in classical and music theater categories)

Montclair Who’s Who in Collegiate Faculty 2008

Regional Finalist National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Vocal Competition 2006

Semi-Finalist Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition, 2005

Regional Finalist Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions - Southeast 2002

Fellowship Alternate in Music Performance for the South Carolina Arts Commission Artist Fellowship Program 2001

Outstanding Presentation in Cultural Enrichment Category for Graduate Student Day, 2000

First Place Charlotte Opera Guild Vocal Competition, 1999

Graduate Assistant Award for Academic Excellence 1996-97

Young Artist Award Washington/Idaho Symphony 1992

Various awards as soloist at district and regional levels of NATS


My Soul in Stillness Waits (2017) The In-Between (Jill Terhaar Lewis, soprano; Robert Lewis, saxophone, and Gerald Gregory, piano with Norbert Lewandowski, cello and Ron Wiltrout, drums; engineered by Quentin Baxter), co-producer

Deep in the Night (2017) The In-Between (Jill Terhaar Lewis, soprano; Robert Lewis, saxophone, and Gerald Gregory, piano with Norbert Lewandowski, cello and Ron Wiltrout, drums; engineered by Quentin Baxter), co-producer

Joyeux Noel (2017) soloist with St. John the Beloved Choir

Where Weeds and Sees Did Grow (2015) cowboy poetry and sons with Ralph Terhaar and family, co-producer

And Now I Know (2010) crossover cd with jazz musicians Gerald Gregory, piano and Robert Lewis, saxophone

Songs of Faith (2003) world-premiere recording of three commissioned works for soprano (Jill Terhaar Lewis) and organ (Alan Davis) by SC composers: Edward Hart, Larry Shackley, and Trevor Weston

Sounds of Christmas (2002) soloist with St. John the Beloved Choir

Other Professional Activity:

2017 to present: Empathy Project group work with Dr. Jennifer Whipple (Music Therapy) and Maurice Burgess (Gregg Middle Choral Director) to encourage empathy in 8th-grade choir through interactive activities throughout the school year with professional musicians, thespians, and visual artists.

2016 Selected Poster Presenter for NATS 54th National Conference in Chicago
Jill Terhaar Lewis, Charleston Southern University and Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, College of Charleston
Presentation Title: Contemporary Collaborations: New Music Projects for Voice Students

2012 Presented at the SC NATS Fall Workshop with Dr. Yiorgos Vassilandonakis (College of Charleston) Contemporary Collaborations: Creating New Music Opportunities with Student Performers and Student Composers.

2011 Lecture Recital: Soloist with Meisha Adderley (piano), Clafin University; Jennifer Parker-Harley (flute), University of South Carolina, and John Lane (composer), Allen University. The Eleanor Collection: An Investigation of Intersections of Contemporary Aesthetics and Historical European Pantomime Appropriation at Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the College Music Society 41st Annual Regional Conference at UNC Greensboro March

New Music Collaborations:

2010 to present: Founding member of The In-Between, ensemble with Robert Lewis, saxophone and Gerald Gregory, piano; commission and premier new works by the ensemble and guest composers; multiple concerts

2009 to present: Co-Founder with Dr. Trevor Weston (later replaced by Dr. Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, both of College of Charleston) of Contemporary Collaborations: a student group of composers, musicians, and authors collaborating to create new works for chamber ensembles with voice from page to stage culminated in a series of concerts and dozens of newly commissioned works.

1997 World premiere of Dennis DeSantis chamber work: an evilfringing flower in concert with Collegium Novum at WMU

National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS): office held: current Mid-Atlantic (VA, MD-DC, NC, SC) Region Governor, former SC Dist. Gov.; SC President, SC VP, SC Sec.; on National committees: NATS Advocacy Committee (recording secretary), NATS Education Commission, NATS Board Reading Committee

American Musicological Society

College Music Society

Phi Kappa Lamda Honor Society (1997-present)