Dr. Angel Lam is a Grammy-nominated composer who uses the beauty of soundscape, instrumentation and the written language to express refined emotions and her passion for life. Her compositions are praised as "Timeless" (by Carnegie Hall), "An otherworldly, dreamily poetic short story...Rich, singing tone and sense of drama...Fanciful music that drew on lively dance rhythms" (New York Times), and "Precious, soaring lyrical lines." (Metropolitan Opera, Opera News).
She has received three New York Carnegie Hall commissions before the age of 29, including a cello concerto dedicated to cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Spano, and commissioned by Carnegie Hall in the Carnegie Hall Festival "Ancient Paths, Modern Voices". Another Carnegie Hall commission was featured in the Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble album “New Impossibilities,” and “Off the Map.” In the latter she was a featured composer and the album was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Crossover Album.
She was voted "Artist of the Month" by Musical America, "Yalie of the Week" by Yale University Yale Alumni Magazine, and a featured artist on Best Buy Inc.'s "Creative Minds" with Minnesota Orchestra performing her orchestral work “In Search of Seasons,” conducted by Osmo Vanska.
In 2017-2020, the Aaron Copland Music at Copland House Ensemble and Saltbay Chamber Music Festival commissioned her for a new work. They toured her composition in the U.S. East and West Coast. It also received a featured performance at the foundation's New York City Gala in 2019. In the summer of 2018, two of her compositions toured seven Japanese cities with Asia America New Music Institute (AANMI), the opening concert was hosted by Kyoto mayor Daisaku Kadokawa at Kyoto's Nijojo Castle. The final concert of the Japan tour was at Tokyo's prestigious Suntory Hall, sponsored by the United States Embassy. In 2019-2021, her new work commissioned by Boston-based Hub New Music Ensemble will tour United States and to be released in a recording album in 2022. From 2019-2021, her other works has been broadcast on Radio Television Hong Kong, released in an album with West Kowloon Cultural District, and performed in Germany, Iceland and Hawaii.
As composer, librettist and artistic director, she premiered her full-length music theatre “June Lovers,” commissioned by the international Hong Kong Arts Festival on the 40th anniversary celebration. She is honored to receive the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Literary Award to develop and publish her literary works. She received the prestigious Opera America Discovery Grant for development of a new theatrical work. Her previous works has been read in public readings and in development with New York Off-Broadway theater Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, The Playwrights Group and Chelsea Repertory Theatre. She received six semi-staged performances at Theatre Row in Manhattan, and were also performed at Museum of Chinese American (MOCA) New York, Here Arts Centre, The Tank, The China Institute of New York, National Sawdust Theater in Brooklyn and Flushing Town Hall in Queens. She was also the composer for the Off-Broadway production “A Dream of Red Pavilions” at Theatre Row which received 40 performances. Her theatre and writing mentors include Martha Clarke, playwrights Jeremy Karekan (Broadway “Lifespan of a Fact”), Arlene Hutton (Barrow Group), Richard Caliban (Gotham Writers), and director/actor Ernest Abuba (Obie Award winner.)
She was commissioned to write several multimedia dance works, including a piece for the centennial celebration of Peabody Dance Institute, and another for the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in collaboration with the School of Chinese Dance and Contemporary Dance. The Interlochen Center for the Arts has commissioned her to create a short film with her own story and music, Color of the Mind, directed by award-winning director Mida Chu (Interlochen alumni) and performed by the Interlochen Center for the Arts Symphonic Band. It was an official selection at the Monarch International Film Festival, Montery Bay, California.
She first received a Carnegie Hall commission, writing a composition for Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Project, then another commission working with GRAMMY Awards-winning composer Osvaldo Golijov and renowned vocalist Dawn Upshaw. One of her composition, “Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain,” is on the touring repertoire of Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble since 2007, performing at prestigious concert halls around the world, including London's BBC Proms and Switzerland's Lucerne Festival. This work was released by Sony/BMG on Silk Road Ensemble's CD “New Impossibilities” as an exclusive bonus, and recorded again as one of four featured composers on the GRAMMY nominated album “Off the Map.”
Her music commissions include performances by multiple GRAMMY-nominated Yale Cellos directed by Aldo Parisot, Aaron Copland Foundation Music at Copland House Music Series, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, New York Greenwich Village Orchestra, New York University Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Northwest Symphony, Oak Park and River Forest Symphony Orchestra, University of California Irvine Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Yale Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Kings Harmonica Quintet, Orange County Women's Chorus, Los Angeles Loyola High Men's Chorus, among others. Her awards include five ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, Macdowell Colony Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow Award, two NACUSA Young Composer Award and Audience Prize at the Seoul International Competition for Composers.
She lives in New York City. When not doing creative work, she has a passion for theater and is a staff writer critic for the New York theater review organization Theasy.com. She is also a partnering teaching artist of Steinway and Sons, where she has a studio of music composition, theory and piano performance students. She presents an annual concert recital at Steinway Hall, sponsored by Steinway and Sons in New York.
She is honored to be a member of the Distinguished Artist Council of the Johns Hopkins University, and Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund Awardees Association.
Lam received her Doctorate degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, her Bachelor's degree with honours from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and is a recipient of the Henry and Lucy Moses full scholarship Artist Diploma from Yale University.
As a child she attended Pui Ching Primary School 香港培正學校 in Hong Kong.
Lam's compositions feature a blend of evocative expressiveness and East Asian sensitivity and femininity. She is passionate about Asian esthetics and Chinese literature, and often places her work in historical context. Her music ranges from the delicate depiction of a drop of water for an unconventional instrumentation: guitar, harp, vibraphone, crotales and double bass, to the story of a forgotten warrior in history in a piece for narrator and orchestra, or a piece about an age of darkness where emperors committed acts of evil that to this day, haven't been confronted by any serious criticism. She loves to write stories that form an inseparable component of her creative process.