(Above) Photo by E. Carlson
Dr. Angel Lam is a music composer and writer who uses the beauty of soundscape, instrumentation and language to express refined emotions and her passion for life. Her compositions reflect not only her own life, but are also evidence of humanity where time and space interfere with each other in an uncertain, timeless manner.
Taken at the Aaron Copland House
in Cortlandt Manor, New York
Contact: composer (at) angellam.com
, a featured interview with Best Buy, Inc.
Her compositions are praised as "An otherworldly, dreamily poetic short story...rich, singing tone and sense of drama...fanciful music" (New York Times), "An unusually affecting piece, filled with luxuriant chords, tender string songs and sensuous glissandos" (TwinCities Pioneer Press), "Mesmerized...dazzlingly gifted" (Financial Times headline news), "A born storyteller" (Financial Times), and "Precious, soaring lyrical lines." (Metropolitan Opera, Opera News)
She has received three Carnegie Hall commissions, including a cello concerto performed by solo cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and commissioned by Carnegie Hall in the Festival "Ancient Paths, Modern Voices". Another composition of hers was featured in the Silk Road Ensemble album "Off the Map" and nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Crossover Album.
She was voted "Artist of the Month" by Musical America and "Yalie of the Week" by Yale University Yale Alumni Magazine. She was interviewed and featured on Best Buy Inc.'s "Creative Minds", the interview filmed the Minnesota Orchestra performance of her orchestral work In Search of Seasons, conducted by Osmo Vanska.
Her music commissions include performances by multiple GRAMMY-nominated Yale Cellos directed by Aldo Parisot, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Arts Festival, New York Greenwich Village Orchestra, NYU Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Northwest Symphony, Oak Park and River Forest Symphony Orchestra, University of California Irvine Symphony Orchestra, Orange County Women's Chorus, Los Angeles Loyola High Men's Chorus, Aspen Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Yale Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, among others. Her awards include five ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, Aaron Copland Award, Macdowell Colony Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow Award, two NACUSA Young Composer Award and Audience Prize at the Seoul International Competition for Composers.
She first received a Carnegie Hall commission writing a composition for Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Project, then again working with GRAMMY Awards-winning composer Osvaldo Golijov and renowned vocalist Dawn Upshaw. One of her composition, Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain, is on the worldwide 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 in 2007, and recorded again in the CD Off the Map in 2009. Off the Map was nominated for a 2011 GRAMMY for Best Classical Crossover Album.
In 2012, as composer, librettist and artistic director, she premiered her evening-length musical, June Lovers, commissioned by the internationally renowned Hong Kong Arts Festival. In 2014, she received the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Literary Award to develop and publish her full-length literary work. Currently she has several scripts and theatre projects in development. Her new play with music, Lost in Shanghai, is under development with New York Off-Broadway company Pan Asian Repertory Theatre. Staged and public presentations have been performed in New York at Here Arts Centre, The Tank, The China Institute of New York, The Museum of Chinese American (MOCA), and at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre. She was recently commissioned to compose the multimedia dance work Dear Mother for the Centennial Celebration of the U.S. historic dance institution Peabody Dance, and the theatre dance Of Days and Nights for the 30th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
When not doing creative work, she is a staff writer critic for the New York theater review organization Theasy.com. She also teaches a private studio of music composition, theory and piano performance students in Manhattan. She is honored to be a member of the Distinguished Artist Council of the Johns Hopkins University, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund Awardees Association, and the Yale Alumni Association of New York City.
Lam received her Doctorate degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and is the recipient of a Henry and Lucy Moses full scholarship Artist Diploma from Yale University. She received her Bachelor's degree with Honours from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and as a child she attended the well-known Pui Ching School 香港培正學校.
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 a recent 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.
Other Collaborations: (show)
Her other collaborations include performance by Greenwich Village Orchestra (New York), NYU Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Symphony (Chicago), Hong Kong Sinfonietta and Grainger Quartet (Australia), University of California Irvine Symphony Orchestra, Orange County Women's Chorus (Los Angeles), Loyola High Men's Chorus and Orchestra (Los Angeles), Northwest Symphony and Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest (Chicago), Peabody Dance (Baltimore), and a theater composition created under the mentorship of renowned theater artist Martha Clarke, among others.
She is the recipient of the prestigious Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund Scholarship,
Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Scholarship for
Overseas Studies, Aaron Copland House Award 2012, MacDowell Colony Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow Award 2011-2012, Pacific Music Festival Fellowship, Aspen Music Festival Fellowship and Scholarship Award, among others.
- The Macdowell Colony Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow Award for 2011-2012
- Aaron Copland Award, August-September 2012 Residency
- Macdowell Colony Fellowship, Summer 2011 Residency
- Yaddo Fellowship, Fall-Winter 2010 Residency
- Commission from Carnegie Hall in a professional workshop with Osvaldo Golijov and Dawn Upshaw, culminating to a Carnegie Hall premiere in April 2007
- Commission from Carnegie Hall and Yo-Yo Ma Silk Road Project, culminating to a Carnegie Hall premiere at the "Tradition and Innovation: Silk Road Ensemble Young Artists Concerts" in September 2006
- First Prize Prix d' Ete, Peabody Conservatory of Music, March 2003
- First Prize Millennium Music Competition for Woodwind Quintet Composition, awarded by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong
--The winning work performed at the 29th Annual International Double Reed Society Conference (Buenos Aires, Argentina), August 2000
- Two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2007 and 2008) and three consecutive year Morton Gould Young Composer Award Honorable Mention (2003, 2004 and 2005)
- Schumann Fellow, Aspen Music Festival Composition Masterclass studies with Christopher Rouse and Poul Ruders, 2003
- Scholarship Award, Aspen Music Festival Composition Individual studies with George Tsontakis, 2002
- Composition Fellow, Pacific Music Festival (Japan), private studies with Detlev Glanert, 2005
- Two time winner of NACUSA (National Association of Composers U.S.A.)Young Composer Competition Second Prize, 2004 and 2005
- Audience Prize for Best Composition, Seoul International Competition for Composers (Seoul, Korea) young composer category, March 2005
- Two time ASCAP/SCI Young Composer Commissioning Award regional winner and national finalist, 2004, 2005
- Southeastern Composer's League, Philip Slates Memorial Composition Contest Second Prize, March 2005
- Randolph S. Rothschild Composition Award at Peabody Conservatory, April 2003
Notable Performances: (show)
- Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble tours with Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain in their 2007 U.S. Spring tour,
Switzerland, China, Japan (2007-2008), North America, Europe (2009), East Asia (2010), 15th Anniversary New York Carnegie Hall and West Coast/ Canada tour (2013)
- Theater composition Midnight Run mentored by renowned theater artist Martha Clarke, choreographed by Peabody Dance director Carol Bartlett, premieres at Peabody Dance New Works Showcase, 2007
- Public Reading by Colorado Symphony Orchestra of In Search of Seasons, for orchestra with narration, conducted by Delta David Gier, July 15-16, 2009
- U. S. Premiere of Ambush from Ten Directions for orchestra with narration, Symphony
of Oak Park and River Forest, Chicago, conducted by Kim Diehnelt, May 21, 2006
- Premiere of Ambush from Ten Directions for orchestra with narration, Hong Kong
Sinfonietta, conducted by Yip Wing-Sie, March 18, 2005
Performance was broadcasted on major local television channel and on radio in Hong Kong (TVB Pearl and RTHK radio 4)
- Pacific Music Festival "Pacific Soundings Concert", premiere of Red Peony Sky in Mid June (complete version) at Kitara concert hall, Sapporo, Japan, July 2005
- Premiere of Therefore We do not Lose Heart for women's choir at the festival opening
concert of Songfest 2004, Pepperdine University, Malibu, USA, June 2004
- Ballet Premiere of Red Peony Sky in Mid-June, choreographed by
artistic director Carol A. Bartlett of Peabody Dance Preparatory School, at the Peabody Spring Dance Showcase 2004
- Aspen Music Festival, premiere of Red Peony Sky in Mid-June by Proteus Contemporary
Ensemble, June 2003
- Asian Music Festival, Tokyo, Japan. Japan premiere of chamber work Imagery of Water, September 2003
- Ballet premiere of Love Memo and Love in Cynical City for the multimedia dance production "Love in Cynical City". Program sponsored by HKLCD and CASH, November 1998
- Multimedia sound installation presentation at the Intermedia Festival of the Maryland Institute
College of Arts, May 2002
- My first orchestra composition, The Suite for Orchestra (1998), was selected and performed in the "Contemporary Music Workshop"
of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, conducted by Tsung Yeh, August 2000
- My compositions were performed and broadcasted on the "Hong Kong New Generation Young Composer's Concert" in 1998 and 2000, a program sponsored by Radio Television Hong Kong
Her mentors were Christopher Theofanidis, Aaron Jay Kernis, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman, Robert Sirota, Law Wing Fai, Clarence Mak and Lo Hau Man.
She also attended masterclasses and lessons by George Crumb, Poul Ruders, Christopher Rouse, George Tsontakis, Detlev Glanert, Ingram Marshall, James Primosch, Joel Hoffman, John Harbison, Brian Ferneyhough, Marc-Dalbavie
Scholarships and Grants: (show)
- Yale University School of Music Henry and Lucy Moses Full Scholarship (2007-2009)
- Peabody Institute Composition Graduate Assistantship full tuition award (2004-2006)
- Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund Full scholarship, 2001-2003
- Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Composition Scholarship for Overseas Studies, 2003-2004
- Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Composition Scholarship Award, 2000
- Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation, recipient of three grant awards in 2005
- Merle Montgomery Doctoral Grant
- Ellen Jane Lorenz Porter Grant for Graduate Work in Composition
- Lillian Harlan Ramage Grant for Graduate Study in Composition
- Peabody Merit Scholarship, 2001-2004
- Senatorial Scholarship from the State of Maryland, 4 years, 2004-2008
- American Music Center Grants, 2005-present