Composer Highlight: Catherine Lamb / by and Play


It has been such a pleasure and a new experience for us to work on Prisma Interius VIII by Catherine Lamb for our program, ‘Translucent Harmonies’. She has become an internet friend of andPlay’s, and what a joy that is! We cannot wait to share her beautiful work with you on Tuesday, October 23rd at 8pm at Scandinavia House! Get to know her a little bit in this mini-interview!

aP: Tell us a little bit about your piece.

CL: It is the eighth in a series of nine pieces starting from 2016 under the same name, some of them containing modular orchestrations. The original version of VIII was a duo for violin and clarinet, with the addition of 4 highlighting instruments to “harmonically smear” as well as bridge the musical material to the outside; 2 acoustic instruments and 2 synthesizers filtering what is occurring in the surrounding environment. I think it is also interesting to simply listen to the duo as it is, but imagine how our perceptions in a listening environment might affect the duo’s timbre and vibrancy.

anP: How did you become interested in just intonation/non-tempered tuning?

CL: It was a very gradual process. First it was the growing interest in timbral overlays and spectrality, then the study of Hindusthani music in India, then meeting James Tenney who introduced me to Helmholtz.

aP: What is your relationship to string instruments? Has it changed throughout your compositional journey?

CL: I started to play the viola when I was around eight years old, so strings have been very close to my ears for a long time now. The viola taught me ratio tuning. It also helped me to listen inside an orchestra.

aP: What is a dream trip you would like to go on one day?

CL: Outer Space!

aP: Ideal snack food?

CL: Pani Puri

Check out more of Catherine’s work on her website!