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Alexis C. Lamb

New Haven, CT   

Alexis C. Lamb (b. 1993) is a composer, percussionist, and educator who is interested in fostering communities of mindful and genuine music-making. She is the Education and Publications Director for Arcomusical, a non-profit organization that advocates for the artistic advancement of the Afro-Brazilian berimbau and related musical bows (www.arcomusical.com). Lamb was a recipient of the 2018 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award for Meia, her solo-through-sextet song cycle for berimbau. Lamb’s music for berimbau has been regarded as having “sparkling optimism throughout,” and as “a pleasure in its own right” (I Care If You Listen). Her compositions for berimbau can be found on Innova Recordings and National Sawdust Tracks.

Lamb has received multiple commissions and has collaborated with various individuals and ensembles, including Evan Chapman, Percussia, Zeitgeist, Yale Philharmonia, the Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra, and the Northern Illinois University World Steelband. Her music has been performed in North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. Current compositional projects include a new work celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Oral History of American Music at Yale, a commission for solo double seconds steel pans, and a commission for a high school percussion ensemble.

As a percussionist, Lamb is a core member of Projeto Arcomusical, the berimbau ensemble associated with Arcomusical. Her performance with the berimbau has been hailed as “riveting visually as well as sonically” (Centerline).

As an educator, Lamb taught private composition lessons for undergraduate students in fall 2019 as a Teaching Fellow for the Department of Music at Yale University. Prior to returning to graduate school, she was the 6-12th grade band director for Meridian CUSD 223 in Stillman Valley, Illinois, for two years. Lamb received the “Recognition of Service” award at the Meridian 223 School Board Meeting in August 2017 and “Teacher of the Week” from Channel 13-WREX News in Rockford, IL in December 2017. She was also the interim percussion instructor for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra in spring 2016 and created a week-long percussion camp at NIU for 4-12th grade students of varying abilities that has now grown into a faculty-led camp through the NIU Percussion and Steel Pan Studios.

Lamb is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Composition at the Yale School of Music. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with two Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Percussion Performance from Northern Illinois University. Her major teachers include Hannah Lash, Martin Bresnick, Gregory Beyer, Michael Mixtacki, Robert Chappell, David Maki, Brian Penkrot, and Lauren Ryals. When not working on music, she can be found playing board games at an overly competitive level, teaching her two cats new tricks, or making walrus tusks out of food/utensils. Her superpower is driving long distances without getting tired.

Post-Lightened (2018) – Drum Set and Electronics

Across from Northern Illinois University’s music building, a lagoon is surrounded by serene lamp posts. These lights are brilliant and pure in color, like glowing white orbs reflecting on the surface of the water; the orbs appear as if dancing among the water and the wind. After a long day of practicing, I would often find myself walking around the lagoon admiring the simplicity of the lights reflecting on the water. Not only was this sight truly striking, but it also gave me time for my own reflection at the end of chaotic days.

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Ondulação (or “ripple/undulation”) is an exploration of juxtaposing complex rhythmic schemes with simpler, pop-like chord progressions. One’s ears could potentially interpret the music in three different time signatures or rhythmic subdivisions in the first half, depending on the timbre being focused on. The second half of the work returns to a single interpretation of rhythm but with constantly shifting time signatures to create a sense of undulating motion. This is all nestled in familiar harmonies and rock-style backbeat patterns.

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Murmuration is based on and in reference to starlings. Starlings are a species of
small bird that are known for creating geometrically-complex and stunning clouds
when they fly in flocks. There are elements of constant motion and flow with melodic lines soaring
through the texture. All of the voices weave in and out of each other and are juxtaposed
on various instruments to emulate the constantly shifting clouds of starlings. Murmuration was written for Percussia, a Queens-based ensemble.

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NewMusicBox Articles

Articles October 1 2020 | By Alexis C. Lamb
“Calls for Scores” – The Teenage Years of a Composing Career

What is the role of submitting to calls for scores and competitions in the grand scheme of building a career? Are there wholesome and compassionate ways that calls for scores...