Catherine Lamb, Rebecca Lane & Olivia Block

The Graham Foundation

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Catherine Lamb is a violist and composer who blends West Coast experimentalism with the structures and intonations of ancient Hindustani Dhrupad. Her music reveals a slow-changing spectrum of microtonal colors and temporal effects.

Tonight she and collaborator Rebecca Lane (quarter-tone bass flute) perform Prisma Interius IV with special guest Olivia Block. The piece is one of a nine-part series constructed around the “secondary rainbow synthesizer,” an instrument Lamb developed with Bryan Eubanks that filters live sound picked up by microphones outside.

“The intent is to extend the harmonic space and shapes occurring in the music—defined by the acoustic instrumentalists in the room—to discover the edges of our listening perceptions, by pulling an infinite thread to it,” Lamb writes.

Cat’s Chicago debut; Rebecca’s first U.S. performance.

Catherine Lamb (b.1982, Olympia, Wash.) is a composer and performer interested in how precise frequencies of pitch interact harmonically and sonically. She has been studying and composing music since a young age. In 2003 she turned away from the conservatory in an attempt to understand Hindustani classical music, later finding Mani Kaul in 2006. She also studied experimental composition at the California Institute of the Arts under James Tenney and Michael Pisaro, who were both integral influences. It was during this time that she began diving deeply into her own practice of what she later termed “the interaction of tone.”

Lamb is the co-founder of Singing by Numbers (2009-11), an experimental vocal ensemble formed with Laura Steenberge. She has written for ensembles such as Ensemble Dedalus, Konzert Minimal, the London Contemporary Orchestra, NeoN, Plus/Minus, and Yarn/Wire. Lamb is involved in ongoing research with Marc Sabat on intonation; with Johnny Chang on Viola Torros; develops work regularly with musicians such as Rebecca Lane, Dafne Vincente-Sandoval, and Frank Reinecke; as well as taking part in Triangulum with Julia Holter and Laura Steenberge.

She is the recipient of an Emerging Composers Award from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode and William and Flora Hewlett Foundations for Dilations (2008-09); a travel grant from the Henry Cowell Foundation, allowing her to pursue work with Éliane Radigue (2012); a fellowship from Akademie Schloss Solitude (2016); was a Staubach Fellow at the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt (2016); and received the Grants to Artists award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2018). Her writings and recordings have been published by Another Timbre, Black Pollen Press, Kunst Musik, NEOS, Open Space Magazine, Q-O2, Sacred Realism, Sound American and Winds Measure. She graduated from CalArts in 2006 and received her M.F.A. from Bard College in 2012. Lamb lives in Berlin, Germany.

Rebecca Lane (b.1980, Melbourne, Australia) is a Berlin-based musician who investigates sounds on the edge of perception, focusing on the experiential qualities of sound, but also on phenomena that only emerge through particular ways of working together. Her practice is informed by ongoing collaborations with like-minded artists, including Catherine Lamb, Marc Sabat and Clara de Asís, among others, and within small ensembles, using various flutes (flute, quarter-tone bass flute, recorders) and voice.

Presented in partnership with the Graham Foundation

Artist Talk: Ahead of her concert, Catherine Lamb presents a new performative lecture. In The Form of the Spiral, she draws something other than a straight line from artists like James Tenney and Maryanne Amacher to things she has learned from Dhrupad, an ancient style of Hindustani classical music, making connections with her own recent work. Lampo Annex, Monadnock Building, 53 W. Jackson Blvd. #1656. Friday, December 13, 6 p.m. 

Supported by the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund