Terry Dame is a composer,
multi-instrumentalist and instrument builder. Daughter of a piano
teacher from a small western Massachusetts town she began playing
trumpet and piano at age 8 and continued playing into high school.
Upon entering college she put music aside and studied engineering,
graduating with a degree in Environmental Design from the University
of Massachusetts. After working a desk job at an environmental planning
agency for about a year she couldn’t resist her creative impulses,
bought a synthesizer and started composing and performing music with
a local theater company. Dame moved to New York City in 1985 to
study audio engineering at the Institute for Audio Research in Greenwich
Village. On the first day of classes she drove to school, which turned
out to be about 6 blocks from her apartment, couldn’t find parking
spot and went home never to return, deciding once and for all a career
in engineering wasn’t meant to be. She has been living in New
York City composing and performing for film, video, theater, dance,
and concerts ever since. She joined the Women’s One World (WOW)
theater collective and produced four multi-media concert performances
from 1986 -1990. In 1994 she scored her first feature film collaborating
with director Maria Maggenti on “The Incredibly True Adventure
of Two Girls in Love”. Additional collaboratiors include
film makers Judith Helfand, Jennie Livingston, Diane Bonder and Erin
Greenwell, performing artists Lisa Kron and Jennifer Miller and The
Split Britches Theater Company and choreographer Jennifer Monson.
In 1995 Dame enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts where she studied composition with Wadada Leo Smith, saxophone with Vinnie Golia, Balinese Gamelan with Nyoman Wenten, Persian music with Hossein Alizadeh, and Hindustani music with Rajeev Tarananth. She received an MFA in composition and performance in 1997.
Currently Dame directs and composes for as well as designs and builds the instruments used by the percussion-based ensemble Electric Junkyard Gamelan and its solo offshoot project ElectronGong. She is the music director, composer and saxophonist with her seven-piece worldbeat jazz group Monkey on a Rail and a founding member of the improvisation trio Trophy Wife. She was selected to be a composer in residence at the prestigious Sundance Composer Lab in 2006 and was composer in residence and saxophonist with Jennifer Miller's New York based Circus Amok from 1994-2004. A member of Gamelan Dharma Swara, the traditional Balinese Gamelan based at the Indonesian Consulate in New York City from 2002-2007 she has traveled to Indonesia twice to study and perform at the prestigious Bali Arts Festival, Yogykarta Gamelan Festival and STSI, the national performing arts school in Solo, Java. Dame is currently a saxophonist with Paprika, Brooklyn’s own acclaimed all-female international dance music band, Dawn Drake’s "afrozillian" funk band Zapote, Kenny Wollesen's Himalayas and Jessica Lurie's Plate Tiptonics. She was an artist in residence at HERE Art Center in New York City during 2003 & 2004 and has received grants and commissioning funds from Fractured Atlas, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, The Rockefeller Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, Meet the Composer and Franklin Furnace Archive.
Notable film scores include Erin Greenwell’s feature comedy "My Best Day" which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Festival, Maria Maggenti’s "Puccini for Beginners", which premiered in competition at the 2006 Sundance Festival and was released theatrically in 2007. Her score for Diane Bonder’s experimental short "Closer to Heaven" (screened at MOMA and festivals internationally) was awarded best sound design at the Ann Arbor Film.Festival.