Biographical Information

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 and Environmental Planning. After working 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. Ms. Dame moved to New York City in 1985 where she has been composing and performing music and sound for film, video, theater, dance, and concerts ever since. She has collaborated with film makers Maria Magenti, Judith Helfand, Jennie Livingston, Diane Bonder and Erin Greenwell, performing artists Lisa Kron, Jennifer Miller, Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver and choreographer Jennifer Monson.

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 the seven-piece worldbeat jazz group Monkey on a Rail and a founding member of the improvisation trio Trophy Wife. Dame is currently performs as a side person with Kenny Wollesen's Himalayas and Wollesonic Laboratory, Jessica Lurie's Plate Tiptonics and Paprika, Brooklyn’s own acclaimed all-female international dance music band. She is currently an artist in residence at HarvestWorks Digital Media Lab in NYC.

Recent film score credits include the feature documentary "Hoonah's Hero's" about native Alaskan Indian Viet Nam veterans to be released early summer 2014. She is currently in production scoring the feature documentary "Not Without Us" about the history of women and the AIDS crisis. Other 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.

Ms. Dame was a composer in residence at the prestigious Sundance Institute 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. 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.

In 1997 Dame received an MFA in Composition and Performance from the California Institute of the Arts. She also holds a B.S. in Environmental Design from the University of Massachusetts. Ms. Dame is currently a faculty member of the Film and Animation Department at the School of Visual Arts and the Institute of Audio Research in NYC. She also travels nationally teaching worshops on musical instrument building and interactive technology to young people and adults.