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Nature, Personal Experiences, and Commissions: The Inspirations Behind Angel Lam's Music

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Composer Angel Lam
Evan Sammons Photography
Composer Angel Lam

In this interview, composer Angel Lam shares her journey of discovering her musical abilities as a child in dance school in London. She recalls the moment when she was tasked with choreographing for an exam and realized her deep connection to melody. Angel further explains how she often hears music inspired by nature, her personal experiences, and when working on commissions.

One interesting aspect of Angel's creative process is her habit of keeping notes and journals of music she hears, which she later references for inspiration. She prefers to write notes by hand, finding a special connection to physically writing them down.

Angel's music is described as deeply felt, theatrical, and lyrical. Mindy is particularly struck by the emotion conveyed in one of Angel's festival pieces, which explores the idea of the heart being deeper than the ocean.

The highlight of this episode is the discussion of Angel's upcoming piece, "Secrets and Ice Garden." Inspired by her experiences in Japan and China, where she encountered magnificent ice sculptures, Angel shares how these massive works of art, created by young artists who risk damaging their hands due to the cold, have become the inspiration for her latest composition. The piece combines strings, piano, and even the chime of Westminster Abbey bells to create a magical and mesmerizing sound.

Angel also reveals that she was recently commissioned to create another piece for the QCSO. Having just completed it before her travels, she mentions the potential for rearranging compositions for different instruments and hints at the possibility of further movements.

Hear Secrets and Ice Garden on Local Listen February 9th and 11th @ 7:00 PM on 98.3 FM (90.3 FM)

Mindy started at WVIK on the evening shift, one night a week, while still a student at Augustana College. Not long after, the station began overnight service and she took on the graveyard shift for a full six nights. In 1985, she moved to days and began her long tenure as host of Perspective, WVIK's afternoon classical music program. Under her direction, the program has developed into a show focused on exploring new music from living composers, not just from orchestra halls but including Broadway and film music.
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  • Local Listen is a 2-hour weekly program that highlights the outstanding performances of Quad City area performing ensembles including the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Muscatine Symphony Orchestra, Nova Singers, and Quad City Wind Ensemble.February 2024:2/9 and 2/11: QCSO UpClose with Living Lands and Waters2/16 and 2/18: QCSO Masterworks IV2/23 and 2/25: Muscatine Symphony Orchestra Masterworks III
  • On weekday and Sunday afternoons Mindy Heusel offers her highly enjoyable musical Perspective. Mindy likes to broaden her repertoire selections to include music by late 20th-century and 21st-century composers, music from movie soundtracks, and world and folk music. Mindy enjoys creatively integrating music by cross-over artists into WVIK's mostly classical format. Her provocative approach to music programming provides compelling evidence that classical music remains relevant and dynamic and that it continues to resonate with today's audiences.