Terry Dame | HyphenHub Community

Terry Dame is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, instrument builder, maker and educator. She began playing trumpet and piano at age 8 and continued playing into high school. Upon entering college she put music aside to pursue engineering and environmental studies, graduating with a BS in Environmental Planning from the University of Massachusetts. After graduating however she couldn’t resist her creative impulses, bought a synthesizer and started composing music and designing sound for theater. In 1985 Ms. Dame moved to New York City and got involved with the WOW Cafe Theater. Over the next several years she produced four multi-media concerts and took up the saxophone. She has been performing and composing nationally and internationally ever since.

Instrument building came about in graduate school while studying composition with the late Art Jarvinen at Cal Arts where she also studied with Wadada Leo Smith, Vinny Golia, Rajeev Taranath and Balinese Gamelan master Nyoman Wenten. These influences continue to shape her creative work today.  In 1998 she returned to NYC to form the invented instrument ensemble Electric Junkyard Gamelan composing, designing and building the instruments for the four piece ensemble. The group toured and performed regularly for 12 years at prestigious venues such as MoMa, the Detroit Institute of Art and Kennedy Center. 

Dame’s current work involves creating and performing with interactive sensor-driven musical instruments, sculptures and installations.

Terry Dame is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and unique instrument creator who performs on her original sensor-driven controller instruments: The Horn of Plenty Sounds and The Parisian Hammer. Fabricated from mainly recycled objects, these wonderful interactive sound sculptures utilize light, motion, proximity, and force sensors to trigger custom-made samples. For the event, Dame created for us an interactive improvisation on her unusual instruments involving herself and the environmental elements of our iconic venue.