Composer Pamela J. Marshall (b.1954) writes chamber, orchestral, choral, and electronic music. Nature and environmental themes run through Marshall’s music. There are influences of Bartok, Messiaen, jazz, and American songs from the 1800s. Clever twists, humor, beautiful melody, and wild noise sometimes occur. She loves obscure American folk music, bird songs, and any kitchen object that makes an interesting noise.
Much of Marshall’s music is rhythmically complex, with the goal of a fluid but irregular rhythm. Her music has a rich harmonic palette, euphonious with 3rds and 6ths, or spiked with dissonance. Climactic passages occasionally veer toward modal harmonies.
Her larger works include The Future of Life for chorus, trombone, and piano, premiered by the Master Singers of Lexington MA. The International Horn Society Workshop in Memphis commissioned Walden at Evening in 2013 for horn, percussion and chorus, with soloist Jonathan Boen. The South Beach Chamber Ensemble has championed Marshall’s music in Florida and at their Wisconsin summer festival, performing her string quartet Truth Becoming and commissioning the 30-minute Quinteto sobre los Poemas de Carlos Pintado for piano and strings.
Marshall is also fond of miniatures and solo pieces: she has created several one-minute pieces for Composer’s Voice in New York and has written a series of poetry-inspired solos for various instruments.
Marshall has degrees in composition from the Eastman and Yale Schools of Music, where her teachers included Jacob Druckman, Betsy Jolas, and Samuel Adler. She plays French horn, leads improvisation workshops, records nature soundscapes, and designs websites. She is on the the Board of the International Alliance for Women in Music (www.iawm.org) and does graphic design for her local orchestra.