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ASU grad student wins musical composition prize

2015 Robert X. La Pat Carillon Composition Contest
April 17, 2015

Chris Lamb, a doctoral student in music at Arizona State University, has won the Robert X. La Pat Carillon Composition Contest, sponsored by the ASU Carillon Society.

He received a $250 cash prize donated by Kenneth and Laurie Polasko of Scottsdale.

Lamb’s winning composition is titled “Miracle: 1980.” Lamb said he composed the work "in honor of the 35th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, in which the United States Olympic Team, comprised mostly of amateur players, took on and beat the number one Soviets at Lake Placid and went on to win gold at the 1980 Olympics."

The five-minute work “aims to capture the glory and beauty of those moments as the clock wound down and the crowd began to realize that the U.S. was going to, impossibly, win the game,” Lamb said.

“I use a persistent bell as a backdrop, as if counting, while cascades of notes in high registers create competing melodies that float out of the texture, so for each listener, each time they might hear something different.”

The ASU Carillon Society supports the 258-bell Symphonic Carillon, which was a gift to the university from student government in 1966. It was used a few years, then put into storage. It was re-discovered in 2002.

The carillon, housed in Old Main, is a memorial to “those in the ASU community who gave their lives for their country.”

Robert X. La Pat is a Scottsdale composer. He received his master of music degree in composition from Boston University, where he studied with Theodore Antoniou, David Del Tredici and Martin Amlin, and his bachelor of music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music.

This is the second year the ASU Carillon Society has sponsored the Composition Contest. It was renamed this year in honor of La Pat.

For more information about the Symphonic Carillon, send an e-mail to