Constance Demby, pioneering composer and musician, died peacefully on March 20 at the age of 81. Her 1986 album Novus Magnificat: Through the Stargate, is regularly listed among the most influential New Age and ambient albums of all time.
Blending classical, New Age and electronic music, Demby’s compositions have influenced many generations of composers. She performed at events with the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, and Todd Rundgren, often in dramatic settings, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and Stonehenge.
Demby performed on instruments of her own creation. Stemming from her early training as a sculptor, Demby’s most prominent innovation was the Sonic Steel Space Bass, made of sheet metal with tuned steel rods, played with mallets and a bow. The Space Bass emits a wide variety of sounds that resemble wind chimes, thunder, whale cries, and human voices.
Constance Demby was also proficient on the hammered dulcimer, tamboura, and keyboards. Her travels to India, Spain, and Portugal, experiences with sound healing, and a love of Gregorian chants influenced her unique musical style.
Stephen Hill, founder of Hearts of Space, said, “Constance Demby was gifted with an intuitive musical sense of sound and melody that moved people deeply. Beginning in experimental improvisation and contemplative acoustic music, she incorporated classical orchestration, symphonic composition, and the expanded sonic dimensions of electronic space into her music. Her 1986 "cosmic choral symphony" Novus Magnificat elevated the standards of scope and production in the early New Age genre and has become a timeless classic.
She recorded over a dozen albums, including the landmark Constance Demby at Alaron, Sacred Space Music, Set Free, Light of This World, Skies Above Skies, Aeterna, Faces of the Christ, Attunement, Spirit Trance, Sonic Immersion, Ambrosial Waves, Live in Tokyo (also on DVD) and Sanctum Sanctorum.
Constance is survived by her son Joshua Demby, grandson Jonah Demby, and nephews Bill, Dave and Christopher Eggers.