Cellist Amanda Gookin, praised for her "deep, rich tone and a lovely rubato" (SoundWordSite) and "exceptionally evocative form" (The Glass) is a chamber musician, soloist, educator, and improviser. She is the co-founder of the string quartet, PUBLIQuartet, named the New Music/New Places Ensemble and winners of the Sylvia Ann Hewlett Adventurous Artist Prize at the 2013 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. Amanda's career has expanded into diverse realms ranging from a sold-out debut at Carnegie Hall and directing a successful emerging composers program to developing a new initiative for social change through music and the premiere of her original film score for the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center.
Amanda is the cellist in NYC-based string quartet, PUBLIQuartet. Winners of the 2015 CMA/ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award, PQ’s broad repertoire offers innovative programs spanning music from classical arrangements to contemporary works, original compositions, and open-form improvisations that expand the role of the traditional string quartet. PQ has performed in such diverse range of venues as Carnegie Hall, SubCulture, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Lincoln Center. They have been presented by the Chautauqua Institute, Newport Jazz Festival, American Composers Orchestra (ACO), Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, American Modern Ensemble, Queens College, Music of Now Marathon, Symphony Space, and Fordham University in Lincoln Center.
Amanda has also performed at the Lincoln Center White Lights Festival with the Wordless Music Orchestra, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Fredrikstad Cafe de Concert Festival in Norway, and held a fellowship with the Contemporary Ensemble at the 2014 Atlantic Music Festival. Amanda appeared as a soloist with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra as the Grand Prize winner of their Youth Concerto Competition and was awarded "Most Musical Performance" of the Podiums XI Chamber Music Competition in Barcelona, Spain.
Sought after by various publications and institutions for her insight on musicianship and the future of Classical music, Amanda was recently invited as a guest speaker at her Alma Mater, The Mannes School of Music, on career development and the art of engagement. She has been interviewed about her experience as a member of PUBLIQuartet in Symphony Magazine and The Chautauquan Daily.
Amanda is the Artistic Director of PUBLIQuartet's emerging composers program, PUBLIQ Access. PQA is a genre-independent program designed to promote under-represented music in the string quartet repertoire regardless of style, including jazz, improvised, and electronic music. PQ brings exposure of this music to the widest possible reach through performances of the highest quality and audience engagement through talks, collaborations, and free concerts. In just two cycles, PQA has received over 250 submissions from composers across the United States and hosted panel discussions with such esteemed musicians as Tania León, Nadia Sirota, Mark Steinberg, David Bowlin, Laura Kaminsky and Marcos Balter.
Her latest project, the Forward Music Project, commissioned six new works for solo cello by today’s most forward-thinking composers that encourage social change and empowerment for women and girls. The composers commissioned are from diverse backgrounds and were commissioned to write a piece based on their personal story or an issue they wish to highlight. The themes of these pieces range from empowerment and issues of the LGBTQ+ community, to reproductive rights, and violence against women. These commissions serve as a catalyst for educational workshops for young women to encourage them to speak up and speak out through the original creation of poetry, music, theater, and dance inspired by talk circles surrounding issues young women in the U.S. and around the world are facing today. These works will be premiered in the Fall 2016 in New York City.
Since 2009, Amanda has been composing music for theater and film. She has performed her original music for cello and live electronics for productions of Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, and Romeo and Juliet by cutting edge theater companies in New York City. She wrote the score for Dryspell Productions’, "THRU|LINES", an art film based on the daily lives of New Yorkers. In 2012 and 2013, Amanda's music was featured in the behind-the-scenes documentary about the creative process of costume design for the New York City Ballet's Fall Gala in Lincoln Center. Her music has also been heard on short films for the American Cancer Society and HSBC Bank.
Crossing genres, Amanda collaborates with musicians of all different styles. She is the cellist in the Blake Whyte Band and co-writes the original string arrangements with violinist, Curtis Stewart. Their debut album, "More Like Myself", was released in April 2013. She is the cellist in Marike van Dijk's jazz band and recorded their 2015 debut album "The Stereography Project" on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records. Amanda has additionally recorded on Universal Motown Records, New Amsterdam Records, CAG Records, Sunnyside Records and has collaborated with Sigur Rós, Miike Snow, Olivia Newton John, Billy Childs, William Britelle, Atomic Tom, Jonathan Read Gealt, Ryan Scott Oliver, Bob Stewart, Satoshi Takeishi, and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
An advocate for providing music education in public schools, Amanda is a teaching artist at the Manhattan Academy of Arts and Language and in partnership with PUBLIQuartet and the American Composers Orchestra, teaches strings and improvisation at the Achievement First Charter School in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Through the Forward Music Project, she runs educational workshops involving musical performance in combination with talk circles relating to issues that young women face today.
Amanda received her Bachelor of Music from the Mannes College of Music and upon graduation, spent two years as a performing cellist in Barcelona, Spain. She will receive her Master’s of Music degree from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music in May 2016. Among her most influential teachers are Julia Lichten, Marcy Rosen, Mary Lou Rylands, Lois Errante, and Hans Jørgen Jensen. Amanda is the proud player of a cello made by David Wiebe.
SHORT BIO (200 words)
Amanda Gookin is a chamber musician, soloist, activist, and educator living in New York City. She is the co-founder of innovative PUBLIQuartet, quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Concert Artists Guild's 2013 New Music/New Places Ensemble. Amanda gives master classes on improvisation and chamber music throughout the U.S. and is a Teaching Artist in New York City public schools. She is the Professor of Topics in Career Development at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College and has been sought after as a speaker on entrepreneurship by the Mannes School of Music.
“Consistently self-possessed, and alternately delicate and fierce in her musical approach"
- San Francisco Classical Voice
Amanda is the Artistic Director of PUBLIQuartet's composers program, PUBLIQ Access, commissioning new works by emerging composers significantly impacting a new approach to writing for string quartet. Her latest initiative, the Forward Music Project, commissioned seven new works for solo cello and electronic by today’s most forward-thinking composers that encourage social change and empowerment for women and girls. The Forward Music Project was premiered in March 2017 on the first day of Women's History Month s part o the "Spring Revolution" festival at National Sawdust.