Commissioning new works for solo cello by today’s most forward-thinking composers that encourage social change and empowerment for women and girls.

The Forward Music Project is driven by social justice for girls and women. Seven composers were commission to write pieces for solo cello based on their personal story or an issue they wanted to bring to light. The stylistically contrasting compositions represent the vast definition of the female experience; ranging from issues of the LGBTQ+ community to reproductive rights to sexual violence and empowerment.  A visceral experience, the composers require the cellist, Amanda Gookin, to embody the spirit of their message physically, mentally, and emotionally. The performance includes singing, chanting, fighting and breathe life into these works.

Photo by  Ryan Scherb

Photo by Ryan Scherb



In the face of division, hashtags, and soundbites, Forward Music Project 2.0: In This Skin commissions five new multimedia works for solo cello and provides space and time for audiences to listen deeply to, interact with, and contemplate the visceral joys and struggles of women.




S. Katy Tucker is a video and projections designer based in NYC. Tucker began her career as a painter and installation artist, exhibiting her work at a variety of galleries, such as the Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C. and Artist's Space in New York City. Her work in theater and opera has been seen around the world, including Broadway; Off-Broadway; the Metropolitan Opera; the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall; the New York City Ballet; the Kennedy Center; BAM, The Park Avenue Armory, among others. She has collaborated with musicians including: Paul McCartney, Paola Prestini, Jeff Ziegler, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Recent productions include Dmitri Tcherniakov’s Prince Igor at the Dutch National Opera and Metropolitan Opera, The Ring Cycle with Francesca Zambello at San Francisco Opera, Iron & Coal with Kevin Newbury, If You Listen with R.B. Schlater, and Sets and Video for Orphee at Banff Center with Joel Ivany and West Side Story at the Kennedy Center with Francesca Zambello. Upcoming: Silent Voices with Kevin Newbury, The Park Avenue Armory Gala with Stefan Beckman, Set and Video design for Parsifal at IU Opera Theater and Florencia en el Amazonas at Houston Grand Opera.

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"swerve" for cello and loop pedal by jessica meyer

World Premiere
SPRINg revolution festival

national sawdust, brooklyn, ny
March 1, 2017


"memories lie dormant: they are reviled before they are revealed" by morgan krauss

World Premiere
SPRINg revolution festival

national sawdust, brooklyn, ny
March 1, 2017


"Dam Mwen Yo" by Nathalie Joachim


Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington, D.C.
March 6, 2017


"Is there a place for activism in the classical music world?"

Learn Amanda’s story (which includes many digressions from, and returns to, the classical music world), and learn why she decided to aim all of her disparate passions at one target. 



Photo by  Ryan Scherb

Photo by Ryan Scherb

+ To continue to raise awareness of women's issues.

+ To contribute to the evolving future of new music.

+ To gain support for organizations focusing on women's rights.

+ To support the work of living composers of all backgrounds.

+ To discover better ways to connect a community through art.

+ To empower young women and provide them a platform of strength and courage to speak up and speak out.

+ To open a dialogue and encourage change in the arts community in New York and throughout the country.-

In March 2016, I was the Artist-In-Residence at Mount Tremper Arts in the Catskills to begin my work on the FMP commissions. Towards the end of my residency I gave a work-in-progress community performance. The commissions were premiered at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY on March 1, 2017. Next season Forward Music Project will be presented by The Girl Project in Lexington, KY; The Wallis in Los Angeles; and OK Electric Festival in Tulsa, OK.

These commissions serve as a catalyst for educational activities that explore gender, self-discovery, and musical expression through group discussion and creative activities.





I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.
— Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist
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