Amanda Schoofs                                             Composer | Experimental Vocalist
Biography (short)
Composer/Vocalist Amanda Schoofs creates visceral works that emphasize timbre, presence, and ritual while exposing the raw, brilliant, and intimate qualities of the human spirit. Trained in contemporary composition and theory, her creative practice extends from the experimental tradition and exists in the space between diverse artistic practices. At the nexus of composition, improvisation, painting, printmaking, poetry, performance art, and authentic movement, Amanda creates provocative works that are uniquely interdisciplinary. Audiences and critics throughout the United States, Germany and Canada have described her work as “entirely original, breathtaking in its delivery”, "ethereal", and “a transporting, enigmatic reverie”.

Amanda is on the composition faculty at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts, where she directs Contemporary Music Ensemble and teaches Experimental Improvisation. She curates the series Sensoria: Experiments in Time-Based Media and Performance for INOVA - Institute of Visual Arts, and teaches composition with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with Present Music. Amanda holds a MA in Music Composition from Mills College, where she won the Elizabeth Crothers Mills Award, and studied composition and improvisation with Joëlle Léandre, Pauline Oliveros, Zeena Parkins, Roscoe Mitchell, and Fred Frith. An invested academic, she was recently a Transdisciplinary Fellow at Center for 21st Century Studies, researching the cross-disciplinary intersections of language. During August of 2014 she was an invited guest composer and vocalist with Kulturamt BodenseeKreis' international artist residency Salem2Salem, at Castle Salem, in Bodensee, Germany.


Biography (Complete)

Composer/Vocalist Amanda Schoofs creates visceral works that emphasize timbre, presence, and ritual while exposing the raw, brilliant, and intimate qualities of the human spirit. Trained in contemporary composition and theory, her creative practice extends from the experimental tradition and exists in the space between diverse artistic practices. At the nexus of composition, improvisation, painting, printmaking, poetry, performance art, and authentic movement, Amanda creates provocative works that are uniquely interdisciplinary. Audiences and critics throughout the United States, Germany and Canada have described her work as “entirely original, breathtaking in its delivery”, "ethereal", and “a transporting, enigmatic reverie”.

Amanda’s compositions have been commissioned and performed throughout the United States and Canada by prominent new music ensembles and festivals including: Present Music, New Keys, Dal Niente, Unruly Music Festival, Zeitgeist, Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra, and Wild Space Dance Company, among others. Her work has been performed at prominent institutions such as the Milwaukee Art Museum, Mills College, Artist Proof Gallery, Center for New Music, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Bang on A Can), and University of Wisconsin. Her visual scores have been exhibited in solo and group shows at galleries and museums throughout the United States. Her work is held in a number of private collections.

Amanda is known for her uninhibited vocalization and powerful presence on stage. Specializing in extended vocal technique and improvisation she fuses her contemporary vocal palette with vintage styles of chant, opera, chanson, blues, and punk. Always pushing the limits, she explores timbre, texture, and breath, interwoven with ethereal melodies, intimate phonemes, and percussive, nonsensical text. In addition to realizing indeterminate works by contemporary composers, Amanda also performs many classic graphic and text scores. Recent performances include Loose Pages with Allison Knowles at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and John Cage’s Songbooks (Aria A and B) and Aria w/Fontana Mix at Unruly Music Festival, and Woodland Pattern.

As an improvising vocalist Amanda plays with a rotating group of musicians and performs regularly in several dynamic ensembles, including Skøefst with Trevor Saint, glockenspiel; and Christopher Burns, guitar. Their trio explores raw, noisy, and gritty sounds, placed in both slow burning, spacious architectures and in furious outpourings of jagged energy. Their introductory album, Cadmium Dust, was released in September 2013. She is a vocalist in Hal Rammel’s Great Lakes Improvising Orchestra a fifteen-member ensemble that features conducted improvisation. As an original member of Christopher Burn’s Minor Vices Schoofs lends her vocal prowess to the improvisatory septet’s diverse instrumentation. Minor Vices released their debut album, Misdemeanors in October 2013. Amanda has performed with Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra, an improvisation collective fusing live electronic sound, video projection, instrumental and vocal performance, since returning to Milwaukee in 2010. From 2006 - 2008 she was a member of Fred Frith’s Music Improvisation Ensemble at Mills College. She is a member of International Society of Improvised Music, and gave her first performance with them at Roulette (Brooklyn, NY) in 2013.

Embracing movement as an inherent quality of performance, Amanda has created and performed in several works for performer specializing in vocalization and dance. Recent works include My Lipstick is the Color of Your Heart (2012), and An Inherent Presence/ For Laura (2013), both works were in collaboration with movement artist Laura Murphy. Amanda has been a featured Artist with Debra Loewen’s Wildspace Dance Company, performing in the improvisational duo Layers in Luscious (2012-13), and both composing the music for, and performing in, the company’s evening length show In the Space Between (2011). She is presently creating a series of visual and poetic scores for soloist titled Corpus Femme.

Since 2010 Amanda has been a Lecturer in Music Composition and Theory at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she directs Contemporary Music Ensemble and teaches Experimental Improvisation. She is a Composition Mentor with Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Creation Project, in conjunction with Present Music. In 2008 Amanda earned her MA in Music Composition from Mills College, where she received the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Award for Outstanding Musical Composition, and mentored with Joëlle Leandre, Pauline Oliveros, Zeena Parkins, Roscoe Mitchell, and Fred Frith. In 2005 she earned dual undergraduate degrees, her BFA in Music Composition and Technology, and BA in Vocal Performance from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Amanda has engaged in international exchange studies in Painting and Art History at Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. From September - December 2014 she will be a Transdisciplinary Fellow at Center for 21st Century Studies.


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updated 20 Jan 2015
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