Amanda Gookin: The Art of Revolution

Springtime is nearly upon us – some days lately have felt like it’s already here, plus ça climate change – and with the new season’s arrival comes a fresh programmatic thrust at National Sawdust: Spring Revolution, a festival that focuses this year on female empowerment and discourse. The series gets off to a strong start on Wednesday, March 1, with a performance by Amanda Gookin, a cellist, activist, organizer, and founding member of PUBLIQuartet.

Gookin’s program, a presentation of her Forward Music Project, includes seven visceral new works by women composers – Angélica Negrón, Leila Adu, Jessica Meyer, Allison Loggins-Hull, Morgan Krauss, Nathalie Joachim, and Amanda Feery – with electronic projections designed by S. Katy Tucker.

The new-music webzine I Care If You Listen has just published a terrific, concise interview with Gookin about the project, its origin, and its motivation, conducted by well-traveled cognoscenti Larry and Arlene Dunn. The entire exchange is well worth reading, but this statement near the end leaps out as a timely call to action:

I have become increasingly frustrated at this feeling that classical musicians should not push identity politics, that you never know who you may offend. It is a hard balance to maintain — respecting the entire community that supports your concerts while unabashedly sharing your truth.… It is my hope that being an ally, actively listening, speaking out for the marginalized in our country, and sharing my truth will challenge and encourage others, classical musicians included, to get charged up to do the same.

To whet your appetite further still, watch Gookin performing Meyer’s primal Swerve, in an eye-catching video designed by Tucker.

Amanda Gookin performs at National Sawdust on Wednesday, March 1 at 7pm; www.nationalsawdust.org

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Album review: Jürg Frey, ephemeral constructions

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The less I say this time, the better – partly because I have so very, very little information available from which to cobble up some authoritative statement on the whys and wherefores of the three recent compositions from 2015 and 2016 by Jürg Frey included on this new CD, and partly because the music doesn't really lend itself to analysis so much as inhabitation.