Amanda Schoofs creates music that exposes the raw and intimate qualities of sound and the performing self. Infused with melody and full spectrum timbre, her music is stunning in its visceral coherence. Her artistic practice extends through experimentalism and exists in the space between new music, hybrid arts, and DIY punk, pop, and noise practices. An artistic activist, her work challenges social justice disparities, like sexism post #metoo, motherhood inequity, and gun violence.
Her music has been presented throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. In 2015 her composition Intimate Addictions was curated by Pulitzer Prize winner Du Yun on the world-renowned MATA Festival at The Kitchen in NYC. Amanda’s vocal performance of Intimate Addictions was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as, “fantastic theater,” and described by I Care If You Listen as, “courageously elevating the evening to an entirely different level of sophistication.”
In 2014 her music was presented throughout Germany during her Salem2Salem artist residency at Schloss Salem. While in residence, she created Esoterica, her EP for solo voice, inside a resonant underground water reservoir in the Swiss Alps. In 2015 she was awarded an artist residency at Salem Art Works in upstate New York. There she developed Relics of this Black Earth, a partita for repurposed percussion and electronics, which has toured the United States with Pillars of Decay.
Known for her exquisitely brazen command of extended vocal techniques, and her ability to sing across stylistic genres, Amanda is frequently commissioned to write music for voice. In 2019 she created Black Snake Root, a partita for voice and electronics, in collaboration with Kevin Schlei. The evening-length project highlights melody and counterpoint while utilizing radical twenty-first century technology. Amanda’s first opera, Eternal Burning, premiered later that year, and was hailed as “A one-of-a-kind reflection on motherhood and female identity,” by Urban Milwaukee, and as “reaching right into the heart of raw human instinct,” by The Small Stage. She is currently producing HERS, an EP of experimental pop songs for voice and electronics, which is scheduled to drop in late 2021.
Amanda is founder and Artistic Director of Sensoria: Experiments in Sound and Performance, currently celebrating its sixth season. The series is designed to spark dialogue within the community, support new artistic collaborations, and commission the creation of innovative works while promoting an expansive understanding of new music. Amanda curates cutting-edge composers, performers, and ensembles, and directs Sensoria’s Performing Artist-in-Residence program. Sensoria residencies emphasize community engagement through open workshops, public discussions, and free concerts. The series highlights original research, creativity, and experimental practices through live performance. Music, sound art, and time-based media works are featured on Sensoria, which encourages the use of new technologies and the expansion of the boundaries of organized sound and performance.
An invested academic, Amanda was a 2014 Transdisciplinary Challenge Fellow at Center for 21st Century Studies, researching the cross-disciplinary intersections of language. She has spent the last decade mentoring young artists in academia. As Senior Lecturer of Composition & Technology at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, she directs Contemporary Music Ensemble and teaches music composition, analog and digital technology, experimental improvisation, and materials of music theory. A proud Mills College alumna, she earned her MA from studying with luminaries: Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, Zeena Parkins, Joëlle Léandre, and Fred Frith. Amanda lives in Milwaukee with her husband, artist and photographer, Paul Mitchell, and their son, Axel James (@Noise Baby).
photo credits: Paul Mitchell
All photos of Amanda Schoofs; Above is Schoofs performing with contemporary pianist Ann Yi