Cellist and composer Zoë Keating is a one-woman orchestra. She uses a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to record layer upon layer of cello, creating intricate, haunting and compelling music. Zoë is known for both her use of technology - which she uses to sample her cello onstage - and for her DIY approach, releasing her music online without the help of a record label.
Born in Canada and a cellist since the age of eight, Zoë pursued electronic music and contemporary composition as part of her Liberal Arts studies at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. After graduation she moved to San Francisco and fell in love with the startup culture of the late 1990's, finding a career as an information architect and data analyst while moonlighting as a cellist in rock bands. Zoë eventually combined her love of music and technology, using a computer to live-layer her cello and performing for late-night crowds in a San Francisco warehouse where she lived with several other artists.
Now, Zoë has a devoted, global audience. Her self-released albums have several times reached #1 on the iTunes classical chart, she has over 1 million followers on Twitter and her grassroots approach and artists' advocacy has garnered her much public attention and press. She serves as a governor for the San Francisco chapter of the Recording Academy, was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and serves on the boards of the Magik Magik Orchestra and CASH Music, a nonprofit organization that builds open source digital tools for musicians and labels. She is a trustee of the World Economic Forum's Future of the Internet Initiative, chaired by Al Gore.
Zoë has composed music for ballet, theater, film and radio and lends her music regularly to film, tv, dance productions and commercials<. In 2014 she began composing for television, working on the scores for the A&E zombie drama The Returned and Manhattan , a drama about the making of the atomic bomb.
As a cellist, Zoë has played and recorded with a wide range of artists, including Imogen Heap, Amanda Palmer, Tears for Fears, DJ Shadow, Dan Hicks, Thomas Dolby, John Vanderslice, Rasputina, Pomplamoose and Paolo Nutini.
...a distinctive mix of old and new -- layers of sound, that feel more like orchestrations than a solo instrument. - National Public Radio
Swoon-inducing. Like taking a triple-shot of Absinthe before stepping outside of the bar just in time to see the sun exploding. -SF Weekly
... uses live looping to transform solo performances into multipart masterpieces. - Electronic Musician
...sublime minimalist music with a pop sensibility - San Francisco Weekly
Creative Capital Foundation, 2009. Performing Arts grant
San Francisco Artsfest, 2005. Emerging artist award
Belle Foundation, 2005. Artistic development grant
World Economic Forum, 2011. Young Global Leader