Keir GoGwilt, violin
photo by Erin Baiano
Keir GoGwilt is a violinist, scholar, and composer. His work combines close listening, research, and collaborative experimentation, exploring the ways in which cultural and material histories shape musical creativity and meaning.
As a violinist, GoGwilt has been described as a "formidable performer" (New York Times) noted for his "evocative sound" (London Jazz News) and "finger-busting virtuosity" (San Diego Union Tribune). He has soloed with groups including the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Chinese National Symphony, Orquesta Filarmonica de Santiago, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Bowdoin International Music Festival Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Manhattan School of Music Chamber Sinfonia, Music Academy of the West chamber orchestra, and the La Jolla Symphony, among others. GoGwilt received his Ph.D. in Music from the University of California San Diego. He has presented his research on histories and philosophies of performance at conferences throughout the United States and Europe and has published articles in Current Musicology, the Orpheus Institute Series, Naxos Musicology, and BACH: Journal of the Bach Riemenschneider Institute (forthcoming).
His scholarship informs his practice as a composer-performer and writer co-creating music- and dance-theater pieces. He has performed his original works at festivals/series including Luminato, PS 122 COIL, Stanford Live (Bing Theater), the American Repertory Theater, Carolina Performing Arts, Darmstadt, La Mama, the Momentary, the Audio Foundation, Pyramid Club, Spectrum NYC, Clark Art Museum, and elsewhere. He has ongoing projects with composers Matthew Aucoin, Carolyn Chen, and Celeste Oram; he has toured his early works with choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith ("A Study on Effort," "With Care"), and has been an integral part in the creation of new ones ("Lost Mountain," "Broken Theater," "Pierre"). He has worked closely with bassist Mark Dresser (as part of the Dresser Quintet/Septet), taonga puoro musician/scholar Rob Thorne, violinist/composer Johnny Chang, and percussionist/conductor Steven Schick. He co-leads his duo/trio, Treesearch; their music has been noted for its "rich tones, rhapsodic gestures" (The New Yorker), and "clinical precision" (The Wire).
GoGwilt is a founding member of the American Modern Opera Company. He has been featured at Rockport Chamber Music, the Spoleto Festival (in Italy), National Sawdust, San Diego Symphony's "Hearing the Future," LA Opera After Hours, LA Monday Evening Concerts, Taos, and YellowBarn, among others, and can be heard on Tzadik, Clean Feed, and 577 Records. He studied violin with Lewis Kaplan and Renée Jolles at Juilliard pre-college; he studied Literature with Jorie Graham, Helen Vendler, and John Hamilton at Harvard University, where he was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts.