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 found work as an information architect at a software startup while moonlighting as a cellist in various rock bands. Unemployed following the dot-com crash of 2001, Zoë used her year off to focus on music, eventually combining the cello and the computer to develop her signature style of live-layered music. She began composing music for small films and experimental theater projects and performing for late night crowds in the San Francisco warehouse where she lived.
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 is a governor of 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.
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, collaborating with Jeff Russo on the score for the A&E drama "The Returned". The pair composed together again in 2015 for the atomic bomb drama "Manhattan" on WGN.
As a cellist, Zoë has played with a wide range of artists, including Imogen Heap, Amanda Palmer, Curt Smith of 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