violinist, writer

Keir GoGwilt is a violinist, scholar, and composer whose work combines close listening, research, and collaborative experimentation. Both his scholarship and creative work explore 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.

His creative work combines composition, improvisation, narrative and poetic text. He has performed his original, often collaboratively-devised works at festivals/series including Luminato, PS 122 COIL, Kaufman Hall at the 92nd st Y, 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 released his music on 577 Records and Another Timbre; his music co-composed with Kyle Motl has been noted for its “rich tones, rhapsodic gestures” (The New Yorker), and “clinical precision” (The Wire).

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.

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, Another Timbre, and 577 Records. As an orchestral player he has worked with the Canadian Opera Company (acting associate concertmaster), A Far Cry, and the Auckland Philharmonia. 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. GoGwilt received his Ph.D. in Music from the University of California San Diego, where he was awarded the Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal for the Division of Arts & Humanities. 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, and Naxos Musicology.