Primary Instrument: Viola
Martha Mooke, composer/electro-acoustic violist, a pioneer in the field of electric five string viola, transcends musical boundaries by synthesizing her classical music training with extended techniques, digital effects processing and improvisation. She is a Yamaha Artist and leading clinician on electric and alternative approaches to string playing.
At the request of David Bowie, Mooke became founder and violist of the electro-acoustic Scorchio Quartet. Since 2001, Scorchio has served as “House String Quartet” for the annual Tibet House Benefit Concerts at Carnegie Hall, produced by Philip Glass. Besides performing live with Bowie, Scorchio is featured on his 2002 CD “Heathen”. Scorchio has also performed with Philip Glass, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe, David Byrne, Moby, Lou Reed, Trey Anastasio, Ziggy Marley, Rufus Wainwright, Vampire Weekend, and the Kronos Quartet among many others.
Mooke has toured internationally as a member of Barbra Streisand’s acclaimed orchestra in 2006-07. She has also performed in the U.S. tours of “Star Wars in Concert”, Andrea Bocelli, and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Mooke has performed and or recorded with Philip Glass, Bon Jovi, Enya, Lou Reed, Tony Bennett, David Byrne, Moby, John Cale, Ziggy Marley, Luciano Pavorotti and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She has performed on MTV Unplugged, Regis Live!, the David Letterman Show, The View, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Rosie O'Donnell shows and currently plays in the Broadway pit orchestras of Wicked and South Pacific.
Mooke’s genre-defying recordings, Enharmonic Vision and Bowing's Café Mars (duo with electric guitarist Randolph Hudson) have attracted wide critical acclaim. Her catalog includes works for electric and acoustic instruments, film, theater, dance and multimedia productions.
She has received awards from ASCAP, Meet the Composer and Arts International among others. She was honored with an ASCAP Concert Music Award for conceiving and producing the new music showcase THRU THE WALLS featuring ASCAP composer/performers whose work defies categorization.
Awards:ASCAP Concert Music Award MacDowell Composer Fellowship Meet the Composer
With her white hair and blue five-stringed viola, Mooke is a striking figure, with a Terry Riley-ish array of electronic enhancements and a wider range of styles (from Cagean to minimalist to free jazz and beyond) than many improvisers can boast. - The Village Voice
In performance, a relatively traditional-sounding solo passage will give way to a mesmerizing mood sequence and then, seemingly, half an electronic orchestra has arrived - but it's all her. - Staten Island Advance
Mooke shows off both an impressive dynamic range and a drop-dead-gorgeous tone on her custom five-string electric viola. In her hands, the instrument can sound like a keyboard synthesizer, a guitar, or even a saxophone. … she seems to be able to translate almost any musical impulse into sound. - Alternative Press
The very original Martha Mooke uses space age musical colors and patterns, with her five-string electric viola leading the way, altogether exotic, hypnotic, and personal. - The Wax Works
Mookestueck, written for the electric 5-string viola of local string whiz Martha Mooke...Mooke's performance is superb and impassioned. - WaterfrontWeek
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Yamaha Artist/Clinician - Electric "The Power of Strings: New techniques, electronics and improvisation" This is a unique opportunity for string player, teachers and composers and to interact with Yamaha Artist/Clinician Martha Mooke as she discusses and demonstrates new and extended techniques, integration of electronics and improvisation in the rapidly growing field of electric and alternative approaches to string playing.