Amanda Forsyth Biography

Amanda Forsyth was born in South Africa. She moved to Canada as a child and began playing cello at age of three. Amanda

became a protégé of William Pleeth in London, and later studied with Harvey Shapiro at the Juilliard School.

At the age of 24 she participated with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for two seasons. She became the youngest principal cello ever selected by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (a post she occupied for six years). She is internationally in- demand soloist chamber musician and principal cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1999. Amanda has appeared with leading orchestras in Canada, United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. As a soloist and chamber musician she has collaborated with many eminent artists as Lynn Harrell, Yo-Yo Ma, Pierre Boulez, Gary Hoffman, Ralph Kirshbaum, Mario Bernardi, Garrick Ohlsson, Jon Kimura Parker, Yefim Bronfman, Louis Lortie, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, Orion Quartet, Michael Tree, Arnold Steinhardt and Pinchas Zukerman.

She regularly performs with such orchestras as Orchestre Radio de France, Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra including their summer tour of Mediterranean island venues in 2011. In the US she has performed with the San Diego, Colorado and Grand Rapids Symphonies and toured with the Dallas Symphony in both Texas and on its tour of Florida, and with the Oregon Symphony. She made her debut at the Moscow Conservatory in 2009 returning with the Moscow Virtuosi in both Moscow and St Petersburg in 2011 for performances that were filmed for national television broadcast. In June 2012 Ms. Forsyth appeared with the Mariinsky Orchestra in St Petersburg conducted by Valery Gergiev and was reengaged as part of the reopening of the hall in 2013. Her performances with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra have earned critical acclaim and she has performed return engagements in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sichuan, Shenyang and Beijing. In January 2014 Ms. Forsyth had a tour in US as a featured soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She held her Carnegie Hall debut in March 2014 with the Israel Philharmonic, to perform in West Palm Beach, FL. Ms. Forsyth returns to her position as principal cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra for the 2013-14 season following a year-long sabbatical.

As a founding member of the Zukerman Chamber Players she performed worldwide. Amanda Forsyth performed for the Petra Conference for Nobel Laureates in Jordan. In addition this ensemble has had a series in New York at the 92nd Street Y and has performed several South American tours. In March 2013 Ms. Forsyth returned to Asia with the ensemble for concerts in Taiwan, China and Japan followed by concerts in Santa Monica, CA and Scottsdale, AZ Summer festival appearances included Ravinia, Tanglewood, Verbier and Edinburgh in 2013. She has appeared regularly at Japan’s Miyazaki Festival and in May 2011 she appeared in gala fundraising concerts following the Japanese earthquake disaster. In late 2013 Ms. Forsyth returned to Australia for performances with the Sydney Symphony, the West Australian Symphony and the Adelaide Symphony.

Ms. Forsyth’s recordings appear on the Sony Classics, Naxos, Altara, Fanfare, Marquis, Pro Arte and CBC labels. In 2007 Ms. Forsyth featured prominently on Wynton Marsalis’s soundtrack for The War, Ken Burns’s widely-acclaimed World War II documentary filmed for PBS. With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, she has earned prize from audience and critics for the record the Juno Award-winning cello concerto Electra Rising by composer Malcolm Forsyth, her father. Soaring with Agamemnon a collection of cello compositions by Gavin Bryars, Malcolm Forsythand Arvo Part was released by Marquis Classics. She recorded the Mozart Flute Quartets for CBC Records with NACO principal flute Joanna G’froerer, violinist Martin Beaver and violist Pinchas Zukerman which was named Opus Magazine’s “Best Canadian Chamber Music Recording of 2001.” In 2002, Amanda Forsyth was the subject of the Bravo! Canada television documentary Amanda Rising: The Amanda Forsyth Story. The program followed Ms. Forsyth’s life from her early years as a young South African immigrant to her later success on the international music scene. Ms. Forsyth was featured prominently on Wynton Marsalis’ soundtrack for Ken Burns’ The War, a widely-acclaimed World War II documentary filmed for PBS.

Amanda Forsyth performs on a rare 1699 Italian cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore.

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  • No one knows this work better than Forsyth, and not just because it leapt out of her own gene pool, having been written for her by her father Malcolm Forsyth. But she has performed it so many times it flows out of her fingers and her bow as if it had a voice of its own.

    Stephen Pedersen

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