Based in Portland, Oregon, Samantha Kushnick is a cellist, singer and songwriter in the folk tradition. She performs with the Vancouver Symphony in Washington and has toured nationally with the Portland Cello Project and Typhoon, Portland’s thirteen-piece indie rock ensemble. In April of 2013, she released her debut solo record, One Room House.
Sami graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory in 2007 with a degree in cello performance. She was raised in New York in a musical family (her great-uncle, Fred Hellerman, is a founding member of the folk quartet The Weavers). Sami began playing cello at the age of ten and has studied with renowned cellists Matt Haimovitz and Hans Jensen.
Sami has collaborated with many acclaimed musicians on stage and in the studio. Among these artists are Mirah, the Helio Sequence, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Gregory Alan Isakov, Berlin Philharmonic director Sir Simon Rattle, the Oregon Ballet Theater and members of the Oregon Symphony. Through her travels with Typhoon, Sami has shared a stage with the Decemberists, Andrew Bird and the Dandy Warhols and appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. She has performed classical and contemporary works throughout North America, at venues ranging from Oregon’s Britt Festival to Carnegie Hall.
The album One Room House was recorded and mixed in Portland by Lee Howard at Mystery Machine Studios (Y La Bamba, Nick Jaina) and mastered by Tom Swift at Swift Kick Productions (Miles Davis, BB King). One Room House is graced with performances by some of Portland’s finest musicians. Anna Fritz (of the Portland Cello Project) and Nick Jaina appear on the record as do Jay Cobb Anderson and Mimi Naja of the string band Fruition. The style of One Room House ranges from folk-inspired arrangements of voice, pedal steel, fiddle and finger-picked cello to lush orchestral layering of bowed string instruments with voice, strummed cello, drums and electric guitar.
Sami teaches private cello and fiddle lessons out of her studio in southeast Portland and is currently accepting new students. She is also a faculty member of the Community Music Center. When Sami isn’t teaching or playing music, you can usually find her on her folding bike, in the woods, in her kitchen, in her garden or with her nose in a book.