NIOKA WORKMAN is one of the most creative and innovative cellists performing today. Her musical experiences and formidable history are the foundation of her identifiable sound and style. Accomplished on both acoustic and electric cello, Nioka's experiences have inspired collaborations from diverse disciplines. Born into a family of esteemed musicians - her uncle bassist Arthur Harper and her celebrated father, bassist Reggie Workman, Nioka continues to live up to her musical DNA.
Ms. Workman performs and records with many notable Jazz composers such as Anthony Braxton, David Murray, Steve Coleman and Greg Osby. Most recently, Nioka contracted, recorded and arranged music for Verve recording artist Betty LaVette. Her credits in recording and television includes appearances on Oxygen, Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live with Grammy award winning artist India Arie, Beyonce and Joe.
Touring around the country began at an early age with her family. She lived in Japan (Hino Terumasa/ Tommy Flanagan tour), in California with (Herbie Mann), and spent summers with her family Andre & Gwen Persiani in France. In the early 2000's Nioka was part of a European tour with Sony recording artist, actor Saul Williams. The ensemble appeared on Canal + , the Chris Rock Show, Montreaux Jazz Festival (Live Human, Ronnie Size) and in a SnoCore USA tour with Nikka Costa, Ozomatli, Blackalicious, Michael Franti/Spearhead. Additional tours include a 2010, feature in the Cooper Moore Project at Sons d' Hiver, France and a mini tour called "Diamonds Are Forever" with Kanye West, Jay-Z and Common.
Nioka's father gave her a cello at age 10. Her formal training began at the New Muse in Brooklyn. She continued to study music diligently at Henry Street Settlement and auditioned for the High School of Music & Art. In the summer she attended Interlochen. In the Fall, she trained with the All City High School Orchestra on the weekends. Nioka has a Bachelor's degree in classical cello from Queens College with additional credits in composition and Jazz from the New School Jazz program.
As a composer, in 2013 Nioka was commissioned to compose music for the Thread's Dance Company directed by Karen Charles. She received an award from the American Composer's Forum, Live Music for Dance. The piece premiered in Minneapolis and Atlanta. Nioka has received several commissions/grants from Meet the Composer and collaboratively with Rent choreographer Marlies Yearby, whichk includes a four year summer residency with the Joffrey Ballet Jazz program.
Upon graduation from college, Nioka freelanced with several chamber and orchestral organizations like the New York Women's Ensemble, Opera Ebony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Trilogy Opera Company, Cassandra Wilson’s Traveling Miles Orchestra (Lincoln Center/Chicago), David Murray’s ‘A Salute to Duke Ellington’ Orchestra, the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra and the Uptown String Quartet. Nioka was also a member of the Kitchen House Blend, Art of Memory by Kitty Brazzleton, Trilogy Opera Company, Avery Brooks/Craig Harris Project, Anthony Davis/Molissa Fenley’s Hemisphere and Butch Morris Conductions.
Nioka's teaching experiences led her to holding positions at Harlem School of the Arts, Queensborough College, Packer Collegiate as a Suzuki cello teacher and music director at the Noel Pointer School of Music. She is currently the co-founder of Music For the People, NYC.
Currently, Nioka has performed as a soloist in Extraordinary Measures, Marty Pottenger's #PhillySavesEarth, Curvy Widow and in the hit 2016-17 revival of Sweet Charity starring Sutton Foster at Signature Theater on 42nd Street.
Nioka is most proud of her own Jazz chamber ensemble, the Firey String Sistas! The band has released a new CD called "That's What She Said". The CD has been met with high acclaim. (www.fireystringsistas.info)
It is through the Firey Strings Company that Nioka is 'giving back' to her community by creating events and workshops for string improvisors.
For Bookings- Contact: Nioka-P.O.Box 20436 NYC 10025 firstname.lastname@example.org (609) 388-1580.