Amy Gillingham Culligan is a multi-faceted artist dedicated to leveraging her roles to advance, empower, and inspire others. She holds the Corbett Endowed Principal of Strings distinction at Northern Kentucky University where she serves as Associate Professor of Strings (Cello) and Director of Orchestras.
Dr. Culligan has dedicated a significant part of her career to creating accessible string education opportunities for youth and college students. She has written and received over $200,000 in grant awards for outreach and creative endeavors, co-founded the nationally recognized NKU String Project, and went on to help start and cultivate over 40 String Project sites across the United States. Dr. Culligan has served as Executive Director of the 501(c)3 National String Project Consortium, is currently President of the Kentucky American String Teachers Association, and National Chair of the American String Teachers Association Student Advisory Committee.
As a performer, Dr. Culligan balances a meaningful variety of creative projects as a conductor and cellist. She is a collaborative conductor with the Los Angeles Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, which led to her Walt Disney Concert Hall debut in 2022, and regularly guest conducts with a variety of youth and honor orchestras. Her work as a conductor and educator has been featured in a national PBS documentary. As a cellist, she has over 50 published and internationally distributed recordings with labels including Sony Entertainment, Mark Records, Universal Music Group, Crossroads Music Group, and Legend that have streaming reach into the millions. Dr. Culligan enjoys working with a diverse group of artistic collaborators from classical to country to gospel, and has collaborated with artists including Amy Grant, Lecrae, Rayne Johnson, eighth blackbird, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Carlos Nakai, and Michael W. Smith. She has performed on national tours of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Josh Groban, and Michael W. Smith. Dr. Culligan enjoys a diverse array of music but has a particular soft spot for the Haydn cello concertos and wrote a book entitled, Cultivating Perception, about Haydn’s musical patterns and audience expectations.
A proud product of a public-school education, she started the cello at 6:30 a.m. in a before-school program and went on to earn a Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree from North Carolina School of the Arts and both a Master of Music (M.M.) and Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Dr. Culligan has received national and regional awards for her teaching, creativity, and service, and credits the feedback, encouragement, and wisdom or many incredible teachers who invested in her. Prior to her appointment at Northern Kentucky University, she held faculty positions at Indiana Wesleyan University and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
Although music and the arts are a significant part of Dr. Culligan’s life, she is also an avid runner, loves to cook, and has many outside passions that align with her overall vision of living a compelling life that empowers and inspires others. Fervent in the belief that your past circumstances do not have to determine your future, she has a heart and passion for foster care, and is a licensed foster and adoptive parent. She is married to Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Associate Principal Percussionist, Michael Culligan, and together they get to parent awesome children and a lot of cats.