Ameena Maria Khawaja is a Los Angeles-based cellist and mezzo-soprano, originally from the Bay Area. She holds a degree in Cello Performance and studied vocal performance privately in Italy and at the Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen, Germany. She is an active performer and teacher in both fields.
Ameena has worked on numerous studio recordings and live performances, and recently joined Kamasi Washington at Walt Disney Concert Hall & Jeff Lynne’s ELO in New York and Los Angeles. She is often in the studio, recording for film, television, and pop/rock albums. Other artists with whom she has collaborated include: Paul Anka, Sia, Mary J. Blige, Mandy Moore, Spacehog, Marc Anthony, Linda Perry, daKah Hip-Hop Orchestra, Switchfoot, Delta Goodrem, Rain Phoenix, Marco Antonio Solís, Trans Siberian Orchestra and many more. Ameena has had the opportunity to perform live at the Grammy Awards, as well as on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, NBC’s The Voice, American Idol and The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
Ameena has a passion for educating and mentoring young musicians and has taught for two decades. She is a Teaching Artist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Harmony Project and the cello and chamber music instructor for YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) at EXPO, whom she coached for their performance with Coldplay at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show. Ameena has given master classes at the Grammy Museum in Hollywood, taught for the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra, was a staff member at the Pacific Crest Music Festival, and maintains a full studio of private and chamber music students.
Ameena studied and performed musical theatre in San Francisco, improv comedy in Los Angeles and opera throughout the United States and Europe. She currently lives in Silver Lake with her husband, conductor Danko Druško.