photo:  Al Petteway

Born to professional classical musicians and the youngest of three children, Amy White was both nurtured and surrounded by several genres of music.  Amy composes and plays by ear.  As a result, she has a unique approach to composition and her work reflects this serendipitous combination of contemporary instrumental, classical, jazz, folk, pop and rock influences.

Although piano was her first love, Amy is a natural multi-instrumentalist who delights in the challenge and inspiration of various instruments. Her performances regularly feature mandolin, piano, guitar, percussion, Celtic harp, vocals and mountain dulcimer.  Amy began composing music in early childhood and began performing in her early teens with dance theater ensembles at Washington area universities, concert series, and arts festivals. Over the years, she appeared in concert with a world-beat ensemble, recorded and performed with two a capella groups at Kenyon College, and performed as a soloist and composer at  Dance Recitals. From 1994 to the present, Amy has been performing almost exclusively with her husband, Grammy-Winning guitarist Al Petteway.  Together, Al & Amy have won dozens of awards from WAMA, as well as the coveted “Indie” Award for Acoustic Instrumental Music from the Association for Independent Music in 2001, and a few more honors from the Just Plain Folks Awards in 2009.

Alto 1 Section -- from the "Sing Sing" album
Kenyon College Owl Creek Singers 1983/84

Amy began composing music in early childhood.  She won her first award for piano composition from the Virginia Music Teacher’s Association at the age of eleven, and has continued to receive acclaim.  In 1995, Amy received an award from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) for her solo instrumental performance on piano. She received the same award for her solo mandolin performance in 1998.   She also received an MSAC award for Music Composition on Piano and Guitar in 2001.  Amy’s debut recording of original compositions, Piano Diaries: and other entries, was named ‘Best New Age Album’ in 1996, by the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA).

Although she cannot top her brother’s coming-of-musical-age story (Andy requested his favorite symphonies and arias by singing them in his crib, well before he had learned to speak) music did figure prominently in Amy's life.  As a child, Amy routinely parodied her mother’s voice students.  She’d sing Tarzan to Carmen in the forest surrounding her home.  Her mother was very kind about scolding her for this habit, particularly since there were times when she may have sounded better than a student or two.  At least Amy liked to think so….  The music teacher at elementary school was not quite as forgiving, however, and Amy was often sent to the principal’s office for singing with excessive, comic vibrato. Definitely not the sound you are looking for from a child chorus.

Amy has always enjoyed making music on any available instrument.  She composed music for all the instruments brought back from her father’s and sister’s trips abroad, on anything from Charangos to Balalaikas.   When traditional musical instruments weren’t available, Amy was resourceful.  Breakfast dishes or glazed pots recently removed from the kiln were always fair game – and the more variety the better.  Stair banisters, too, and even a disemboweled piano harp, which sounded best when struck from afar by flung objects.  The creek in front of Amy’s childhood home held infinite possibilities, as well.  During one blissful childhood summer at Camp Lachlan, Amy and her sister Lisbet learned to whistle through their hands.  They learned this hand-whistling so well that they began performing rounds and complex two-part harmonies.  It was only later in life that they learned this type of whistling was not necessarily a standard past-time.  They are always surprised and pleased to meet a fellow hand-whistler who can join in their rounds.  The sisters made their national hand-whistling debut on a special NPR / All Things Considered interview broadcast on Thanksgiving Day, 1998.  This interview featured stories about "music in the family" and live performance of selections from Amy's 2nd solo piano release, Bittersweet ~ an American Romance.

Like most artists, Amy is inter-disciplinary at heart. In addition to music, she loves to create and work in a variety of media, including stone-carving, silvercasting, stained glass, 3-D collage, mosaics, block-printing and photography. Amy is extremely fortunate to have many of her photographs represented by the National Geographic Society’s Image Collection, where her husband, Al Petteway worked as an image editor for nearly 2 decades.
For the past several years, Amy has been consumed with digital photography and photomontage. In addition to mountain scenery, she has concentrated on photographing cats and the natural world and creating alternate realities for her favorite winged creatures.  Amy is thrilled to have encountered this perfect marriage of technology and creative passion.  She can now more easily reveal and celebrate the presence of the many Cat Angels in our lives.  CAT ANGELS:  the Secret Lives of Cats, Amy’s first full-color book of photomontages, was released in early 2010.  Please visit for more information.
Formerly natives of the Washington, DC area (Arlington, VA & Takoma Park, MD respectively), Amy and her husband now live at 4200 feet elevation, just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Amy & Al share their beautiful mountain aerie with 4 charismatic cats and the 2 best shelter doggies that money can’t buy. It is clear that cats have commandeered much of Amy’s visual artwork for years to come. And dogs are next in line.

F a i r e w o o d   S t u d i o s
P.O. Box 1093
Weaverville, NC 28787
Tel: 828-628-6428
music @