The acclaimed string quartet will join the university’s Moores School of Music, in Texas, starting in the Fall of 2023
The Formosa Quartet comprises violinists Jasmine Lin and Wayne Lee, violist Matthew Cohen, and cellist Deborah Pae. The group formed in 2002, when its four Taiwanese-descended founders came together for a concert tour of Taiwan.
Appointed by the University of Houston (UH) and its Kathrine G. Mcgovern College Of The Arts (KGMCA), the quartet will regularly visit the latter’s Moores School of Music each year. The residence will see the group support the strings and chamber music programs with individual ensemble coaching, masterclasses, and concerts.
“This appointment takes the already nationally known faculty and programs in strings and chamber music in the Moores School of Music and elevates them to the next level,” said KGMCA dean, Andrew Davis. “Students of the Moores School will be the real beneficiaries of having artists of this caliber in regular residence, and the Formosa Quartet now adds one more reason for students to come to the Moores School of Music.”
“In the past several years, over the course of multiple visits, the quartet has formed lasting bonds with the faculty and students of the Moores School of Music,” added Kirsten Yon, associate violin professor of the Moores School’s string program. “We are looking forward to the future of our partnership and we’re delighted to welcome these virtuosic artists with programming and events centered around community, collaboration, and joyful music-making.”
“On stage and in the classroom, the Formosa Quartet brings imagination to life, and their dynamic, energetic presence is yet another reason for students to choose the University of Houston,” Yon said.
The Formosa Quartet will perform at UH on February 16, and at Christ Church Cathedral on February 18, where their UH residency will be officially announced.
“The Formosa Quartet has once again leveled up my ability to share my music with sounds and words!” said DMA violin student Bernini Chan on the ensemble’s recent visit to the Moores School. “The interaction they had with audiences during their concert was eye-opening and totally inspired me with fresh ideas to plan my own chamber group’s community outreach performance. I am already looking forward to them coming back next semester!”
Members of the quartet hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Colburn Conservatory, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Having performed across the U.S., Asia, and Europe, they have also been prizewinners at the Paganini, Primrose, Fischoff, and Naumburg competitions, plus given acclaimed performances at the Library of Congress, Chicago Cultural Center, Lincoln Center, Taipei’s National Concert Hall, Wigmore Hall, die Glocke Bremen, and Berliner Philharmonie.
Since its founding, the quartet’s cultural identity has incorporated broader American, pan-Asian, and Eastern European influences — becoming known for concerts including folk, pop, jazz, and poetry arrangements, with their recent “American Mirror Project,” exploring American music and culture.
The quartet members serve on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University, Roosevelt University, and Heifetz International Music Institute. They have previously taught at the University of Illinois, Taos School of Music, and the Juilliard School.
The Formosa Quartet plays on the 1662 Andrea Guarneri and 2001 Joseph Curtin violins, a 2014 Peter Westerlund viola, and an 1885 Vincenzo Postiglione cello.