On February 12-17, 2018, Formosa Quartet will be guest artists-in-residence at Eastern Michigan University's School of Music & Dance in Ypsilanti, MI. During this residency, we'll be leading masterclasses, open rehearsals, and workshops on of master classes, open rehearsals, and workshops on performance, community engagement, and career development. We'll be engaging with over 200 of the students!
The week's activities will conclude with two performances — on February 15, Joel Puckett's Short Stories with the EMU Wind Symphony and on February 16, a special Formosa concert, which happens to land on the Lunar New Year! This is our first time playing in Michigan and Jasmine wrote a brilliant blog for SHAR Music about the origins of the quartet, how we've stayed such a tight-knit ensemble and friends for 15 years, and what to expect next week! Click on the image above to read the blog post.
Thank you to SHAR Music for sponsoring the quartet during this exciting residency at Eastern Michigan University next week! If you are a Michigander or nearby the quaint town of Ypsilanti, come join us!
Formosa performed in Jakarta recently. We worked, we drank coffee, we ate apple pie that did not look or taste anything like apple pie, we heard morning prayers at 4:30 am, and we got massages to write home about. Home is you; so we're writing you to tell about Wayne's massage.
Wayne and his masseuse had some wee troubles communicating. When he entered the room, she instructed incoherently, "Underwear underwear", pointing to a foot bath basin. When she left the room, he stripped down to his underwear. There was no water in the basin so he just sat near it, thus (un)clothed — a position which quickly became awkward and prompted him to put all clothes back on. When she came back in, without knocking, she handed him a pair of panties for him to put on. They were extra-extra-extra-large. He stripped down to his underwear again and drew the panties over them, but had to continually hold the panties up so they wouldn't drop to the floor. At this point his masseuse approached him and — after sufficient searching and fumbling — located, extracted, and tightened the drawstring of the aforesaid panties. And now that you've seen the word "panties" 5 times, we'll show you what they looked like.
At the time when this blog was drafted, Wayne was receiving his second Indonesian massage. Stay tuned for more broadcasts of an intimate nature.
Thank you, thank you, and no-end thank you to every one of our 68 "From Hungary to Taiwan" campaign backers. We are deeply touched by your support.
Our bow hair, which started full at the beginning of the recording sessions, sported gaps after just one day. Each evening after 12 hours of recording, we were inert lumps of dead weight, trying to recover before the 8:30 start next morning. After highly intense takes, our hearts were pounding, our breath short, our shirts wet, and our cellist's finger bleeding under the skin.
These gargantuan stretches of effort were unconsciously elicited, ounce by ounce, by our enormous gratitude to you.
Hello, folks. This is Jasmine, Formosa Quartet's supporter of pumpkins. Orange foods are very good for your eyes. And they're in season as we speak.
Do you like pumpkins?
Would you ever order stir-fried pumpkin with rice noodles at a Taiwanese eatery, or pumpkin soup at a Hungarian restaurant?
Does cultural diversity resonate with you?
Are you interested in not only the food, but also the music of different cultures?
Do you believe that music, like food, should be kept fresh and new, while staying true to the oldest human conditions from which it arose?
Would you like to travel to Central Europe & East Asia though their signature pumpkin dishes or popular songs?
Are you curious about how indigenous Taiwanese tribes celebrate their rites? or what a Hungarian bagpipe dance sounds like?
Would you be particularly excited by pumpkin recipes if they were recently created, using authentic ingredients but with a new spin, by celebrated chefs of today?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, please consider donating to our Kickstarter campaign for our upcoming CD. Called "From Hungary to Taiwan", the CD will feature musical equivalents of Taiwanese stir-fried pumpkin with rice noodles and Hungarian pumpkin soup. It will also be answerable to all points above.
Pumpkins are handsome, adorable, confident, glorious orange on the outside, pastel peach on the inside, plump, happy, stylish.
So go on; click on "Kickstarter campaign". Fantastic Taiwanese and Hungarian pumpkin dishes can be yours. Or perhaps just the metaphysical essence of pumpkin, in a form of your choosing.
And thank you.
Some of you have been asking, for the past 3 months, when we'd put up our next blog post. Truth is, we wanted our Asia Music Arts Management blog to stay on top as long as possible, to make us look fancy. That's partly the truth — the other part is that we've been too busy eating beef noodle soup.
Now that we're finally getting around to this new blog post, we're sorry to say it will be the newest post for only about a day. You see, tomorrow we're launching a big Kickstarter campaign which will become the new blog subject and overshadow this one — not because it's necessarily more interesting, but because it will showcase us as the ambassadorial, plenipotentiarial, emissarial ambassadors of cultural diversity that we incontrovertibly are. But enough of that.
Today's blog is a multiple choice question. The first person to answer it correctly will be the star feature of our blog, the post after next.
Which of the following distracted Wayne during a Mendelssohn Octet rehearsal earlier this year?
a) He received a text from Debbie asking him to play softer.
b) One player’s legs were spread open to a near-180° angle, giving Wayne a stellar view of the crotch area.
c) Jasmine reeked of the garlic she’d had for lunch.
d) A bird landed on the windowsill and gobbled up a cricket he had started observing, and become attached to, at the start of rehearsal.
e) He was trying to think of all the words that rhyme with "wimp".
f) He discovered part of the Fibonacci sequence in one of the chord progressions in the 2nd movement.
g) It suddenly dawned on him that an email he'd gotten, ostensibly from Chamber Music America, was really a coded threat from an ex-girlfriend.
h) The thought of devouring a thick slice of pork apple pie at Hoosier Mama's Pie Company rendered him incapable of ricochet.
i) He came up with an idea for a homemade Valentine's Day present for his wife, made of balloons and Twizzlers.
j) He overheard Jasmine asking Cheyen to play two of her notes in exchange for a $3 beer.
k) A combination of c), e), and h).
l) He was thinking about an old pen-pal of his named Practical Vampire (pictured below).
And read our previous blog posts... Sometimes, even though you have to scroll down down down for something, the result is upscale, uplifting, uproarious, and up-and-up.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Formosa Quartet Joins Asia Music Arts (AMA 亞藝藝術)
June 6, 2017 - Formosa Quartet is thrilled to join the roster of Asia Music Arts (AMA 亞藝藝術), one of Asia's leading classical music agencies, for representation in Asia and Germany.
Winners of the First Prize and the Amadeus Prize at the London International String Quartet Competition in 2006, Formosa Quartet is “one of the very best quartets of their generation” (David Soyer, cellist of the Guarneri Quartet). Their debut recording on the EMI label was hailed as “spellbinding” (Strad Magazine) and “remarkably fine” (Gramophone), with the quartet having given critically acclaimed performances at the Ravinia Festival, the Caramoor Festival, The Library of Congress, The Da Camera Society, Los Angeles, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Rice University, San Francisco State University, and Wigmore Hall.
Amy Post, Managing Director
Asia Music & Arts
Clancy Newman — cellist, composer, honorary Taiwanese, and friend of Formosa — lives in Philadelphia with his wife, real-estate developer and harpist Angel Lin. He joins Formosa & Chicago Chamber Musicians in the Mendelssohn Octet this Sunday April 2 at NU's Galvin Hall.
FQ How can someone get you to dance?
CN Maybe with some sort of gene-splicing technology to alter my DNA.
FQ What’s your greatest fear?
FQ What qualities do you most admire in a person?
CN Big-heartedness and eccentricity.
FQ If you were running for President of the United States, whom would you pick as Vice President?
CN My cello.
FQ What was the first musical composition you ever wrote?
CN It was called Doretso in G, and I was seven years old. It wasn’t in G.
FQ Which classical music composer would enjoy Jimi Hendrix?
FQ What's your most vivid memory of playing with Formosa?
CN One thing came to mind, but I feel like it shouldn't be put in print... I also remember the feats involving — what was it we were throwing? And trying to catch in our mouths?
FQ The grapes!
CN Yeah. I remember missing badly but also being triumphant in my second attempt.
FQ In catching or throwing?
CN I actually can’t remember now. I remember it was extraordinarily large distances.
FQ What does Taiwan conjure up in your mind?
CN It makes my stomach grumble.
FQ What are some of the outstanding dishes you had there?
CN 牛肉麵 [Beef noodle soup]. 麵很Q [The noodles were al dente], the broth was just delicious, and the meat just sort of fell apart. It was... so good.
FQ What one thing must one do in Melbourne?
CN Go on the Great Ocean Road.
FQ What was your first thought when you woke up on your wedding day?
CN I didn’t wake up because I hadn’t slept the night before.
FQ Do you know any tongue-twisters in Mandarin?
CN Everything is a tongue-twister to me.
FQ Is superstitiousness an indication of ignorance?
CN I would say yes, it is an indication of ignorance with a lower-case “i”, but not an indication of ignorance with an upper-case “I”.
FQ What’s the secret to happiness?
FQ Do you still have a thing against spinach on pizzas?
CN It has its place, if they don’t have sauce on them.
FQ Tell us about Pita Inn in Skokie.
CN How can I say this? [pause] There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like Pita Inn, and degenerates.
FQ Does Wayne like it?
Formosa Quartet and Clancy will have lunch at Pita Inn this week, when Wayne will have another chance to prove that he is not a degenerate. Good luck, Wayne.
Despite the cold winter and sporadic snow storms, we are already gearing up for summer! We are excited to present the 5th edition of the FORMOSA CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL 2017 in Hualien, Taiwan and calling all passionate and talented young musicians (ages 13-27) to apply! The dates of the festival are August 10-24 and the application deadline has been EXTENDED to April 15!
To learn more about our festival, please click here.
FCMF is one of the musical highlights of our season and we cannot wait to work with another talented group of young artists!
The Formosa Quartet played in Augusta, Georgia last Friday. In the days leading up to the concert, we enjoyed a luxurious stay at the home of Phyllis and Lee Smith. In addition to exquisitely cooked steaks and cedar-plank salmon, nightly desserts containing but not limited to organic pralines 'n cream and chocolate ice cream, a pool house, 3 bathrooms for the 4 -mosans, and two gorgeous cats Zim and Misty, our unforgettable week also included a shooting lesson on the Smiths' private shooting range.
We offer you a souvenir from our shooting lesson —
our target. You see the four bullet holes in it? Here they are again, numbered:
Bullet hole #1 — Deborah Pae
Bullet hole #2 — Che-Hung Chen
Bullet hole #3 — Wayne Lee
Bullet hole #4 — Deborah Pae
Note: The distance to the target was 25 yards. It was the first time for both Deborah and Wayne.
The following inferences can now be made:
- Between viola mafias Che-Hung Chen and his brother Cheyen, for whom he was filling in, Che-Hung is the one you need to take down first if you are a non-violist and value your dignity.
- To Deborah's cello studio at EMU — when Professor Pae tells you to pull your bow, just do it.
- Yes, it's true. "Impeccable warrior" Jasmine was too scared by the deafening shots, and the even more deafening silences preceding them, to shoot.
- Now you know why Genghis Han is planning an alliance with Wayne Lee.
On this New Year-of-the-Rooster's Day, the Formosa Quartet wishes everyone a year of bullseyes and hits.
Did you know...?
Cheyen rips a mean pizzicato on bass.
Jasmine is good at getting her hands dirty.
Wayne Lee Photography can be yours for the price of playing 1st violin in a Wieniawski duo.
Deborah is a master of detail. Can you spot what she adds at each stage of her DrawSomething kitchen?
Formosa’s very own Wayne Lee
and his fiancée, pianist Juliana Han
— a pair comparable to Michelle and Barack in capableness
and Elizabeth Barrett and Robert in artistic compatibility —
recently launched the first annual Piedmont Chamber Music Festival with stunning success.
In one unforgettable week, the team of 7 world-class artists
was treated to laughter-filled rehearsals,
and sold-out concerts which Formosa's beloved quartet "parents", Ginny and Bob Black, flew in from San Diego to attend. Three expertly crafted programs featured masterworks by a wealth of composers such as Felix Mendelssohn, Anthony Cheung, William Bolcom, John Adams, and Johannes Brahms.
Key PCMF team members also included, among others, brilliant documentarian and technician Tina Tallon,
invaluable mastermind Gray Cathrall (ignore co-Artistic Director's facial expression in background),
and host family to Meyer 09 and Lin 06, Susan Chamberlain and John Chalik.
In Susan and John’s home, Lin 06 and Meyer 09 enjoyed beauty in the form of
their hosts' own homemade strawberry jam of local strawberries
and Dutch apple pancake of local apples,
popovers just out,
blueberries hand-delivered to Lin 06 while she was practicing in her room,
two gourmand-minced, gourmand-chopped, gourmand-mixed, gourmand-boiled, gourmand-sautéed, gourmand-stirred, gourmand-fried, and gourmand-seasoned dinners,
fresh flowers in both guest bedrooms,
a luxury sewing kit containing the exact color of thread for mending Lin 06’s pants,
and Susan and John’s warmth, humor, and intelligence.
All in favor of such delights
say "aye" to attending PCMF 2017 — !
6/11 Bright-eyed Bushy-tailed
Recently we, the violinists of the Formosa Quartet, flew to London to play two Formosa Quartet concerts. Because our cellist & violist had previous conflicts and a paternity leave, respectively, we were joined by subs Richard Lester and Roger Chase. It was an extra-marital affair which our Formosa spouses, Debbie and Cheyen, fully consented to and even facilitated.
What happened in London the next 8 days, however, really should stay in London. Even if your spouses allow you a fling with someone else, they usually don’t want to hear about how spectacular it was. But for the sake of documentation, otherwise known as the magnetic force of truth, we feel compelled to confess all. Fingers crossed that our spouses will never read it.
We'd been looking forward to the experience months beforehand, having been long-time fans of Richard (Florestan Trio) and Roger (Nash Ensemble and Jasmine's old friend/colleague from Chicago). But nothing prepared us for the actual thing.
We gathered at Richard’s and after preliminaries began to play. It took a mere two measures in Beethoven 59 1 to illuminate the true meaning of dolce. And the sforzandos... were played with a sound that, until then, had existed only in our realm of perfect forms.
By the end of the first movement, we were smitten. By the last rehearsal a week later, Wayne would lean to Jasmine several times to whisper “Can we keep them?” — to which she could only gleefully, wistfully smile.
Perhaps, to demonstrate a sense of decorum, we should nip this blog here. But since Debbie and Cheyen don't seem to be looking, we'll indulge in a few more details.
* * *
We lunch at Richard’s on soup he's made and a pineapple he cuts. He and Roger describe how they cut a mango. Roger: “I make a lattice.” Richard: “Do you ever make hedgehog mangos?”
Can we keep them?
Roger stops playing many times in one passage because he's not matching Richard’s bowing. Every time the bowing is the least bit different, he's in shambles, reminding us of the princess in The Princess and The Pea. Finally Richard: “Does it really matter?” Roger, writing in the correct bowing once and for all: “Yes, it does! You've no idea what kind of crescendo is going to happen now!”
Can we keep them?
Roger to Richard: "Are you just being excessively cautious there in that entrance?"
Richard, to us: "That means, Why the fuck were you late?"
Roger, to us: "Didn't you know the English invented passive aggressiveness?"
Can we keep them?
For Roger's guitar strums in Hungarian Folk Songs, Richard suggests, "How about doing it like you're wanking?” Did we hear that correctly? And is he really making accompanying gestures as he's saying that?
Roger: "Why does an Irishman need 2 condoms?"
(with Irish accent) “To be sure, to be sure."
Richard says of a large colleague that she needs to buy “an extra seat for her breasts”.
In one phrase we daringly tell Roger to be "less flaccid”. After 5 seconds of impassiveness he says, “What’s the difference between an eskimo and a eunuch?”, then virtuosically rattles off this linguistic string:
“An eskimo is a frigid midget with a rigid digit, and a eunuch is a placid vassal with a flaccid tassel.”
Can we keep them?
When we play Grappelli, Richard makes an extraordinary sound. It's as if he’s picked up the whole room and set it down again, a dozen yards away. Where did that come from?
Can we keep them?
Richard cheek-kisses Jasmine after the concert. When she apologizes for being sweaty, he says, "I like the taste of salt".
On the train Roger and we co-compose a poem in iambic tetrameter. Roger’s lines contain the words "he's a poof!" and "piddling purse".
Can we keep them?
Our concert at Mill Hill Music Club is among the most magical we can remember playing. It's experiences like this that make life worth living and, once they've happened, make us unable to remember what life before them was like.
Can we keep —
Er — that is — keep them as page turners to irreplaceables Debbie and Cheyen, ahem.
Do we feel guilty featuring a liaison, and hankering for the perpetuation of its delights, on a website that publicizes and promotes our marriage? Yes yes of course. We'll wrap up — after we share one more memory.
During a conversation about spouses (literal ones), we asked Roger and Richard what the secret to a successful marriage was. They said, "Marrying the right person — or not marrying the wrong person".
We think we Formosa-married the right people. How do we know? Well, for one thing, we will methodically lattice and hedgehog anyone who engages in even the most piddling string-quartet behavior with Debbie and Cheyen. To you irresistible violinists out there: don't give it a wanking thought.
Formosa Quartet cellist Deborah Pae talks to Formosa violinist Jasmine Lin about her cello, her passion for cooking, and other subjects human and alien.Read More
It is with great pleasure that the Formosa Quartet announces its new member, cellist Deborah Pae.
An internationally acclaimed artist, Deborah has built a rich and varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, teacher, and pioneer of new music. Her numerous awards include grants from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund, DoMusica Foundation, and National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, as well as the silver medal in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition with Trio Modetre, the ensemble she co-founded. She has been a featured artist at renowned festivals including Marlboro, Ravinia, Crans-Montana Classics, and Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove. After three years as Artist-in-Residence at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium, Deborah has recently returned to the United States where she continues a full concert season of solo recitals and chamber music appearances in Europe, Asia, and North America. Hailed by Gramophone as "exceptionally gifted" and "breathtaking", Deborah has shared the stage with many of the world's celebrated artists including Itzhak Perlman, Miriam Fried, Pamela Frank, and Kim Kashkashian, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Cleveland Quartets.
The Formosa Quartet is thrilled to welcome both Deborah and her Vincenzo Postiglione (c. 1885) cello, generously on loan from the Arts and Letters Foundation, and looks forward to an exciting musical future in its new formation. Deborah begins playing as a part of Formosa immediately commencing with a 4-day residency at UCSD from April 18-21, 2016, during which Formosa will record Lei Liang's Verge Quartet as well as perform Liang's Song Recollections, a piece based on aboriginal Taiwanese folk songs — whose premiere, presented by Art of Élan in San Diego, was recently given by Formosa with Deborah as cellist. This June Deborah will make her inaugural trip to Taiwan with Formosa to premiere a commission by New-Zealand composer Garreth Farr for harp and string quartet.
Deborah succeeds cellist and founding member Ru-Pei Yeh, who remains in the Formosa Quartet family and whose warmth, humor, and artistry will be much missed by Formosa's audiences. Formosa extends its heartfelt thanks to Ru-Pei and celebrates her artistic contribution with its new CD on the Delos label (released April 6, 2016), featuring Brahms and Gernsheim piano quintets with pianist Reiko Uchida.
Winners of the First Prize and the Amadeus Prize at the London International String Quartet Competition in 2006, the Formosa Quartet is “one of the very best quartets of their generation” (David Soyer, cellist of the Guarneri Quartet). Its debut recording on the EMI label was hailed as “spellbinding” (Strad Magazine) and “remarkably fine” (Gramophone), and the quartet has given critically acclaimed performances at the Ravinia Festival, the Caramoor Festival, the Library of Congress, the Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Rice University, San Francisco State University, and Wigmore Hall in London. Formed in 2002 when the four founding members came together for a concert tour of Taiwan, the Formosa Quartet is deeply committed to championing Taiwanese music and promoting the arts in the land of its heritage and the world beyond.