Blog

7 doors from Germany

What were we doing on our Germany tour?

seeing stepping pausing facing

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belonging greeting returning crossing

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opening looking framing calling

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asking answering reaching stating

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opening nearing anchoring moving

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tossing flinging widening turning

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imbibing dreaming blinking inhaling

identities

Who snapped a photo

of shadows by the Fishnet:

riddle or haiku?

 

 Lobster roll or haddock burger? Lunch at the Fishnet in Blue Hill, Maine

Lobster roll or haddock burger? Lunch at the Fishnet in Blue Hill, Maine

Interview: Susan Chamberlain, master of the cryptoquip

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FQ: At what age did you begin doing Cryptoquips?

SC: I was much too old. Given that they are a sleep aid for me, I bemoan my many decades of relying on warm milk, ambien, doing breathing exercises, reading boring stuff, etc. to help me sleep. 

FQ: Which Cryptoquip master has had the most influence on your cryptoquipping style?  

SC: Probably my friend, Peggy, who about 10 years ago was the person who introduced me to them at her cabin in Vermont. Since then I’ve been on my own.

FQ: What have been some highlights of your career as a Cryptoquipist thus far?

SC: Solving it with only 1 letter that matches. That had to evolve though — at first when I saw that situation I would just say “that’s mean of them” and quit. Then back to drinking warm milk which is kind of yucky when you think about it, because you either get re-energized getting up to brush your teeth or sleep with the taste of milk — both unappealing. But no more — I keep going. On occasion, if I’m falling asleep in the middle of it, I will finish it the next day.

FQ: What is your record time for completing a Cryptoquip?  

SC: I guess I better start timing them. I worry though that that may mess up my sleeping strategy.

FQ: Do you recommend eating while cryptoquipping?

SC: Never. I don’t eat in bed. This is my routine: I go to bed, first read the comics, then start the Cryptoquip. I take my time, trying not to get impatient. The first pleasure is completing it; the second is waking my husband up, if necessary, to read him the pun and listen to his groan and his verdict — most often it’s, “that’s really terrible,”  but once in a while I hit the jackpot with “that’s not bad.” Then I’m ready to sleep.

 

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Susan Chamberlain lives in Piedmont CA with her husband John Chalik, the one who groans at puns. Together, they bear the formal title of The Foremost, Finest, Fun-est, Fabulous-est, and Fiendishly-Alliterative-est Friends of Formosa Quartet, and of Piedmont Chamber Music Festival, where FQ will in in residence July 30-Aug 5.   

Campanile Music Festival

Three weeks ago, from April 23-28 we had the pleasure of being guest artists-in-residence at the Campanile Music Festival at San Diego State University. After nine months of brutally cold winter weather, flying to sunny skies, warm weather...and the best tacos (ever...outside of Mexico) was a welcome treat. Did we mention mentoring with the next generation of budding young artists was the cherry on top? In addition to giving instrumental and chamber music masterclasses, we performed Elgar's Introduction and Allegro with the SDSU Chamber Orchestra, joined forces with the amazing Hausmann Quartet in a performance of Mendelssohn's Octet, and gave a special final concert at Scripps Cottage, which included our dear friend, Wei-Chieh Lin's Taiwanese Folk Songs, Beethoven's Opus 59 No. 3, and a revamped set of Grappelli Tunes by Jasmine

Thanks to artistic director, Pei-Chun Tsai, all the volunteers and musicians at Campanile Festival, and our incredible hosts who made this residency a memorable visit.

Crossing Paths

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Wow! Thanks to Keith Powers of Chamber-Music America for featuring Formosa Quartet and our upcoming album 'From Hungary to Taiwan' in this month's magazine! It is a very special recording featuring Bartok's Fourth Quartet and three Formosa commissions by Dana Wilson, Wei-Chieh Jay Lin, and Lei Liang. We know many of you are eagerly waiting for the release — we're at the final stages, about to do photos for the cover, and promise the wait will be worth it!

early shot

 

Cheyen is in the closet.

Jasmine is wearing the same thing she wore yesterday morning. 

Wayne has cucumber slices on his breakfast plate.    

Debbie covers her yawns with her left hand (evidence available upon request). 

Business is not always heat, passion, and excitement.

 

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Feeling the Michigan LOVE

No creative endeavor is possible without the rallying support of equally creative individuals in the community who see the value and impact of music, education, and art. Thank you to Eastern Michigan University's School of Music & Dance for hosting us for a week of intense music making and collaboration with your next generation of young artists and to all the donors and sponsors who rallied to bring us to Michigan!

RESIDENCY SPONSORS

Brick & Mortar Modern General Store
Cultivate Coffee & Tap
Eagles Market
SHAR Music
Sidetrack Bar & Grill
Standard Printing
Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea
Women in Philanthropy at EMU
Ypsilanti Co-Op

DONORS

Anonymous
Beeyi Chen & Yihung Jerry Wu
Pei-Ling & Ian Chen
Wendy Hua Chen
Chin Huey Chao
Sue Mei Dixon
Eastern Michigan University Bands
EMU CELLO
Eastern Michigan University’s College of Arts & Sciences
Eastern Michigan University Marketing
Eastern Michigan University’s School of Music & Dance
Marilyn & Carter Eggers
Bing Goei
Anne Han
Lisa Luo Yi Hou
Ann Hsu
Christina & Roland G. Hwang
TaQuinda Johnson
Yao Kuo
Sue Hua Lai
Kico Lin
Shu-Fen & Chung-Liang Lin
Wendy Wen Yu Liu
Michigan Taiwanese American Organization (MITAI Charity)
Yuk Fan & Ye Chen Pan
Linda Parker
Amy Seetoo
Kimberly Smallwood
Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of Greater Detroit
Natalie Taliaferro
Mary Wang
Nina Sun & Benjamin Y. Wang
Su-Mei & Ching Hsong Wu
Shih-Wen Wu & Yung-Ming Chen

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

The Eastern ECHO
EMU Today
Michigan Chinese American News
The World Journal
Camren Clouthier
David Schall

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FROM RAT MEAT TO CRYSTAL SPRINGS: 15 YEARS OF FORMOSA QUARTET

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!

pants, hands, and baths

 

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.

 

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At the time when this blog was drafted, Wayne was receiving his second Indonesian massage. Stay tuned for more broadcasts of an intimate nature.

we thank you

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. 

a Fruit on trend

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. 

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     And thank you.

multiple choice

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). 

Good luck!

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.


 

 Practical Vampire

Practical Vampire

Formosa Quartet Joins Asia Music Arts (AMA 亞藝藝術)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Formosa Quartet Joins Asia Music Arts (AMA 亞藝藝術)

 Formosa Quartet | From left to right: Jasmine Lin, Wayne Lee, Deborah Pae, and Che-Yen Chen

Formosa Quartet | From left to right: Jasmine Lin, Wayne Lee, Deborah Pae, and Che-Yen Chen

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.

Contact:
Amy Post, Managing Director  
Asia Music & Arts
amypost@asiamusicarts.com.tw

###

18 Questions for Clancy Newman

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? 

CN  Dancing. 

 

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? 

CN  Bartok.

 

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? 

CN  Distraction. 

 

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?

CN  No.



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.


 

 Clancy and Formosa at Pita Inn

Clancy and Formosa at Pita Inn

 Clancy and his wife Angel on Great Ocean Road in Melbourne

Clancy and his wife Angel on Great Ocean Road in Melbourne

Summer Is Coming Soon - Formosa Chamber Music Festival 2017!

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!

Rooster and Target

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.

 

 

The Hidden Talents of Formosa

Did you know...?


 

Cheyen rips a mean pizzicato on bass.

 

 

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Jasmine is good at getting her hands dirty.

 

 

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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?



 

a view from Lin 06

 

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,

 

 

elevated set-ups,

 

 

exquisite morsels,

 

 

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 — !