2023-24 McAndless Professors the Formosa Quartet

Formosa Quartet

The McAndless Professors for 2023-24 were the Formosa Quartet, an American string quartet hailed for their "spellbinding virtuosity" (BBC Music Magazine), "technical brilliance" (Classic FM), and "dazzling tone" (Charleston Gazette). Committed to an insatiable search for the fresh and new in string quartet expression, the Formosa Quartet gives performances that "go beyond the beautiful and into the territory of unexpectedly thrilling" (MUSO Magazine). 

Since winning the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the 10th Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, the Formosa Quartet has performed at major concert venues including the Smithsonian, Taipei’s National Concert Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, and the Kammermusiksaal at the Berliner Philharmonie. For two decades and counting, the ensemble has sustained a vibrant career using the string quartet as a vehicle for advocacy, storytelling, community-building, and innovation. The Formosa Quartet’s commitment to arts advocacy and diversity, starting with its founding members' interest in championing Taiwanese music, particularly traditions of Indigenous cultures, has since expanded to include the exploration of rich folk traditions and heritages found in America today. 

In 2023-2024, the Formosa Quartet launched the "American Mirror Project," a collaborative initiative that holds up mirrors to America and highlights personal reflections of what America means. What does your America look like? What comes to mind when you think of America? What aspects of America reveal themselves to you through your lens? Through thought-provoking and dynamic musical performances, this project is an opportunity for the Formosa Quartet to showcase their own evolving reflections on these questions while creating a platform to mirror others, their communities, and the places in which these performances happen. The Formosa Quartet invited fellow musicians, composers, creatives, students, and educators across disciplines to reflect on these questions, examine their perceptions and assumptions about American culture, and to broaden ways in which they mirror "America" in their creative practice. Initially conceived as a Formosa Quartet program offering, the "American Mirror Project" has expanded to include dialogue and collaborations across the country. 

To explore the themes of the American Mirror Project, Formosa Quartet’s two weeks of residency included a series of conversations with students and faculty across disciplines at the College of Arts and Sciences, open rehearsals, and a culminating concert, the first of which was designed and performed in part by EMU students and faculty. 

The College was able to schedule two weeks of residency for the Formosa Quartet through the McAndless endowment, the support of the Provost's office, and the generous giving of private donors. 

Watch the January 20, 2024 performance of American Mirror Project | An Ypsilanti Mirror

American Mirror Project | An Ypsilanti Mirror [full concert]

Excerpted videos from the concert: