McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair

The Formosa Quartet Are the 2023-24 McAndless Professors

The 2023-24 McAndless Distinguished Professors are the Formosa QuartetThe Formosa Quartet will be at EMU January 14-20 and March 31-April 6, 2024. 

The Formosa Quartet
The Formosa Quartet
The Formosa Quartet

The Formosa Quartet

The Formosa Quartet is 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 is launching 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 invites 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 residency will include a series of conversations with students and faculty across disciplines at the College of Arts and Sciences, open rehearsals, and a culminating concert, which will be designed and performed in part by EMU students and faculty. EMU community members interested in participating in this programming or in integrating the American Mirror Project into their Winter 2024 classes are invited to contact Professor Deborah Pae and Associate Dean Jim Egge.

The College has been 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. Donations to the Formosa Quartet Residency Fund may be made through the Foundation website.

January Residency Events

All events are free and open to the public.

Meet and Greet with the Formosa Quartet

Tuesday, January 16, 11:30 am-12:30 pm
Strong Hall Atrium
Meet the members of the Formosa Quartet, learn about their “American Mirror Project”, and hear them perform a selection of tunes from their upcoming concert on January 20. 

Star Lecture Series Presents "An American Roadmap" by the Formosa Quartet

Wednesday, January 17, 6:30-8:00 pm
Honors College Auditorium
In this lecture presented by Eastern Michigan University’s Honors College Star Lecture Series, join the Formosa Quartet on a musical tour of America. From the blues to bluegrass to jazz to Motown, the Formosa Quartet will discuss the historical context behind musical selections as well as the group’s own journey in developing the American Mirror Project inspired by Derek Skye’s work of the same name. 

Thursday Noon Recital: Open Rehearsal with the Formosa Quartet

Thursday, January 18, 12:00-12:50 pm
Alexander Music Building, Alexander Recital Hall (Room 110)
Curious how an award-winning chamber music ensemble works behind-the-scenes? How do they dissect a piece of music and prepare for a concert? Come see the Formosa Quartet prepare for their American Mirror Project concert on January 20 followed by a Q&A.

Open Rehearsal with the Formosa Quartet and the EMU Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, January 18, 1:00-2:50 pm
Honors College Trinity Auditorium 
Join the Formosa Quartet and EMU Strings as they prepare works by Rhiannon Giddens and Charles Singleton for their American Mirror Project concert on January 20.

A Night of Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert

Thursday, January 18, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Pease Auditorium
The Formosa Quartet is honored to perform in Eastern Michigan University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration concert, which will present performances by EMU students, staff, and alumni and community members.

Open Rehearsal with the Formosa Quartet and the EMU Choir

Friday, January 19 1:00-2:50 pm
Honors College Trinity Auditorium
Come see the Formosa Quartet and EMU Choir prepare a selection of gospel tunes arranged by the quartet for their American Mirror Project concert on January 20.

The American Mirror Project | An Ypsilanti Mirror

Saturday, January 20, 7:30-9:00 pm
The EMU Honors College Auditorium
In this concert, An Ypsilanti Mirror, the Formosa Quartet will engage the EMU and Ypsilanti communities in their American Mirror Project. The American Mirror Project is a collaborative initiative that holds up mirrors to America and highlights personal reflections of what America means. The concert will include the world premiere of Dana Wilson’s “Mirror” for String Quartet and Narration incorporating personal Mirror statements by EMU community members read by EMU students and faculty. The program will also include performances by the EMU Symphony Orchestra and EMU Choir featuring works by Rhiannon Giddens, Charlton Singleton, Jessie Montgomery, and many more taking listeners through the history of our University and city. 

Parking will be free for patrons in the Pease Guest Lot. Enter off Perrin.

Questions? Please contact the CAS Dean's Office at 734.487.4344 or [email protected].

  • About the McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair

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    Every year the M. Thelma McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair in the Humanities brings to the College of Arts and Sciences a visiting scholar, writer, or artist of national prominence in the arts or humanities. The chair was established in 1986 through a generous bequest from the late M. Thelma McAndless, Professor of English Language and Literature. 

  • McAndless Committee Members

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    Victor Okafor, Africology & African-American Studies
    Leslie Atzmon, Art & Design
    Jeromy Hopgood, Communication, Media & Theatre Arts
    Melissa Jones, English Language & Literature
    Steven Ramold, History & Philosophy
    Anderson Romero, Music & Dance
    Laura McMahon, Women's & Gender Studies
    Audrey Viguier, World Languages
    Megan Moore, Honors College
    James Egge, Dean's Office
  • Past McAndless Professors

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    2022 Petra Kuppers
    2021 Kevin Boyle
    2020 Jeremy Crampton, Claudia Hart, and Stephanie Kerschbaum
    2019 Corine Vermeulen
    2018 José Carlos Aguiar de Souza
    2016 Alison Kafer
    2015 Annette J. Saddik
    2014 Daniel Johnston
    2013 Laurie A. Finke
    2012 Evan Roth
    2011 Mark Carnes
    2010 Farzaneh Milani
    2009 Ali Mazrui
    2008 Marshall Poe
    2007 N. Scott Hofmann
    2006 Scott McCloud
    2005 Ben Vereen
    2003 Jayne Cortez
    2002 Cheryl Dileo
    2002 Gillian Eaton
    2000 Bouthaina Shaaban
    1999 Susan Tatershall
    1998 Roger W. Wilkins
    1996 Sarah Daniels
    1996 Tom Regan
    1995 Gwynne Dyer
    1993 Bei Dao
    1993 Nicholas Pennell
    1991 Sondra Freckelton
    1990 Kenneth Burke
    1990 Nancy Ford
    1988 Peter Strevens
    1988 Richard Hunt
    1986 Maxine Hong Kingston


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