This concert features piano quintets by Brahms and Gernsheim, with guest 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 best string quartets of its 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.
In August 2013, the Formosa Quartet inaugurated the annual Formosa Chamber Music Festival in Hualien, Taiwan. Modeled after American summer festivals such as Marlboro, Ravinia, the Taos School of Music, and Kneisel Hall, FCMF is the product of long-held aspirations and years of planning, and represents one of the quartet’s more important missions: to bring high-level chamber music training to talented young musicians in Taiwan and first-rate music to Taiwanese audiences.
In its relatively brief existence, the Formosa Quartet’s active commissioning has contributed significantly to the 21st century’s string quartet literature. In 2014, they will premiere Taiwanese-American composer Shih-Hui Chen’s Returning Souls: Four Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends. The Quartet’s recording of its first commission from Ms. Chen, the Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossom, was released on the New World Records label in 2013. Other pieces recently written for the Quartet include Dana Wilson’s Hungarian Folk Songs, Wei-Chieh Lin’s Pasibutbut, and Thomas Oboe Lee’s Piano Quintet and Jasmine Variations.
The members of the Formosa Quartet – Jasmine Lin, Wayne Lee, Che-Yen Chen, and Ru-Pei Yeh – have established themselves as leading solo, chamber, and orchestral musicians. With degrees from the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, and New England Conservatory, they have performed in major venues throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Australia, and have been top prizewinners in prestigious competitions such as the Paganini, Primrose, Naumburg, and Tertis competitions. As chamber musicians, they have appeared regularly at the Marlboro, Kingston, Santa Fe, Ottawa, Ravinia, South Bank, and Berlin festivals, as well as at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Jupiter Chamber Music Series, La Jolla Summerfest, and the Seattle Chamber Music Society. They have held positions in the San Diego Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic, and have taught at the University of Southern California, California State University Fullerton, Roosevelt University, Taos School of Music, Stanford University, McGill University, and the Juilliard School.