Eastern Michigan University College of Arts and Sciences announces new McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair – the world-renowned Formosa Quartet

The quartet's residency will include live events open to the public

Formosa Quartet

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University College of Arts and Science is proud to announce the Formosa Quartet as the 2023-2024 McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair in the Humanities. The Formosa Quartet is an acclaimed American string quartet, first prize and Amadeus Prize winners at the 10th Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. The quartet’s residency at EMU is scheduled for Jan. 14-20 and March 31 - April 6, 2024. It includes a series of conversations, open rehearsals and performances, designed and performed in part by EMU faculty and students.

Each year, EMU’s College of Arts and Sciences hosts a nominated McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair who is a scholar, writer, or artist of national prominence in the arts or humanities. The chair shares a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise with the EMU community and general public through a series of events and classes. 

In 2023-2024, the Formosa Quartet will launch the “American Mirror Project,” in which Eastern Michigan University will participate. This project examines the assumptions and perceptions found within American culture through the lens of music and performing arts. 

“The project revolves around two primary questions: What is ‘America’ and how would you mirror or respond to ‘America’ in your creative practice,” said Deborah Pae, Formosa Quartet cellist and associate professor of cello at EMU. “By nature, such an examination is deeply inclusive of every voice in America. Through thought-provoking and dynamic musical performances, this project is an opportunity for the Formosa Quartet to showcase our evolving reflections on these questions while creating a platform to mirror others and their communities and the places where these performances happen.”

The Formosa Quartet invites EMU students, educators and community members across disciplines to reflect on these questions and, in answering what America is to them, broaden ways they mirror “America” in their creative practice. 

 “Many activities hosted during the residency will be open to the public,” said Jim Egge, associate dean for programs at EMU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “We look forward to welcoming the Southeast Michigan community to the stunning Pease Auditorium for our main events.” 

The ensemble has built and sustained an astounding career for over two decades, using the string quartet to support advocacy, storytelling, community-building, and innovation. They have performed in major concert venues, including the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., Taipei’s National Concert Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, and the Kammermusiksaal at the Berliner Philharmonie. Their 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 exploring rich folk traditions and heritages found in America today.

Thanks to the generous support of private donors and the provost's office, the College has scheduled two weeks of residency for the Formosa Quartet. Donations to the Formosa Quartet Residency Fund may be made through the Foundation website.

EMU community members interested in participating in the program and professors interested in integrating the “American Mirror Project” into their winter 2024 classes may contact EMU Associate Dean James Egge or Professor Deborah Pae.


About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s
rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

May 10, 2023

Written by:
Victoria Scott

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher