How I Spent My Summer: Cordova Quartet

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The University of Texas campus was quiet over the summer, while students and faculty spent their time working on projects around the globe. The College of Fine Arts was no exception. Students and faculty from all three departments took advantage of the break from coursework to pursue research, teach seminars or test the waters of a future career. Here is a glimpse into what happens when classes end, and the fun begins.

Butler School of Music’s Cordova Quartet members Andy Liang, Niccolo Muti, Blake Turner and Matthew Kufchak, took their young professional string quartet on the road. They first stopped in in New York to study with the Juilliard Quartet. Then, they traveled to Canada for a three-week residency at the Banff Centre. Cellist Matt Kufchak answered questions about their summer.

Cordova Quartet members during a hike in Banff, Canada.Tell me a little bit about your travels this summer to New York and Canada. What was the experience like to participate in the Juilliard seminar and perform at the Lincoln Center?

Being in New York was an amazing experience. We had four days of intensive study with the Juilliard Quartet, receiving two coachings from each of the members, and to be able to perform in a place with such a rich artistic history and get to know the members of the quartet was very inspiring!

Is there anything about your residency at the Banff Centre that stands out?

The residency in Banff is such an incredible opportunity because it is designed so that the participants can structure it in the way that they can get the most out of it. It was basically like a retreat from everyday life where we focused on rehearsing and spending time in nature, and we were able to get top-notch feedback from the faculty there a few times a week. The beauty of the mountains there is probably what stands out to me the most. The scenery was breathtaking.

During either trip, did you guys get to break away and have some fun?

Absolutely! There was lots of hiking and relaxing in Banff in addition to music-making. New York was a bit more hectic and time-constricted, but we tried to set aside time each evening to explore the city and catch up with old friends who live there. Both trips were lots of fun!

What have you guys learned over the summer to bring back for your second year at UT?

I think the biggest thing we got out of both of these trips was having additional perspectives from different coaches. Everyone has their own personal way of listening to and playing music, and any time we can get feedback from other people who might approach a problem in a different way or put the same solution into different words, it's extremely helpful! We are definitely learning to streamline our rehearsal process and learn music more quickly, which I think will be very valuable to us this year.

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