The Cordova Quartet was formed in the Fall of 2013 at Rice University in Houston, TX where they were coached primarily by Desmond Hoebig and Norman Fischer. They are currently the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the University of Texas, studying with the Miró Quartet.
ANDY LIANG, VIOLIN
Andy Liang is an accomplished violinist in solo, orchestral, and chamber music playing. Mr. Liang has been a featured soloist with orchestras such as the Oregon Symphony, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Portland Youth Philharmonic, and the National Repertory Orchestra. He has also served as concertmaster of the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Youth Philharmonic, and as the Assistant Concertmaster of the National Repertory Orchestra. At the age of 13, Andy was the Northwest Regional MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) Junior String Competition winner as well as a national finalist. He has also performed in masterclasses and chamber ensembles coached by artists including Joseph Silverstein, Martin Chalifour, Ani Kavafian, Andrés Cárdenas, Sheryl Staples, James Dunham, and Desmond Hoebig. Andy has been featured on the radio program “From the Top” and attended music festivals including the Madeline Island Music Camp, Sarasota Music Festival and the International Holland Music Sessions. Andy began his violin studies with his father at the age of five and later studied with Carol Sindell and Kathryn Gray. Andy received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Violin Performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, studying with Cho-Liang Lin.
NICCOLO MUTI, VIOLIN
Niccoló Muti recently completed his Master’s Degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he was awarded the Vicki West Prize to study with Kathleen Winkler. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, studying on a merit scholarship. His former teachers include Lee Chin Siow, Mimi Zweig, and Claudia Warburg.
Mr. Muti has participated in several prestigious summer music festivals and masterclasses including the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, Valdres Sommersymfoni in Valdres, Norway, Litomysl International Violin Masterlclasses in Litomysl, Czech Republic, and Margess International Music Festival in Zuoz, Switzerland. Niccoló has won numerous competitions and awards, among them the Senior Division of South Carolina’s MTNA Competition in 2006 and the Charleston Symphony League Scholarship in 2007. He made his solo debut in January 2007 playing Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso with the State Philarmonic Orchestra of Romania in Spoleto, Italy. Five months later, Niccoló made his American solo debut playing Dvorak’s Romance in F minor with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. In 2012, Mr. Muti founded Incontri Musicali, an annual summer music festival that brings classical music’s most promising young musicians to Spoleto, Italy for three weeks of chamber music performances.
BLAKE TURNER, VIOLA
A native of San Antonio, Texas, violist Blake Turner has appeared in a wide range of venues around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the World Trade Center in Curaçao, Netherland Antilles, and Miami’s New World Center. Blake received his Bachelor’s degree in viola performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, where he served as principal violist of both the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. An active orchestral musician, Blake recently joined the Austin Symphony and has performed as a substitute with the Houston Symphony and the New World Symphony. He also performed with the San Antonio Symphony after winning the American Viola Society’s Orchestral Excerpt Competition. He has been invited to appear in music festivals in Aspen, Colorado, and Madeline Island, Wisconsin.
As a member of the Cordova Quartet, Blake developed a winter concert series in collaboration with the Aspen Music Festival to bring chamber music to Aspen during the ski season. Upcoming projects with the Cordova include a week-long performance and outreach residency with the Madeline Island Music Camp in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Beyond classical music, Blake enjoys exploring improvisation, jazz, and pop music as a member of the Alkali Ensemble. This fall, he will be featured in the ensemble’s upcoming EP release. Blake has also won first prize in regional fiddling competitions and particularly enjoys impromptu jam sessions with his brothers.
Mr. Turner is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Texas, studying viola with John Largess. When not performing music, Blake finds the time to swing dance and has blogged for the American Viola Society about topics ranging from fiddling to orchestral etiquette.
MATTHEW KUFCHAK, CELLO
Matthew Kufchak began playing cello at age four. He completed his Bachelor and Master degrees in Cello Performance at Rice University in Houston, Texas, studying with Desmond Hoebig and Lynn Harrell. He has also studied with Wendy Morton, Alice Ann O’Neill, and Muriel Bodley.
Matthew was a recipient of From the Top’s prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award in 2007. He was also a silver medalist in the Junior Division of the 2006 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Mr. Kufchak spent four summers at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he was a fellowship student and served as principal cellist of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Orchestra and the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also served as principal cellist of the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra at Rice and of Alkali, a small conductor-less string ensemble.
In his free time, Matthew enjoys photography, drinking craft beer, and attempting to brew the perfect cup of coffee. He also loves cooking with his wife Bailey and playing frisbee.