Violist Nicholas Cords is strongly committed to the advocacy and performance of music from a very broad historic and geographical spectrum. He has appeared frequently on television and radio including a Chinese National Television broadcast from the Great Wall, the David Letterman Show, numerous National Public Radio broadcasts, Good Morning America, NHK Japan, and a four year run as resident commentator and performer on WQXR New York’s Radio weekly On A-I-R. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the New York String Seminar Orchestra.
Mr. Cords is a founding member of Brooklyn Rider, a genre-defying string quartet dedicated to creative programming of repertoire both new and old. The group has collaborated with composers all over the globe, as well as with instrumentalists such as Irish fiddler Martin Hayes, Persian kemancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor, and banjo superstar Béla Fleck, to name a few. Equally at home in concert halls and clubs, Brooklyn Rider was the only classical group invited to play in the 2010 South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. This season’s highlights include two North American tours, their second tour of Asian in the spring, and premieres of works by Shara Worden, Gabriel Kahane, Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Padma Newsome, to name a few. Their recordings, Silent City, Passport, Dominant Curve, Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass, and Seven Steps have received wide critical acclaim from sources ranging from Gramophone Magazine to Pitchfork.
He is also a regular member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, a musical collective that uses the historic Silk Road trading route as a metaphor for musical exchange and creativity in the present. The group has not only traveled to many of the major musical centers of the United States and Europe, but also to China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Egypt, Iran, Syria and a number of the Central Asian Republics. In addition to performing with the ensemble, he has taken a role in the organization and development of new creative projects, programming for concerts and museum residencies, and as an active part of two long-term residencies with the group; one at the Rhode Island School of Design and one at Harvard University. Mr. Cords appears on all four of the ensemble’s albums; Silk Road Journeys, Beyond the Horizon, New Impossibilites and Off the Map.
Mr. Cords began his musical education at the Juilliard School where he won top honors in the viola competition and subsequently gave the New York premiere of John Harbison’s Viola Concerto at Avery Fisher Hall. He completed his studies at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. A committed teacher, Mr. Cords currently teaches at Stony Brook University in New York. He is a regular contributor to NPR’s classical music blog Deceptive Cadence.