For more than two decades, omnivorous violist Nicholas Cords has been on the front line of a growing constellation of projects.
IMAGE CREDIT: Erin Baiano
For more than two decades, omnivorous violist Nicholas Cords has been on the front line of a growing constellation of projects as performer, educator, and cultural advocate. As newly appointed Co-Artistic director of Silkroad, founding member of Brooklyn Rider, and Artist In Residence at Stony Brook University, he is deeply committed to music from a broad variety of traditions and epochs, with a particular passion for the cross-section between the long tradition of classical music and the polyglot music of today.
Another key aspect of Nicholas’ busy musical life is as founding member of Brooklyn Rider, an intrepid group which NPR credits with “recreating the 300-year-old form of the string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble.” In a short amount of time, Brooklyn Rider’s singular mission and gripping performance style have resulted in an indelible contribution to the world of the string quartet and has brought in legions of fans across the spectrum.
Beginning his musical education at the Juilliard School, Nicholas 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. His teachers and mentors have included Karen Tuttle, Harvey Shapiro, Joseph Fuchs, and Felix Galimir.
A committed teacher, Nicholas is currently viola faculty at New England Conservatory. Mr. Cords plays on an instrument made for him in 2014 by famed Brooklyn maker Samuel Zygmuntowicz, modeled on the ex-William Primrose Giuseppe Guarneri (filius Andrea) from 1697. He performs on bows from a wide variety of the world’s top modern makers including Charles Espey and Benoit Rolland.