Violist Nicholas Cords is strongly committed to the advocacy and performance of music from a very broad historical and geographical spectrum. His busy touring schedule has led him in recent years to Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, Alice Tully Hall, the Cologne Philharmonie, and the Library of Congress. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Philadelphia, Chicago Symphony, Minnesota, and New York String Seminar orchestras. His chamber music credits include performances at the Schleswig-Holstein, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, Piccolo Spoleto, Lincoln Center, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Smithsonian Folklife, and Charlottesville festivals.
Mr. Cords is a regular member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, which has traveled not only to many of the major musical centers of the United States and Europe, but also to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Egypt, Iran, Syria, and a number of the Central Asian Republics. In addition to performing with the Ensemble, Mr. Cords has helped organize and develop new creative projects and programming for concerts and museum residencies; he has also had an active role in two long-term university residencies, one at Rhode Island School of Design, the other at Harvard. Mr. Cords appears on all three of the Ensemble’s albums released by Sony Classical: When Strangers Meet, Beyond the Horizon, and New Impossibilities.
He has appeared frequently on television and radio, including a Chinese National Television broadcast from the Great Wall, the Late Show with David Letterman, National Public Radio broadcasts, Good Morning America, and an NHK Japan documentary; he was also a resident commentator and performer on WQXR’s weekly On A-I-R. Mr. Cords is a member of many ensembles, including the Caramoor Virtuosi, An die Musik, Richardson Chamber Players, the Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, and Brooklyn Rider.
Mr. Cords won top honors in the viola competition at Juilliard and 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 have included Karen Tuttle, Harvey Shapiro, Joseph Fuchs, and Felix Galimir. Mr. Cords teaches at the Bennington Chamber Music and Composers Conference and serves as viola instructor at Princeton University. He has participated as a mentor in professional training workshops at Carnegie Hall and has also delivered a series of teacher workshops for the New York City Department of Education. Mr. Cords plays on an instrument made for him in 2004 Samuel Zygmuntowicz.