Borromeo String Quartet begins annual residency at CSU

Story by Madeline Bombardi

The internationally acclaimed Borromeo String Quartet keeps local audiences coming back for more.

The Borromeo String Quartet begins its eleventh residency at CSU when the quartet leads master classes and performs as guest artists in the Classical Convergence Series co-presented by the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and the Fort Collins Lincoln Center. This year’s concert takes place on April 15 at 7:30 p.m., in the Griffin Concert Hall. Borromeo-2

The Borromeo String Quartet, which is celebrating its 27th anniversary, features Nicholas Kitchen, violin; Kristopher Tong, violin; Mai Motobuchi viola; and Yeesun Kim, cello. They continue their groundbreaking use of laptops as sheet music, video projection backdrops and animated demonstrations as vehicles for sharing their art. Their incorporation of technology enables each musician to read from a full score (as opposed to just their own part) or original manuscripts, both unique experiences within an ensemble setting. Each visionary performance brings a fresh interpretation of classical canon and captures patrons’ attention.

Audiences are stimulated by Borromeo’s ability to bring a contemporary fire to often-heard repertoire, while making even the most challenging new music approachable. “Only a few groups in the world can do what the Borromeo achieve; it’s an honor to be a part of that experience here at CSU,” said Ron Francois, coordinator of Strings at CSU and organizer of the residency.

A critical component of the Classical Convergence Series is artist-student interaction. While in Fort Collins, the quartet will inspire students at both the pre-college and college level, giving master classes at Colorado State University and select Poudre School District high schools. These sessions provide dynamic, hands-on instruction for students learning how to play chamber music, while strengthening their technique. High school students participating in the Pre-College Chamber Music Program will perform a free concert at CSU on April 16 at 2 p.m., showcasing the new skills they have acquired.

“The Borromeo are excellent teachers. They connect with the students, are really down-to-earth, and inspire everyone,” said Francois. “I love working with [them] because I am attracted to their way of playing. The way they teach and play is similar to my personal style and teaching philosophy, [and] I learn new things from them every year.”

The Borromeo String Quartet residency is a vital component of music education in Fort Collins. Their expertise as skilled performers and dynamic ability to make a score come alive is invaluable for young musicians learning to express themselves in a fluid artistic form. The community will benefit from the opportunity to hear classical music played at a pinnacle level, while learning from the best.