Mercer Artist: violist Drew Forde

Drew Forde, a senior viola performance major, is a student at Mercer’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings.

Having started his artistic training at the age of 11, Forde explained that his first years of experience with the viola began in middle school. Initially, he played percussion and sang in his school’s chorus but later decided to learn a stringed instrument.

 “I had never played a stringed instrument, but I had always wanted to try. Something happened when I first plucked those strings. From then on, I was hooked,” said Forde.

Forde confessed that his orchestral experience in high school was not excellent. He did, however, recall a favorite unforgettable experience. During Forde’s senior year, his high school was given the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall. Since then, Forde has had numerous musical opportunities to add to his resume.

For three years, Forde was a member of the Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra, where he played under the baton of Jerry Flint. Flint is a section cellist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra  (ASO) as well as an assistant conductor of the ASO.

“That was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Jerry Flint taught me great things about music,” said Forde.

Initially, Forde admitted to having an interest in astrophysics. He later realized that his true passion was with music, and he decided on actively pursuing performance at Mercer.

In addition to his love for the viola, Forde shared that he thoroughly enjoys reading. Personal development is one of his favorite literature topics, and finds it supplemental to his viola performance.

“When you become more of a well-rounded, multi-faceted human being that can also translate into your music in such a way. Because all music is, is an extension of humanity,” said Forde.

Forde went on to describe a difficult situation, during which he sought the piano for comfort and composed a piece of music in order to cope with life’s challenges.

“When I have a bad day, I take it to the practice room. Using music as fuel during bad times in life can lead to very honest and intimate music,” said Forde.

Forde can attest that, for many artists, inspiration is so crucial to for the development of their work. He says that there is no specific source of inspiration for him, but rather many sources and outlets that produce the simplest forms of inspiration.

As a senior, Forde recollects his time spent here at Mercer’s Townsend School of Music.

“Every single teacher here has taken me under their wing regardless of their expertise. They’ve all come together and given me such valuable nuggets of wisdom when it comes to music. They’ve shown me different ways of interpretation and points of view. I can boldly say that when I leave here I’ll be able to apply all of them, and actually become a more well- rounded musician,” says Forde.

In the near future, Forde plans to audition for several graduate schools in the hopes of getting accepted into a music program. Some of the schools include Julliard, Yale, and Eastman.  He is also considering a doctoral school as well as an artist’s diploma and hopes to audition for the New World Symphony Orchestra.