Drew Forde - Eccles Visiting Scholar

Drew Forde

October 22, 2020
The Great Hall

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Eccles Visiting Scholar George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation
SUU and A.P.E.X. Events is most grateful for the support from The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation which made this event possible.

A fiery, passionate performer who leaves everything on the stage, Drew Alexander Forde gives his all to audiences. Hailing from The Juilliard School, Drew regularly performs throughout the United States. Described by NPR as “outgoing, nerdy, and unabashedly enthusiastic about classical music,” Drew connects with audiences in a way that leaves them wanting more.

Known as “ThatViolaKid" (TVK), the acclaimed LA based violist, social media star and music collaborator seeks to demystify the stubborn perceptions of classical music, and will speak about all music genres and perform for our audience.


A.P.E.X. Events was proud to welcome violist and social media sensation, Drew Forde (known as ThatViolaKid on his social media platforms) to SUU’s beautiful campus as an Eccles Visiting Scholar on October 22, 2020. Forde is a fiery, passionate performer who leaves everything on the stage. An acclaimed expert in classical music’s social media and brand building, Forde believes in the power of documentation, building his Instagram following of over 120,000 in part by generating large scale online movements, including #PlayHomiePlay and #JourneytoJuilliard. His own releases include an original rap/viola hybrid single, Duality, and a collaborative cover of Adele’s “Hello” with Seattle Symphony cellist Nathan Chan, which has over 500,000 views on YouTube. Forde was introduced to the stage by the Chair of SUU’s Music Department, Dr. Lawrence Johnson.

After a warm welcome from the audience, Forde kicked things off with a passionate performance, captivating each person in the room with every soulful note. At the end of his performance, Dr. Vartan complimented his incredible playing ability, to which Drew responded humbly and humorously. Dr. Vartan asked Drew a question about the power of music in his life during the COVID-19 crisis, and Drew responded with a beautiful comparison of the ups and downs of life to consonance and dissonance in music; “When that dissonance is fixed, everything is beautiful, easier, comfortable,” and consonant. When listening to music, Drew advises to “find the chords that hit you and listen to how they resolve musically,” yet another comparison to solving troubling problems.

Forde played another piece, Henri Vieuxtemps’ “Capriccio ('Hommage a Paganini') in C minor, Op.55” and shared with the audience the story of the relationship between Vieuxtemps and legendary violin virtuoso, Niccolo Paganini, and how devastated Vieuxtemps was upon hearing of Paganini’s death. Through yet another soulful and powerful performance, Drew tells this story of Vieuxtemps musically going through the stages of grief as he wrote a melancholically exquisite piece of music.

Forde is known for his massive social media following and him and Dr. Vartan discussed his successful venture into entrepreneurship in the professional arts industry. Drew talked about how a change of mindset changed everything for him; initially, Drew had struggled as an undergraduate college student, and upon realizing that he would have to make a living for himself somehow after graduating, Drew reimagined his entire outlook on his life and a career in the arts, and made it his personal mission to diligently pursue his passion of playing viola.

- By Emily Sexton


Audio Transcript