Violist Drew Alexander Forde, known online as ThatViolaKid, has a reputation not only as an accomplished performer but also as one of classical music’s most recognizable online brands. Profiled in outlets like Thrillist, WNYC, the Detroit Free Press, and Strings Magazine, he was named “one of the titans of Classical Music Instagram” by National Sawdust Log and was called “the future of our field” by Sphinx Organization president Afa Dworkin.
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. For his efforts, he has been invited as a paid speaker to a wealth of educational institutions and conferences, including the Haag Conservatory in Holland, Carnegie Hall’s Studio 57, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Columbia University, The Juilliard School, Mercer University, International Music Sessions in the Hamptons, Project 440, the International Viola Congress, and Sphinx Connect.
Always one to seek the stage, Forde also maintains an active performing and recording career. In classical settings, he is a seasoned chamber musician, including performing as a Lincoln Center Stage artist, for which he wrote an essay for Strings Magazine, as well as a national tour with the Sphinx Organization as a “Sphinx Virtuosi”. He has a wealth of work as an orchestral musician and soloist, performing as Principal with the Missouri Symphony and as soloist with the National Symphony of the Dominican Republic.
Also highly sought after in popular music, Forde has shared the stage with A-List stars like Alicia Keys, Camila Cabello, Lindsey Stirling, Evanescence, and Josh Groban, among others, and has recording credits with the late Mac Miller on The Divine Feminine. He has also performed on several big-budget video game soundtracks, including Final Fantasy XII Remastered: The Zodiac Age, as well as the Solo Violist on the Kingdom Hearts Tribute Album, Project Destati: Darkness, which reached #2 on the Billboard Classical Charts. 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.
Drew Alexander Forde is currently based in Los Angeles. He holds a Bachelor of Music Diploma from Mercer University and Master of Music Diploma from The Juilliard School, where he was one of ten students to receive a $20,000 Career Advancement Grant, given to those who show significant entrepreneurial promise. He is grateful to his masterful pedagogues, which include Heidi Castleman, Hsin-Yun Huang, Becca Albers, Paul Murphy, and Lawrence Dutton. You can follow him on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook as @ThatViolaKid.
Photographs by: Jiyang Chen