Every month, Bonnie North chats with cellist Robert Cohen for On That Note. Often the conversations take place on Skype because Robert is in some far-flung place where he is performing, either on his own or as part of a group. This month, Cohen came by the Lake Effect studio to talk face to face, along with violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez, the Fine Arts Quartet's violist.
Cohen and Hernandez play together in the Milwaukee-based Fine Arts Quartet. Hernandez says he has a passion for playing in groups. Like Cohen, he's been able to travel the world with his music and adds that performing in third world countries has inspired him to keep pursuing music.
"In my 20s, I was wondering: how am I contributing to this world?" says Hernandez. "When I started doing those outreach projects, it showed me that that could be a really concrete way of helping youth."
Cohen agrees, and believes these outreach projects have allowed him to grow as a person and a musician. "Every experience, whether it's teaching, meeting somebody, or appreciating a piece of art all adds to your own personal development," he says. "You can, if you're really dedicated, bring that to enhance your way of communicating and what you love about the music."