Jennifer Koh


Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. With an impassioned musical curiosity, she forges an artistic path of her own devising, choosing works that both inspire and challenge. She is dedicated to performing the violin repertoire of all eras from traditional to contemporary, believing that the past and present form a continuum.

The exploration of Bach's music and its influence in today's musical landscape has played an important role in Ms. Koh's artistic journey. She is also passionate in her efforts to expand the violin repertoire and has established relationships with many of today's composers, regularly commissioning and premiering new works. In 2009, she debuted "Bach and Beyond" a three-recital series that explores the history of solo violin repertoire from Bach's Sonatas and Partitas to works by modern day composers and new commissions; and she frequently performs the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas in a single concert. Ms. Koh's future projects include "Ligeti Synergy," a collaborative video and music project with filmmaker and video artist Tal Rosner to be premiered in 2014; "Bridge to Beethoven," a series of recitals pairing Beethoven's violin sonatas with new works by Andrew Norman, Vijay Iyer, and Anthony Cheung to be launched in 2015; and a staged version of Bach's complete Sonatas and Partitas directed by Robert Wilson to be debuted in 2016.

Ms. Koh has performed with leading orchestras around the world including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Chicago, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, New World, Montreal, and National Symphonies. Abroad she has appeared with the Czech Philharmonic, BBC London and Scottish Symphonies, Helsinki Philharmonic, Lahti Symphony, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, and Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo in Brazil. A prolific recitalist, she frequently appears at major music centers and festivals.

Highlights of her 2013–2014 season include "Bach and Beyond" recitals worldwide and "Two x Four" concerts with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Alabama Symphony Orchestra. She made her Munich Philharmonic debut with Lorin Maazel, and performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. She performed the role of Einstein in Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach in Los Angeles and Berlin.

Other concerts include the U.S. premiere of Kaija Saariaho's Frises for violin and electronics, Bach's Partita No. 2 at the Miller Theatre in New York City, and the New York premiere of Jennifer Higdon's The Singing Rooms, a concerto for violin and chorus, with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall.

Two x Four is Ms. Koh's ninth recording for Cedille Records. Other albums include Signs, Games + Messages, a recording of violin and piano works by Janácek, Bartók, and Kurtág with pianist Shai Wosner; Bach & Beyond Part 1, based on her recital series; Rhapsodic Musings: 21st Century Works for Solo Violin; the Grammy-nominated String Poetic, featuring the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's eponymous work, performed with pianist Reiko Uchida; Schumann's complete violin sonatas (also with Uchida); Portraits with the Grant Park Orchestra under conductor Carlos Kalmar featuring concertos by Szymanowski, Martinu, and Bartók; Violin Fantasies: fantasies for violin and piano by Schubert, Schumann, Schoenberg, and saxophonist Ornette Coleman (with Uchida); and her first Cedille album, from 2002, Solo Chaconnes, an earlier reading of Bach's Second Partita coupled with chaconnes by Richard Barth and Max Reger.

Born in Chicago of Korean parents, Ms. Koh began playing the violin by chance, choosing the instrument in a Suzuki-method program only because spaces for cello and piano had been filled. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11 and went on to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Ms. Koh has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin College and studied at the Curtis Institute, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir.

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