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Take 5: Jennifer Koh
Groundbreaking violinist Jennifer Koh shares her inspirations and upcoming projects in this edition of Take 5!
Koh’s latest album, Limitless celebrates the collaborative spirit between composer and performer and showcases the evocative works (commissioned by Jennifer’s organization ARCO Collaborative) of eight highly-accomplished contemporary composers who perform the works side-by-side with Koh. Limitless releases on September 13!
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
I cannot imagine being anything other than a musician. Currently, I create projects, write papers and give speeches on equity and inclusivity in the arts, and I am artistic director of ARCO, a non-profit that furthers the mission of equity in the music world by commissioning artists to create work engaging with their relationships to their personal and current histories.
Was there a formative moment for you as an artist?
The most formative moments for me were lessons of generosity from numerous mentors. They taught me about the importance of supporting and mentoring others because of the profound effect they had on my own life. It is a gift that they gave me and I believe it is a responsibility for me to continue their legacies in my actions in my life.
What is your most recent project and what sparked your interest in it?
The two projects that I am currently creating are “Everything That Rises Must Converge” which is a multimedia work that brings forward my mother’s experiences as a refugee in the Korean War, as well as her story as an immigrant to the United States. The other project I’m creating is a collaboration with director Robert Wilson and choreographer Lucinda Childs. We are staging all six sonatas and partitas of Bach for solo violin. The work is called Six Solo.
What is your dream recording project?
What makes the Chicago Classical scene unique?
Chicago is a unique and special place to me. I have strong personal relationships with people and arts organizations. They generously supported me when I was younger and those relationships have grown and blossomed throughout my life. I feel incredibly fortunate that they have guided me, as well as supported me through my evolution and growth as a musician.
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