Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. With an impassioned musical curiosity, she is forging an artistic path of her devising, choosing works that inspire and challenge. She is dedicated to performing the violin repertoire of all eras from traditional to contemporary, believing that the past and present forms a continuum. A model example of how Ms. Koh is realizing her mission to present music without boundaries is her Bach and Beyond project, a series of three recitals that explore the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach's six Sonatas and Partitas to modern day composers including newly commissioned works. Ms. Koh
launched Bach and Beyond in 2009 in commemoration of the 325th anniversary of Bach's birth, and has since performed the recitals worldwide, including at the 92nd Street Y in New York and Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Commemorating the centennial of Lutoslawski's birth, in 2013 Ms. Koh will perform the composer's Chain 2 with the New York Philharmonic led by Lorin Maazel and the Philharmonia Orchestra led by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
After performing Bach's Sonatas and Partitas as part of her Bach and Beyond series as well as separately in other concerts, Ms. Koh undertook the challenge of performing all six works in a single concert — a feat long considered the ultimate test of a violinist's command of her instrument. She has performed the complete cycle for Miller Theatre in New York, at the Castleton Festival in Virginia, and at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts. Her interpretations of Bach's solo works both in marathon recitals and paired with contemporary pieces, have been praised as thoughtful, intense, energetic, and beautifully phrased.
Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras around the world including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Baltimore, Chicago, 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.
Bach & Beyond Part 1 is Ms. Koh's seventh recording for Cedille Records. Other albums include 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 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.
For more information please visit jenniferkoh.com