Jennifer Koh

Biography Jennifer Koh

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 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 the solo violin repertoire from Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas to works by modern day composers and new commissions. In 2012, she launched “Two x Four” —a project that pairs Bach’s Double

Violin Concerto with newly commissioned double concerti—with her former teacher from the Curtis Institute of Music, violinist Jaime Laredo. She frequently performs the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas in a single concert.

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.

Highlights of her 2013–14 season include “Bach and Beyond” recitals worldwide and “Two x Four” concerts with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. She makes her Munich Philharmonic debut performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto conducted by Lorin Maazel, and performs Barber’s Violin Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra, Berg’s Violin Concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. She will perform the role of Einstein in Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach in Los Angeles. Her New York concerts include the U.S. premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Frises for violin and electronics and Bach’s Partita No. 2 at Miller Theatre 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.

Signs, Games + Messages is Ms. Koh’s eighth recording for Cedille Records. Other albums include Bach & Beyond Part 1, 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.

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