Jennifer Koh

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Jennifer Koh
5 Jennifer Koh by Juergen Frank.jpg
Background information
Born Illinois
Genres Classical
Instruments Violin

Jennifer Koh is an American violinist.

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 in 1994, as well as the Concert Artists Guild Competition and an Avery Fisher Career Grant that same season. 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.

Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras around the world including the Los Angeles Philharmonic,[1] New York Philharmonic,[2] Czech Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra and is an advocate of music education for children.

Ms. Koh is the Artistic Director of arco collaborative, an artist-driven nonprofit that fosters a better understanding of our world through a musical dialogue inspired by ideas and the communities around us. The organization supports artistic collaborations and commissions, transforming the creative process by engaging with specific ideas and perspectives, investing in the future by cultivating artist-citizens in partnership with educational organizations.

She is lauded for her programs of Bach.[3] She performed and recorded a series "Bach and Beyond" which has received high critical praise.[4] She frequently premieres and records contemporary music of composers like Kaija Saariaho, John Zorn, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.[5]

In 2012, Koh was a featured performer in the revival of the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson opera Einstein on the Beach, portraying the role of Einstein.[6]



A violin concerto commissioning project that asks composers to engage with American contemporary musical culture integral to their musical lives in the creation of their work. Composers engaged to be part of the project include Vijay Iyer, Andrew Norman, and Christopher Cerrone.

Shared Madness[edit]

Shared Madness premiered over two recitals in May 2016 at National Sawdust as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial. Two recitals of short solo works that explore the relationship between violinist and instrument composed by more than 30 of today’s leading composers. Each Shared Madness composer has donated their time and music to the project, exemplifying our charitable community of artists and supporters. Shared Madness celebrates that support and also seeks to encapsulate the intensity of the creative process shared between composer and performer.

Composers include: Samuel Adams, Timo Andres, Matt Aucoin, Jean-Baptiste Barriere, Derek Bermel, Lisa Bielawa, Daniel Bjarnason, David Bruce, Chris Cerrone, Anthony Cheung, Bryce Dessner, Zosha di Castri, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Mark Grey, John Harbison, Vijay Iyer, Gabriel Kahane, Phil Kline, David Lang, David Ludwig, James Matheson, Missy Mazzoli, Eric Nathan, Marc Neikrug, Andrew Norman, Christopher Rountree, Frederic Rzewski, Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sean Shepherd, Noam Sivan, Augusta Read Thomas, Julia Wolfe[7]

Bridge to Beethoven[edit]

Jennifer Koh and Shai Wosner

Bridge to Beethoven is a four-part recital series with pianist Shai Wosner; Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas paired with commissions inspired by specific sonatas from Anthony Cheung, Vijay Iyer and Andrew Norman, and a contemporary sonata by Jörg Widmann. The project seeks to explore the music, myth and impact of Beethoven on a diverse group of composers and musicians.[8]

Bach & Beyond[edit]

A three-part recital series pairing Bach’s complete sonatas and partitas with contemporary and newly commissioned works by video artist Tal Rosner and composers John Harbison, Phil Kline, Kaija Saariaho, and John Zorn. Each program has been created to strengthen the connection between the works of Bach to the present day through a historical journey of solo violin works.[9]

Off Stage, On Record[edit]

An online video series that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a concert artist in short, documentary-style episodes, available on YouTube. Three episodes cover creativity, collaboration, and taking care of one’s body.

Two x Four[edit]

Two x Four is a project which celebrates the relationship between teacher and student through music. Four works written for two violins examine the evolution of performance practice and composition. Bach’s Double Concerto and Philip Glass’ Echorus is performed alongside new works by Anna Clyne and David Ludwig. Performed with Jaime Laredo and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Dec. 2012), Curtis 20/21 Ensemble at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Miller Theatre, and Kennedy Center (Mar. 2013), Delaware Symphony (May 2012) IRIS Orchestra (Nov. 2012), Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Mar. 2014), Vermont Symphony (Mar. 2013) and Alabama Symphony Orchestra (Apr. 2014). [1]

Einstein on the Beach[edit]

Jennifer Koh was the first female and Asian to perform solo violin role of Einstein in Einstein on the Beach with director Robert Wilson, composer Philip Glass, and choreographer Lucinda Childs. Performances at University of Michigan, Luminato Festival, BAM, Cal Performances, LA Opera, and Berliner Festspiele.


Year Recording Details Label
2016 Tchaikovsky: Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra Cedille Records[10]
2015 Bach & Beyond Part II Cedille Records[11]
2014 Two X Four Cedille Records[12]
2013 "Signs, Games and Messages" Cedille Records[13]
2012 "Bach and Beyond I" Cedille Records[14]
2010 "The Singing Rooms"
  • Jennifer Koh, violin
  • Robert Spano, conductor
  • Works by Jennifer Higdon
  • Atlanta Symphony and Chorus
2009 "Rhapsodic Musings" Cedille Records[16]
2006 Schumann: The Sonatas for Violin and Piano Cedille Records[17]

Jennifer Koh: Portraits

Cedille Records[18]


  • Jennifer Koh, violin
  • Spoleto Festival Orchestra
  • Richard Hickox, conductor
Chandos Records[19]

"String Poetic" (Grammy Nomination for Best Chamber Music Performance)

Cedille Records[20]

Jennifer Koh: Violin Fantasies

Cedille Records[21]

Jennifer Koh: Solo Chaconnes

Cedille Records[22]

Klami - Whirls, Act 1

BIS Records[23]



  1. ^ Swed, Mark. "Botstein has last laugh with L.A. Phil at the Bowl". LA Times. 
  2. ^ Tommasini, Anthony. "A Conductor’s Adventurous and Reserved Sides". NY Times. 
  3. ^ Kozinn, Allan. "Scaling Bach’s Mountains With Stamina and Skill". NY Times. 
  4. ^ Vernier, David. "Koh's captivating craft". classics today. 
  5. ^ Smith, Steve. "A Fast Start, but No Race to the Future". NY Times. 
  6. ^ Opus Review review of Einstein on the Beach, June 9, 2012
  7. ^ "Jennifer Koh's "Shared Madness"". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  8. ^ "Jennifer Koh "Bridge to Beethoven"". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  9. ^ "Jennifer Koh's Bach and Beyond". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  10. ^ "Jennifer Koh Music". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  11. ^ "Jennifer Koh Music". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  12. ^ "Jennifer Koh Music". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  13. ^ Ginsburg, Jim. "Discography". Cedille Records. 
  14. ^ Ginsburg, Jim. "Discography". Cedille Records. 
  15. ^ "Jennifer Koh Music". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  16. ^ Ginsburg, Jim. "Discography". Cedille Records. 
  17. ^ Ginsburg, Jim. "Discography". Cedille Records. 
  18. ^ Ginsburg, Jim. "Discography". Cedille Records. 
  19. ^ "Jennifer Koh Music". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  20. ^ Ginsburg, Jim. "Discography". Cedille Records. 
  21. ^ Ginsburg, Jim. "Discography". Cedille Records. 
  22. ^ Ginsburg, Jim. "Discography". Cedille Records. 
  23. ^ "Jennifer Koh Music". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  24. ^ "String Poetic | Classical Music | Cedille Records". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 

Further reading[edit]

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