The Kennedy Center

Jennifer Koh


Violinist Jennifer Koh mesmerizes audiences with playing that combines intensity of temperament with a patrician poise and elegance, qualities that she brings to music old and new in equal measure.  As a virtuoso whose natural flair is combined with an intellectual acuity, Ms. Koh is committed to exploring connections between the pieces she plays and searching for similarities of voice between different composers.  Accordingly, her programs often present rare and revealing juxtapositions, offering works by composers as divergent as Mozart and Ligeti, Schubert and Saariaho.  In addition to receiving a performance diploma in music from the Oberlin Conservatory, Ms. Koh also holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Oberlin, and maintains a continuing interest in writing and literature. 

Upcoming engagements in the 2008-09 season include solo appearances with the orchestras of Atlanta, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Houston, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC.  She will be heard in recital in Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia; and in chamber music in New York at the 92nd Street Y.  Besides performing various contemporary works such as Saariaho's violin concerto "Graal theater," Ms. Koh is scheduled to play the Brahms, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, and Mozart Concerto No. 4, as well as the Beethoven Triple Concerto. 

Ms. Koh records regularly for the American Cedille label and has released four discs, including the complete Schumann violin sonatas; music by Bach, Schubert, Szymanowski, Martin?, Schoenberg, and Ornette Coleman, a CD of the Szymanowski and Martin? violin concertos, and most recently she released "String Poetic" with world premieres of works by Jennifer Higdon and Lou Harrison as well as music by John Adams and Carl Ruggles. Ms. Koh's first Cedille recording was an imaginative program centered on Bach's Chaconne (with solo chaconnes by turn of the century contemporaries Richard Barth and Max Reger). 

Since the 1994-95 season, when she won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras and conductors around the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, the New World Symphony, and Montreal Symphony.  She has appeared with the Czech Philharmonic, the BBC London Symphony, the BBC Scottish Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Iceland Symphony, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Lahti Symphony, Moscow Radio Symphony, the Brandenburg Ensemble, and the Singapore Symphony.  In the 2005-06 season Ms. Koh performed the Ligeti Violin Concerto (with a cadenza written expressly for her by John Zorn) with the Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva and at The Holland Festival at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.  A prolific recitalist, Ms. Koh appears frequently at major music centers and festivals including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Kimmel Center, Marlboro, Wolf Trap, Spoleto, and The Festival International de Lanaudiere in Canada. As a dedicated chamber musician, Ms. Koh has performed the complete Beethoven String Trios with her string trio, the Variation Trio and is often heard with colleagues including Kim Kashkashian, Andreas Haefliger, and Jaime Laredo in venues such as New York's 92nd Street Y.  In Asia she has performed in Tokyo, Seoul, and Singapore.

Born in Chicago of Korean parents, Ms. Koh currently resides in New York City.  Ms. Koh is a graduate of Oberlin College and an alumna of the Curtis Institute, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir.   Ms. Koh is grateful to her private sponsor for the generous loan of the 1727 Ex Grumiaux Ex General DuPont Stradivari she uses in performance.

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Jennifer Koh