Jennifer Koh, violin & Shai Wosner, piano
Wednesday, March 21, 10:30 am
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Born of Korean parents, American violinist, Jennifer 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 all when she was only 18 years old. She is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance.
For this recital, she will be joined by internationally recognized Israeli pianist Shai Wosner, both making their debuts on this series. The New York Times declared that “Mr. Wosner’s singing tone and expressive musicality complemented Ms. Koh’s insightful, richly hued playing,” and The San Jose Mercury News raved of a recent concert that “Koh’s impetuous, bright-toned phrasing was attractively set against Wosner’s flowing, articulate pianism.”
Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. An adventurous musician, she collaborates with artists of multiple disciplines and curates projects that find connections between music of all eras from traditional to contemporary. She believes that all the arts and music of the past and present form a continuum and has premiered over 50 works written especially for her.Continue Reading
Ms. Koh presents a year-long focus on the music of Kaija Saariaho, one of her most notable collaborators. Ms. Koh has premiered numerous works, in performance and on recording, by the Finnish composer including Frises for solo violin and electronics, and Light and Matter and Aure, both with cellist Anssi Karttunen. This season, she performs Ms. Saariaho’s violin concerto, Graal Theatre, with the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble in Philadelphia as part of a collaborative residency that also includes master classes and coachings; the Tampere Philharmonic in Finland; and the Orchestre de Radio France on a program that also features Frises and Light and Matter with Mr. Karttunen. In New York, Ms. Koh performs Ms. Saariaho’s Cloud Trio on a chamber music program with the Variation Trio in its 92nd Street Y debut and Tocar for violin and piano with Shai Wosner as part of a recital for the People’s Symphony Concerts. In the summer of 2016, Ms. Koh and Ms. Saariaho were in residency at the Aspen Music Festival.
Ms. Koh’s foray into curating projects has led her to commission works by today’s foremost composers. Shared Madness comprises short works for solo violin that explore virtuosity for the violin in the 21st century by more than 30 of today’s most celebrated composers, all of whom gifted their music for the project. Shared Madness premiered over two recitals in May 2016 at National Sawdust as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial. Her Bridge to Beethoven recital series, performed with pianist Shai Wosner, explores the impact and significance Beethoven has had on a diverse group of composers and musicians. Pairing Beethoven’s ten sonatas for violin and piano with new works by composers Vijay Iyer, Andrew Norman, and Anthony Cheung over four programs, the project seeks to ignite creative conversations around Beethoven not only as a cornerstone of classical music but as a universal source of inspiration. This season, Ms. Koh perform works from Shared Madness in a recital at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, and continues Bridge to Beethoven with Shai Wosner in recital at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and in cities nationwide.
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. Bach and Beyond, which she launched in 2009 in commemoration of the 325th anniversary of Bach’s birth, is a three recital series that traces the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas to composers ranging from Bartók, Berio, Carter, Salonen, and Ysaÿe with commissions and world premieres by composers John Harbison, Phil Kline, Missy Mazzoli, Kaija Saariaho, and video artist Tal Rosner. Another project that presents works in response to Bach is Two x Four, which explores mentorship and collaboration between teacher and student and shows how performance traditions and composition practices are passed from generation to generation. Two x Four, performed with Ms. Koh’s former teacher, violinist Jaime Laredo, features double violin concerti by Bach, Philip Glass, Anna Clyne, and David Ludwig, the latter of the two being commissioned and premiered as part of the project. Bach & Beyond Parts 1 and 2, and Two X Four with Mr. Laredo and the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble, have been released on recordings by Cedille Records.
Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras around the world including the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics; the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, BBC Symphony Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Mariinsky Theatre, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Nashville Symphony, National Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New World Symphony, NHK Symphony (Tokyo) Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia (London) Orchestras, Pittsburgh Symphony, RAI National Symphony Orchestra (Torino), St. Louis Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Singapore Symphony, among others. Conductors she has worked with include John Adams, Marin Alsop, James Conlon, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Giancarlo Guerrero, Manfred Honek, Louis Langree, Carlos Kalmar, Lorin Maazel, Sakari Oramo, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Juraj Valčuha, Osmo Vänskä, Alexander Vedernikov, and Edo de Waart. A prolific recitalist, she frequently appears at major music centers and festivals, and played the role of Einstein in the revival of Philip Glass’s Einstein On the Beach from 2012–2014. A particular highlight of her career was performing for the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and the First Lady of South Korea, Kim Yoon-ok, in 2011.
Ms. Koh brings the same sense of adventure and brilliant musicianship to her recordings as she does to her live performances. Her latest album, Tchaikovsky: Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra with the Odense Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Vedernikov, released in September 2016, is Ms. Koh’s eleventh recording for the Cedille Records label. Ms. Koh first performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto conducted by Mr. Vedernikov in the final round of the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in 1992 and went on to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow with the concerto in 1994. In addition to her Bach & Beyond and Two x Four albums, her discography on Cedille Records also includes Signs, Games + Messages, a recording of violin and piano works by Janáček, Bartók, and Kurtág with Mr. Wosner; 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 Ms. Uchida; Portraits with the Grant Park Orchestra under conductor Carlos Kalmar with concerti by Szymanowski, Martinů, and Bartók; Violin Fantasies: fantasies for violin and piano by Schubert, Schumann, Schoenberg, and saxophonist Ornette Coleman, again with Ms. Uchida; and Ms. Koh’s first Cedille album, from 2002, Solo Chaconnes, an earlier reading of Bach’s Second Partita coupled with chaconnes by Richard Barth and Max Reger. Ms. Koh is also the featured soloist on a recording of Ms. Higdon’s The Singing Rooms with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra led by Robert Spano for Telarc.
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. A committed educator, she has won high praise for her performances in classrooms around the country under her innovative “Music Messenger” outreach program. Ms. Koh is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for the Advancement for the Arts, a scholarship program for high school students in the arts.
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. Ms. Koh is Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and a recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She 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.
Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight. His performances of a broad range of repertoire—from Beethoven and Schubert to Ligeti and the music of today—reflect a degree of virtuosity and intellectual curiosity that has made him a favorite among audiences and critics, who note his “keen musical mind and deep musical soul” (NPR’s All Things Considered).Continue Reading
Beyond Schubert, Mr. Wosner has also been praised for inventive pairings of classical and modern masters. His latest recording, featuring concertos and solo works by Haydn and Ligeti with the Danish National Symphony conducted by Nicholas Collon, was released in June on the Onyx label to wide acclaim and was named “Concerto Choice” (September 2016) by BBC Music Magazine, which wrote: “Wosner’s notes describe these composers’ use of humor as ‘like two distant relatives sharing an old family joke’. Wit nevertheless rubs shoulders effortlessly with intensity and even moments of terror – that Ligeti slow movement involves sounds that resemble a siren and a police whistle. It’s the intelligence, perception and dazzling energy of Wosner’s playing that makes all this possible and vivid.” His earlier Onyx releases have also explored links between stylistically contrasting composers, including an album of solo works by Brahms and Schoenberg and an album of works by Schubert and Missy Mazzoli.
Such juxtaposition is also a central feature in Mr. Wosner’s joint program with the Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon in London, in which he performs concertos by Ligeti and Mozart and solo works by Chopin, Glass, Hindemith, and Nancarrow. Other concerto appearances in the 2016-17 season include Mr. Wosner’s return to the Berkeley, Columbus, Fresno, Jacksonville, North Carolina, and Jerusalem symphonies, as well as a performance of the Berg Chamber Concerto in Germany with violinist Veronika Eberle and the Kammerakademie Potsdam.
The music of Beethoven is also a major focus for Mr. Wosner this year in recital, chamber, and concerto performances. In addition to performing the composer’s last three piano concertos with various orchestras in the U.S., he continues two Beethoven collaborations: Bridge to Beethoven—a recital series with violinist Jennifer Koh—and the complete works for cello and piano with Ralph Kirshbaum. Among the Bridge to Beethoven performances this season is a program in Philadelphia featuring the local premiere of Vijay Iyer’s Bridgetower Fantasy. In New York, Mr. Wosner and Ms. Koh also perform a recital of works by Beethoven, Debussy, Fauré, and contemporary composers György Kurtág and Kaija Saariaho. Mr. Wosner and Mr. Kirshbaum’s 2016-17 performances of Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano include concerts at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and in Sedona, AZ. Last season, the duo performed the series at London’s Wigmore Hall, which was recorded for fall 2016 release on Onyx Classics.
In addition to his Onyx releases, Mr. Wosner’s discography includes a duo recording with Ms. Koh, titled Signs, Games + Messages, on the Cedille label. Weaving traditional Central European folk music with 20th-century modernism, the recording features works by Bartók, Janáček, and Kurtág, including the latter’s duet piece for which the album was named.
Mr. Wosner is a recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award—a prize he used to commission Michael Hersch’s concerto Along the Ravines, which he performed with the Seattle Symphony and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie in its world and European premieres. He was in residence with the BBC as a New Generation Artist, during which he appeared frequently with the BBC orchestras, including conducting Mozart concertos from the keyboard with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He returned to the BBC Scottish Symphony in both subscription concerts and Proms performances with Donald Runnicles and appeared with the BBC Philharmonic in a live broadcast from Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. As a concerto soloist in the U.S., Mr. Wosner has appeared with the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco, among others. In addition to the BBC orchestras, he has performed abroad with the Barcelona Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, LSO St. Luke’s, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Orchestre National de Belgique, Staatskapelle Berlin, and the Vienna Philharmonic, among others. Mr. Wosner has also appeared with the Orpheus, St. Paul, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, having conducted the latter from the keyboard in a 2010 concert that was broadcast on American Public Radio.
Mr. Wosner has worked with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Jiří Bělohlávek, James Conlon, Alan Gilbert, Gunther Herbig, James Judd, Zubin Mehta, Peter Oundjian, Donald Runnicles, Leonard Slatkin, Jeffrey Tate, and Yan Pascal Tortelier, and has performed at summer festivals including the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Bravo! Vail festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and Ravinia Festival. For several consecutive summers, he was involved in the West-Eastern Divan Workshop led by Mr. Barenboim and toured as soloist with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
Widely sought after by colleagues for his versatility and spirit of partnership, Mr. Wosner has collaborated as a chamber musician with numerous artists, including Martin Fröst, Lynn Harrell, Dietrich Henschel, Cho-Liang Lin, Christian Tetzlaff, and Pinchas Zukerman. He has also collaborated with leading chamber ensembles, including the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet in The Schubert Effect recital series. Mr. Wosner is a former member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two and performs regularly at various chamber music festivals, including Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Piano Aux Jacobins festival in France, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Recent chamber music engagements include collaborations with the Pro Musica Society at the Maison Symphonique de Montreal and the Le Club Musical de Quebec at le Palais Montcalm in Canada; performances of works by Brahms, Schumann, and Takemitsu with the Friends of Chamber Music in Denver, Colorado; and appearances at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Laguna Beach Music Festival, and the Ravinia Festival. Among his recent solo recitals, he performed a program of Gershwin and Dvořák at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
Born in Israel, Mr. Wosner enjoyed a broad musical education from a very early age, studying piano with Emanuel Krasovsky as well as composition, theory, and improvisation with André Hajdu. He later studied at The Juilliard School with Emanuel Ax. Mr. Wosner is on the faculty at the Longy School of Music in Boston. He resides in New York with his wife and two children.
Date & Venue
Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 7:30pm & Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 10:30am
Ordway Concert Hall
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BRIDGE TO BEETHOVEN
Beethoven – Sonata for violin and piano, Op. 30, No. 1 in A major
Andrew Norman – Short works
Beethoven – Sonata Op. 30, No. 3 in G major
Andrew Norman – Short work
Beethoven – Sonata Op. 30, No. 2 in C minor
Concert is estimated to be approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.
Jennifer Koh was stunning in her performance, both with the symphony and through the solo parts. She is dynamic to watch as she moves with the music, showing emotion and a deep love of music.Times Record News
Susanna Phillips sang strongly in the luminous central role of Clémence, a woman who finds herself adored, shimmering in a silvery dress that picked up the colors of the lights around her. She pulled off a role that requires a singer to traverse the whole operatic emotional arc from daydream exultation to anguish when Jaufré dies in her arms without actually having much happen to her on stage.The Washington Post