Violinist Jennifer Koh’s Innovative Projects Connect Masterworks of the Past with the Present

Jennifer Koh

About three quarters of the way through our phone conversation, celebrated violinist Jennifer Koh, speaking from her apartment in New York City, feels she owes me an apology. “This interview is turning out to be really long—I’m sorry I’m going off on all these tangents,” she says. “But sincerely, all these projects come from a very organic place.”

Koh’s personal and career “tangents” are in fact fascinating, creative, and important, and need no excuse. But they do need some explanation, and exploration of their origin in her heart and imagination. 

Her “Bridge to Beethoven” project currently has Koh touring with pianist Shai Wosner, programming Beethoven sonatas and new works created as a link to those sonatas. This “came up as a kind of question about identity,” Koh explains. “I’m Korean-American, and I didn’t come from a musical family. So how is it that this art form, which is largely credited as Western European, is a visceral and compelling mode of communication for me?” 

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