JENNIFER KOH, JONATHAN VINOCOUR, WILHELMINA SMITH & ORION WEISS
JANUARY 21, 2019 – Sugden theatre in Naples
Beethoven: String Trio Op. 9 No 2 in D
Nina C Young: Spero Lucem
Brahms: C minor Quartet #3, Op. 60
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 60 works written especially for her.
Ms. Koh is well known for curating projects that involve commissions from today’s foremost composers, and among her many activities during the 2017-18 season, she premieres new works written for her New American Concerto commissioning project, a multi-season project that explores the form of the violin concerto and its potential for artistic engagement with contemporary societal concerns and issues through commissions from a diverse
In recital, Ms. Koh launches Limitless: On Stage Together, a commissioning project that engages composer-performers to write new duo compositions and premiere them with Ms. Koh. The project is designed to explore the symbiotic relationship and blurred boundaries between composer and performer. Participating composers include Lisa Bielawa (voice), Zosha di Castri (piano), Vijay Iyer (piano), Missy Mazzoli (synthesizer), Qasim Naqvi (electronics and keyboard), Tyshawn Sorey (percussion), Lu Wang (electronics), Nina Young (electronics), and Du Yun (voice), and the premiere performances take place over two concert programs at National Sawdust in March 2018.
Ms. Koh also continues critically acclaimed series from past seasons, including Shared Madness, comprising short works for solo violin that explore virtuosity in the 21st century, written for the project by more than 30 of today’s most celebrated composers; and Bach and Beyond, a recital series that traces the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas to 20th– and 21st-century composers. In addition to experiencing Shared Madness in the concert hall, listeners are also able to hear recordings of the premiere performances and interviews between Ms. Koh and the composers via the Shared Madness radio show, which originally aired on WQXR’s Q2 Music during the summer of 2017 and remains available on demand at q2music.org/sharedmadness. Ms. Koh and her frequent recital partner Shai Wosner continue Bridge to Beethoven, which pairs Beethoven’s violin sonatas with new and recent works inspired by them to explore the composer’s impact and significance on a diverse group of musicians; and she performs with the Variation String Trio—of which she is a founding member—and pianist Orion Weiss, in composer Nina C. Young’s piano quartet Spero Lucem and works by Schubert, Beethoven, and Brahms presented by the People’s Symphony in New York City.
She also performs a broad range of concertos that reflects the breadth of her musical interests, including Barber’s Violin Concerto with the Marin Symphony Orchestra and Oklahoma City Philharmonic; Bernstein’s Serenade with the Fresno Philharmonic; Unsuk Chin’s Violin Concerto with the Melbourne Symphony; Anna Clyne’s Rest These Hands with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne; Lutoslawski’s Chain 2 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Kaija Saariaho’s Graal théâtre with the Galicia Symphony Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto with the Nashville and Tampere Symphony Orchestras; Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with the Columbus and Williamsburg Symphony Orchestras; Szymanowski’s Second Violin Concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; and Charles Wuorinen’s Spin5 with Ensemble Signal.
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
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
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. For further information visit jenniferkoh.com.
JONATHAN VINOCOUR, VIOLA
Jonathan Vinocour joined the SFS as Principal Viola in 2009, having previously served as principal viola of the Saint Louis Symphony and guest principal viola of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He has appeared frequently as soloist with the San Francisco and Saint Louis symphonies and recently collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma in a performance of R. Strauss’s Don Quixote with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. A sought-after chamber musician, he is a regular guest of such as festivals the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Marlboro, Bridgehampton, Salt Bay, and Cleveland Chamberfest. Mr. Vinocour graduated from Princeton University with a degree in chemistry and from the New England Conservatory where he studied with Kim Kashkashian. A dedicated teacher, he serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as the Aspen Music Festival and School. He plays on a 1784 Lorenzo Storioni viola on loan from the San Francisco Symphony.
WILHELMINA SMITH, CELLO
Cellist Wilhelmina Smith made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra while a student at the Curtis Institute of Music. She has since forged a versatile musical career based on the strength of her beautiful sound, commitment to a vast repertoire and impassioned performances. This past fall, she was
ORION WEISS, PIANO
One of the most sought-after soloists in his generation of young American musicians, the pianist Orion Weiss has performed with the major American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic. His deeply felt and exceptionally crafted performances go far beyond his technical mastery and have won him worldwide acclaim.
2017-18 sees him opening the season for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and ending his season with the Colorado Symphony and Mozart’s majestic Concerto in C major, K. 467; in between Orion will play with eleven orchestras, go on a recital tour with James Ehnes, and perform recitals around the country. In 2016-17 Orion performed with the Knoxville, Wichita, and Santa Rosa Symphonies and the Symphony Silicon Valley, among others, and in collaborative projects with Alessio Bax, the Pacifica Quartet, and with Cho-Liang Lin and the New Orford String Quartet in a performance of the Chausson Concerto for piano, violin, and string quartet. In 2015 Naxos released his recording of Christopher Rouse’s Seeing – a major commission Orion debuted with the Albany Symphony – and in 2012 he released a recital album of Dvorak, Prokofiev, and Bartok. That same year he also spearheaded a recording project of the complete Gershwin works for piano and orchestra with his longtime collaborators the Buffalo Philharmonic and JoAnn Falletta.
Named the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year in September 2010, in the summer of 2011 Weiss made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood as a last-minute replacement for Leon Fleisher. In recent seasons, he has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and in duo summer concerts with the New York Philharmonic at both Lincoln Center and the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival. In 2005, he toured Israel with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Itzhak Perlman.
Also known for his affinity and enthusiasm for chamber music, Weiss performs regularly with his wife, the pianist Anna Polonsky, the violinists James Ehnes and Arnaud Sussman, and cellist Julie Albers. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Weiss has appeared across the U.S. at venues and festivals including Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival, Sheldon Concert Hall, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, Chamber Music Northwest, the Bard Music Festival, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, and Spivey Hall. He won the 2005 William Petschek Recital Award at
Weiss’s impressive list of awards includes the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship. A native of Lyndhurst, OH, Weiss attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Schenly, Daniel Shapiro, Sergei Babayan, Kathryn Brown, and Edith Reed. In February of 1999, Weiss made his Cleveland Orchestra debut performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. In March 1999, with less than 24 hours’ notice, Weiss stepped in to replace André Watts for a performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was immediately invited to return to the Orchestra for a performance of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto in October 1999. In 2004, he graduated from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Emanuel Ax.