The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Meet Jennifer Koh – a native Midwesterner and one of the best, most interesting and most accomplished violinists on the scene today. | January 25, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

To The Ear, this seems a particularly promising time for young violinists, and especially for young women violinists such as Julia Fischer, Lelia Josefowicz, Lisa Batiashvili, Janine Jansen and Hilary Hahn.

But among all those violinists and their prodigious amounts of talent, one in particular stands out as unique: Jennifer Koh (below, in a photo by Christopher Berkey for The New York Times).

Jennifer Koh 2 Christopher Berkey for NY Times

An American of Korean heritage who was born in Chicago, Kho is an international competition winner who also came into a career in professional music somewhat via the back door, which has only deepened her music-making and her interpretations. Koh is anything but predictable and mainstream or traditional. A master of the old classics, she is also devoted to new music.

Her breadth of interests and her open personality show in her intense and exciting playing. We in Madison are lucky that the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and its music director-conductor Andrew Sewell booked her to perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto early on, in 2004 before word got out and she became so in demand. (Below, a photo by Karsten Moran for The New York Times.)

Jennifer Koh, Karsten Moran for NY Times

Kohn has made many acclaimed recordings. But the first CD (below) in her three-volume series of “Bach and Beyond” (for the non-profit, Chicago-based label Cedille Records) made many critics’ lists of The Best Classical Recordings of 2012” – including mine. (At bottom, she discusses the project.)

Jennifer Koh Bach and Beyond CD1 cover

I had been a waiting for a Q&A from Jennifer Koh. But she is obviously busy with more important things like playing the violin and, one suspects, reading serious English literature (you have to know her background to understand the reference!).

Jennifer Koh Christopher Berkey for NY TImes

All the more reason, then, to read the excellent profile that appeared recently in The New York Times.

Here is a link to that detailed but readable and very accessible profile that leaves you wondering: How can you not like Jennifer Koh?:

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