Jennifer Koh is an American violinist.
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, and went on to win the second prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1994 (first prize was not awarded), as well as the Concert Artists Guild Competition and an Avery Fisher Career Grant that same season. Ms. Koh 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.
Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras around the world including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra and is an advocate of music education for children.
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.
She is lauded for her programs of Bach. She performed and recorded a series "Bach and Beyond" which has received high critical praise. She frequently premieres and records contemporary music of composers like Kaija Saariaho, John Zorn, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
In 2012, Koh was a featured performer in the revival of the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson opera Einstein on the Beach, portraying the role of Einstein.
Through duo commissions performed by violinist Jennifer Koh and the composers themselves, Limitless celebrates the collaborative relationship between composer and performer, while also exploring the historical role of the composer as performer. This spirit of collaboration contrasts with the conventional notion that composition and performance are discrete and detached parts of the musical process.
Limitless premieres in two programs at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY, on March 15 and 31, 2018, and the participating composers include: Zosha di Castri, Missy Mazzoli, Qasim Naqvi, Lu Wang, Lisa Bielawa, Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey, Nina C. Young, and Du Yun.
New American Concerto
A violin concerto commissioning project that asks composers to engage with American contemporary musical culture integral to their musical lives in the creation of their work. Composers engaged to be part of the project include Vijay Iyer and Christopher Cerrone.
Shared Madness premiered over two recitals in May 2016 at National Sawdust as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial. Two recitals of short solo works that explore the relationship between violinist and instrument composed by more than 30 of today’s leading composers. Each Shared Madness composer has donated their time and music to the project, exemplifying our charitable community of artists and supporters. Shared Madness celebrates that support and also seeks to encapsulate the intensity of the creative process shared between composer and performer.
Composers include: Samuel Adams, Timo Andres, Matt Aucoin, Jean-Baptiste Barriere, Derek Bermel, Lisa Bielawa, Daniel Bjarnason, David Bruce, Chris Cerrone, Anthony Cheung, Bryce Dessner, Zosha di Castri, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Mark Grey, John Harbison, Vijay Iyer, Gabriel Kahane, Phil Kline, David Lang, David Ludwig, James Matheson, Missy Mazzoli, Eric Nathan, Marc Neikrug, Andrew Norman, Christopher Rountree, Frederic Rzewski, Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sean Shepherd, Noam Sivan, Augusta Read Thomas, Julia Wolfe
Bridge to Beethoven
Bridge to Beethoven is a four-part recital series with pianist Shai Wosner; Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas paired with commissions inspired by specific sonatas from Anthony Cheung, Vijay Iyer and Andrew Norman, and a contemporary sonata by Jörg Widmann. The project seeks to explore the music, myth and impact of Beethoven on a diverse group of composers and musicians.
Bach & Beyond
A three-part recital series pairing Bach’s complete sonatas and partitas with contemporary and newly commissioned works by video artist Tal Rosner and composers John Harbison, Phil Kline, Kaija Saariaho, and John Zorn. Each program has been created to strengthen the connection between the works of Bach to the present day through a historical journey of solo violin works.
Off Stage, On Record
An online video series that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a concert artist in short, documentary-style episodes, available on YouTube. Three episodes cover creativity, collaboration, and taking care of one’s body.
Two x Four
Two x Four is a project which celebrates the relationship between teacher and student through music. Four works written for two violins examine the evolution of performance practice and composition. Bach’s Double Concerto and Philip Glass’ Echorus is performed alongside new works by Anna Clyne and David Ludwig. Performed with Jaime Laredo and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Dec. 2012), Curtis 20/21 Ensemble at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Miller Theatre, and Kennedy Center (Mar. 2013), Delaware Symphony (May 2012) IRIS Orchestra (Nov. 2012), Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Mar. 2014), Vermont Symphony (Mar. 2013) and Alabama Symphony Orchestra (Apr. 2014). 
Einstein on the Beach
Jennifer Koh was the first female and Asian to perform solo violin role of Einstein in Einstein on the Beach with director Robert Wilson, composer Philip Glass, and choreographer Lucinda Childs. Performances at University of Michigan, Luminato Festival, BAM, Cal Performances, LA Opera, and Berliner Festspiele.
|2016||Tchaikovsky: Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra
|2015||Bach & Beyond Part II
|2014||Two X Four
|2013||Signs, Games and Messages
|2012||Bach and Beyond I
|2010||The Singing Rooms
|2006||Schumann: The Sonatas for Violin and Piano
Jennifer Koh: Portraits
String Poetic (Grammy Nomination for Best Chamber Music Performance)
Jennifer Koh: Violin Fantasies
Jennifer Koh: Solo Chaconnes
Klami - Whirls, Act 1
- Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year (2016)
- The New York Times Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012, Bach & Beyond Part I (2012)
- Asian Cultural Council Grant (2012)
- Grammy nomination for Best Chamber Music Performance, String Poetic (2009)
- Avery Fisher Career Grant (1995)
- Top medalist, International Tchaikovsky Competition (1994)
- Concert Artists Guild (1994)
- US Presidential Scholar in the Arts (1993)