On Sunday, February 13, renowned and trailblazing violinist Jennifer Koh will take center stage for an evening of brilliant musicianship. As an artist dedicated to exploring both traditional and contemporary work –– especially in pursuit of inclusivity within the genre –– Jennifer Koh has rich insight into the world of classical music.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring artists?
Koh: I learned so much from my mentors and, because of their generosity, I learned that generosity of spirit in making art, as well as with one’s colleagues, makes life as an artist very fulfilling. Remember that you are a participant in history, every choice you make affects the future, and work to be the best musician that you can be. Life as an artist takes strength and faith!
What is the most challenging piece you’ve ever played?
Koh: Performing all six of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas was and continues to be the biggest challenge for me. It’s incredibly musically satisfying, but also mentally, physically, and psychologically the hardest thing I have ever done!
Who is your biggest artistic inspiration?
Koh: Bronisław Huberman is my greatest artistic inspiration. His approach to making music was truly creative, original, and innovative. And he also saved the life of one of my most important mentors, Felix Galimir. He led an effort to save the lives of Jewish musicians in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
Not only was he a remarkable musician, but he also had a mission beyond himself and made the effort and took action for others. Felix Galimir’s teaching has influenced every chamber music group, orchestra, and soloist in the United States. So in the end, Huberman’s actions to save Felix’s life changed the landscape of music in America.
Can you tell us how you became a professional violinist?
Koh: I am a professional musician because of my mentors! They had faith in me before I had faith in myself.
What kind of music do you like to listen to, and does it relate at all to what you play?
Koh: I love all good music! Great music and musicians are not limited by genre. I love discovering new great artists. They inspire me!
Ms. Jennifer Koh is an inspiration to us, too! We are grateful for her thoughtful answers to our questions. Be further inspired at her upcoming performance on February 13, 2022.