NEW YORK, NEW YORK (June 5, 2017) — Today, WQXR’s Q2 Music premieres violinist Jennifer Koh’s new online series, in which she converses with a diverse range of 30 dynamic, leading composers who contributed music to her Shared Madness project. Through short works for solo violin, which are heard in the final segment of each brief episode, Shared Madness explores the relationship of composer to performer and performer to instrument as it stands today. Each composer provides a unique perspective, both in conversation and through his or her music, and in the first episode, Ms. Koh’s guest is composer Matthew Aucoin, whose three-minute piece, Resolve, was composed for Shared Madness. To stream this episode, click here. New episodes, posted every weekday through July 14, will be available for on-demand streaming via q2music.org/sharedmadness. In addition to Mr. Aucoin, Ms. Koh’s guests this week are Bryce Dessner, Samuel Adams, Anthony Cheung, and Missy Mazzoli (in order of appearance). Future guests include Daníel Bjarnason, David Lang, Andrew Norman, Kaija Saariaho, Augusta Read Thomas, and Julia Wolfe, among others. For a complete list of Shared Madness composers, from which the series’ guests are drawn, click here.
About Shared Madness, Ms. Koh says: “Each composer … offered to write a solo violin work exploring the relationship between the violinist and the instrument. While Paganini wrote a landmark set of 24 caprices that explored the relationship of virtuosity on the violin at the beginning of the 19th century, this group of composers … explore the meaning of virtuosity in the 21st century.” The Shared Madness compositions were premiered in two recitals at National Sawdust as part of last year’s NY Phil Biennial. The performances were live-streamed by Q2 Music, and the recordings heard in the Shared Madness web series come from these recitals.
A new-music champion who regularly commissions and premieres new works for violin, Ms. Koh began Shared Madness as a “thank you” to Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting, new-music advocates and commissioners whose generosity helped her purchase the instrument on which she gave these premieres and who agreed to accept music in lieu of funds as repayment for the violin. With numerous composers donating their time and music, Shared Madness exemplifies the charitable community of artists and supporters.
“Shared Madness celebrates the support that exists within the artistic community and also seeks to encapsulate the intensity of the creative process shared between composer and performer. I am humbled and moved by the incredible generosity of my fellow artists in an effort to help me with what initially seemed to be an impossible task: ensuring that I could continue to perform on my instrument,” said Ms. Koh.
“Jennifer Koh is one of the most intrepid and imaginative champions of new music on the scene today,” said Alex Ambrose, Senior Producer, Q2 Music. “Q2 Music is honored to bring context to her fearless music-making and tireless advocacy through this series of conversations and world-premiere performance audio.”
Jennifer Koh, Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, 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 has premiered over 60 works written especially for her. She frequently curates projects that connect music of all eras from traditional to contemporary, including commissions by today’s foremost composers. In addition to Shared Madness, her ongoing projects include Mixtape, which explores the role of the violin concerto in contemporary American culture, with new concertos by Vijay Iyer, Andrew Norman, and Chris Cerrone, premiered this season at the Ojai Festival and with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Detroit Symphony respectively; and The 38th Parallel, a one-hour multimedia work in collaboration with composer/multi-media artist Jean-Baptiste Barrière that explores their shared personal connections to Korea. She has been heard with leading orchestras worldwide performing a broad range of works that reflects the breadth of her musical interests, and frequently appears in recital at major music centers and festivals. Ms. Koh regularly records for Cedille Records and is Artistic Director of the artist-driven non-profit arco collaborative.
Q2 Music is WQXR’s online music channel dedicated to contemporary classical composers, innovative ensembles and musical discovery. Its programming includes immersive festivals, insightful commentary from hosts such as composer Phil Kline and vocalist Helga Davis, full-length album streams, live webcasts and exclusive concert audio from local and national venues, and special events in front of live audiences at The Greene Space at WQXR. Q2 Music produces Meet the Composer with host Nadia Sirota, the Peabody Award-winning podcast which mines the brains of today’s leading composers, as well as Helga, a conversation podcast with uncompromising artists who dare to transform our world. Q2 Music is streamed live 24/7 at www.wqxr.org/q2music and is also available via the free WQXR app.