Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director
Jennifer Koh, violin and Shai Wosner, piano
Bridge to Beethoven
East Coast premiere of Vijay Iyer’s new commission Bridgetower Fantasy
Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 8pm — Pickman Hall
(Boston) Celebrity Series of Boston will present violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner in Bridge to Beethoven featuring the East Coast premiere of Vijay Iyer’s new commission Bridgetower Fantasy as part of The Debut Series. The performance will take place on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 8pm at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, 27 Garden Street, Cambridge. The Debut Series is sponsored by Harriet and David Griesinger and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Limited tickets start at $25, and are available online at www.celebrityseries.org, by calling CelebrityCharge at (617) 482-6661, or at the Celebrity Series box office Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
This performance will mark the Boston debut of Jennifer Koh and the Celebrity Series debut of Shai Wosner.
Bridge to Beethoven explores the impact and significance Beethoven has had on a diverse group of composers and musicians. By pairing Beethoven’s ten sonatas for violin and piano with new works over four distinct programs, this project seeks to ignite creative conversations around his music not only as a cornerstone of classical music but as a universal, culture-crossing source of inspiration.
At the November 18 concert, Boston will see the Bridge to Beethoven I program which features the East Coast premiere of Vijay Iyer’s new commission Bridgetower Fantasy. Vijay Iyer is a Grammy-nominated composer and jazz pianist as well as DownBeat Magazine‘s 2014 Pianist of the Year, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist. In 2014 he began a permanent appointment as the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in the Department of Music at Harvard University.
The other three programs Koh and Wosner have created are Bridge to Beethoven II which pairs Jörg Widmann’s ‘Sommersonate’ with Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata; Bridge to Beethoven III which features newly commissioned, interweaving works by Andrew Norman throughout Beethoven’s Opus 30 Sonatas (Numbers 6,7, and 8); and Bridge to Beethoven IV which pairs a new commission by Anthony Cheung to be paired with Beethoven’s final, tenth Sonata.
Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her commanding performances, delivered with virtuosity and technical assurance. She is dedicated to performing the violin repertoire of all eras and is passionate in her efforts to expand the violin repertoire. She has established relationships with many of today’s composers, regularly commissioning and premiering new works. In 2009 she debuted “Bach and Beyond,” a three recital series that explores the history of the solo violin repertoire from Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas to works by modern day composers and new commissions; in 2012, she launched “Two x Four” – a project that pairs Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with newly commissioned double concerti – with her former teacher from the Curtis Institute of Music, violinist Jaime Laredo. She frequently performs the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas in a single concert. Her other projects include the “Ligeti Video Music Project,” a collaborative video and music project with film maker and video artist, Tal Rosner, “Bridge to Beethoven,” a series of recitals pairing Beethoven’s violin sonatas with new works by Andrew Norman, Vijay Iyer and Anthony Cheung, and a staged version of Bach’s complete Sonatas and Partitas by director Robert Wilson debuting in 2016. In the coming seasons Ms. Koh will also perform new violin concerti by composers Anna Clyne and Johnny Greenwood, and premiere a piano trio by Kaija Saariaho.
Ms. Koh regularly records for Cedille Records. Her discography on the label includes Signs, Games + Messages, a recording of violin and piano works by Janáček, Bartók and Kurtag with pianist Shai Wosner; Bach & Beyond Part 1, based on her recital series; 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; Portraits with the Grant Park Orchestra under Carlos Kalmar featuring concertos by Szymanowski, Martinů, and Bartók; Violin Fantasies: fantasies for violin and piano by Schubert, Schumann, Schoenberg, and saxophonist Ornette Coleman; and her first Cedille album, from 2002, Solo Chaconnes, an earlier reading of Bach’s Second Partita with chaconnes by Richard Barth and Max Reger.
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 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. 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
Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity and creative insight. His performances offer a broad range of repertoire, from Beethoven and Mozart to Schoenberg and Ligeti, as well as music by his contemporaries. Mr. Wosner is the recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award—a prize he used to commission Michael Hersch’s concerto Along the Ravines, which he then performed with the Seattle Symphony and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie-Saarbrücken.
Mr. Wosner has been focused on Schubert’s solo repertoire in recent seasons and has performed his works in recitals across the US and at London’s Wigmore Hall. Mr. Wosner is widely sought after by colleagues for his versatility and spirit of partnership and often performs duo recitals with violinists Jennifer Koh, Viviane Hagner, and Veronica Eberle. He is a former member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two and performs regularly at various chamber music festivals. For several consecutive summers, he took part in the West-Eastern Divan Workshop led by Daniel Barenboim and toured as soloist with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
Mr. Wosner has recorded three albums of solo works which were released by Onyx: Schubert’s Six moments musicaux, D. 780, Missy Mazzoli’s Isabelle Eberhardt Dreams of Pianos, and Schubert’s Sonata in A Major, D. 959. in November 2014; a selection of piano works by Schubert that incorporate elements of folk music in October 2011; and his debut solo recording of works by Brahms and Schoenberg in August 2010. His first joint recording with Jennifer Koh, Signs, Games + Messages, featuring works by Bartók, Janáček and Kurtág, was released in October 2013 on the Cedille Records label.
During the 2015-16 season, Mr. Wosner continues his collaborations with violinist Jennifer Koh with the Bridge to Beethoven series. Mr. Wosner’s upcoming orchestral engagements include performances with the Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.
BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major
VIJAY IYER: “Bridgetower Fantasy” (New commission in conversation with Kreutzer Sonata | East Coast Premiere)
BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Opus 47, “Kreutzer”
About Celebrity Series of Boston
Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Over the course of its 77-year history, Celebrity Series has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arturo Toscanini, Ignace Paderewski, Artur Rubenstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Glenn Gould, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Andrés Segovia, Kirsten Flagstad, Marian Anderson, Luciano Pavarotti, Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Martha Graham, Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the New York City Opera Company.
The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 77 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience–on stages, in schools, at home– everywhere. For more information on Celebrity Series of Boston, call (617) 482-2595 or visit us online at www.celebrityseries.org.
The Celebrity Series of Boston, Inc. receives generous support from Amy & Joshua Boger; Donna & Mike Egan; Gabor Garai & Susan Pravda; The Garbis & Arminè Barsoumian Charitable Foundation; Stephanie L. Brown; David & Harriet Griesinger; Paul L. King; Jann Leeming & Arthur Little; The Royal Little Family Foundation; Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation; Stewart Myers; Eleanor & Frank Pao; The John S. and Cynthia Reed Foundation; Stiffler Family Foundation; Sanjay & Sangeeta Verma; Nancy Richmond Winsten; Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC; EMC Corporation; Foley & Lardner; Massachusetts Cultural Council; National Endowment for the Arts; The Peabody Foundation; PTC; Tufts Health Plan; The D.L. Saunders Real Estate & Hotel Investment Group, AMO; Vertex Pharmaceuticals.