VIOLINISTS JENNIFER KOH AND JAIME LAREDO JOIN FORCES FOR TWO x FOUR, A NEW BACH-INSPIRED RECORDING TO BE RELEASED BY CEDILLE RECORDS ON APRIL 29

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VIOLINISTS JENNIFER KOH AND JAIME LAREDO JOIN FORCES
FOR TWO x FOUR, A NEW BACH-INSPIRED RECORDING TO BE RELEASED BY CEDILLE RECORDS ON APRIL 29

Album of four double-violin concertos offers J.S. Bach’s Concerto for
Two Violins, 
Philip Glass’s Echorus, and world-premiere recordings of
Anna Clyne’s
Prince of Clouds 
and David Ludwig’s Seasons Lost

            NEW YORK, NY (April 9, 2014)—Violinists Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo, Ms. Koh’s mentor and former teacher, perform J. S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043, and three works inspired by it on Two x Four, an album devoted to double-violin concertos, named for two violinists and four works. It’s the first joint recording for these long-time collaborators, who are distinctively different, yet highly compatible, violinists.

            The album comprises the “Two x Four” concert repertoire Ms. Koh and Mr. Laredo have performed with string orchestras coast-to-coast. In addition to the “Bach Double,” the album includes Philip Glass’s Echorus and world-premiere recordings of two works written expressly for the project: Anna Clyne’s Prince of Clouds and David Ludwig’s Seasons Lost. Ms. Koh and Mr. Laredo are joined by  musicians from their alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music, in the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble conducted by Vinay Parameswaran (Cedille Records CDR 90000 146).

            Two x Four will be released on CD by Cedille Records on Tuesday, April 29. The album was released as a digital download on Tuesday, April 1, and is available at Cedille Records, Amazon.com, and iTunes. A video trailer for Two x Four can be viewed at youtu.be/Mn9p7YRpIAw (see below for stills).

            Two x Four pays homage to Bach, whose music is a Koh touchstone, and the basis for her ongoing “Bach and Beyond” solo recitals and recordings that connect Bach with later composers. This new project expands the relatively sparse repertoire of double-violin concertos with newly commissioned works while celebrating the violinists’ mutual admiration. Ms. Koh holds special affection for Bach’s double-violin concerto. She first performed the late-Baroque masterpiece with Mr. Laredo while she was his student at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. “It has stayed with her as a reminder of the generous dialogue between student and mentor,” writes Katherine Bergstrom in the CD liner notes.

            While Bach (1685–1750) wasn’t the first to write a double concerto, he pushed the boundaries of the form, introducing new ways for two solo violins to converse with each other and with the orchestra. In the first movement, the violins pass the melody and counter-melody back and forth, as if conversing. In the second, they take turns in lead and supporting roles. The fast-paced finale is akin to a frantic footrace, with one violin at the heels of the other while the orchestra has the final say.

            Anna Clyne (b. 1980), a Chicago Symphony Orchestra composer–in-residence, wrote Prince of Clouds (2012), her first concerto, while contemplating the idea of musical lineage passing from one generation to the next. Ms. Clyne sees this time-honored process as “a beautiful gift.” The New York Times called Prince of Clouds “ravishing,” while the Chicago Tribune described it as “music one can listen to again and again and find new things to appreciate each time.”

            Philip Glass (b. 1937) wrote Echorus (1995) for the fabled collaboration of violinists Yehudi Menuhin and his protégé Edna Mitchell, who commissioned works addressing the theme of universal human compassion. Echorus is a characteristically attractive, hypnotic, undulating Glass score.

            A composer based at the Curtis Institute, David Ludwig (b. 1974) wrote his evocative Seasons Lost (2012) as a contemporary counterpart to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, informed by his concerns about climate change. Mr. Ludwig’s double-violin concerto is “full of beautiful ideas contrasting with playful/menacing Vivaldian gestures” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

            Two x Four is Ms. Koh’s ninth recording for Cedille Records and Mr. Laredo’s Cedille label debut. Ms. Koh’s Bach & Beyond Part 1 (Cedille Records CDR 90000 134) was named a New York Times best classical recording of 2012. Her String Poetic (Cedille Records CDR 90000 103) was nominated for a Grammy award.

            Highlights of Jennifer Koh’s 2013–14 season include “Bach and Beyond” recitals worldwide and “Two x Four” concerts with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In its concert review, the Los Angeles Times said, “Koh has become one of the most impressive and expressive violinists on the scene.” She performed the role of Einstein in Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach in Los Angeles and Berlin and made her Munich Philharmonic debut with Lorin Maazel. A champion of innovative contemporary music, this season Ms. Koh performed the US premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Frises for violin and electronics at Miller Theatre in New York and she performs the New York premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s The Singing Rooms, a concerto for violin and chorus composed for Ms. Koh, at Carnegie Hall on April 29, the release date of the Two x Four recording. This May, Ms. Koh launches a new video series in collaboration with Strings magazine and MusicBridge. The series, called Off Stage On Record, aims to entertain and inform students, artists, and audiences alike, and begins with the release of three five-minute episodes, each focused on an aspect of Ms. Koh’s life and career as a concert artist: creativity, collaboration, and taking care of one’s instrument and body. More episodes will be released later this year. A trailer for Off Stage On Record can be viewed on Ms. Koh’s YouTube Channel at youtube.com/jenniferkohviolin or at youtu.be/9lqH8f1rK74 (see below for a still). Her website is jenniferkoh.com.

            During his five decades as an international concert artist, Jaime Laredo has recorded nearly a hundred discs and garnered seven Grammy nominations. His recordings include Bach’s complete sonatas with the late pianist Glenn Gould. He is a member of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year in 2002. In addition to Ms. Koh, Mr. Laredo’s students have included violinists Leila Josefowitz and Hilary Hahn, among other well-known musicians. Since 2012, Mr. Laredo has been on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. For a biographical profile, visit the Institute’s website at www.cim.edu.

            A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, conductor Vinay Parameswaran studied with Paul Phillips at Brown University and Otto-Werner Mueller at the Curtis Institute. He is assistant conductor of the Nashville Symphony under its music director, Giancarlo Guerrero.

            The Curtis 20/21 Ensemble has collaborated with top-tier artists such as conductor Charles Dutoit, the new-music sextet eighth blackbird, and composer-conductor Matthias Pintscher. The New York Times reviewed the ensemble’s Joan Tower portrait program, saying “Ms. Tower could hardly have hoped for more passionate performances.”

Recording Information

            Two x Four was recorded in March 2013 in the Miriam and Robert Gould Rehearsal Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. It was produced by multiple Grammy awards-winner Judith Sherman and engineered by George Blood.

Cedille Records

            Approaching its 25th anniversary this fall, Grammy award-winning Cedille Records (pronounced say-DEE) has been dedicated to showcasing the most noteworthy classical artists in and from the Chicago area since its debut in November 1989. The audiophile-oriented label releases every new album in multiple formats: a physical CD; a 96 kHz, 24-bit, studio-quality FLAC download; and a 320 Kbps MP3 download. Cedille Records is distributed by Naxos of America and its distribution partners in the Western Hemisphere, by Select Music in the UK, and by other independent distributors in major international classical music markets. For further information, visit cedillerecords.org.

# # #

Two x Four
(Cedille Records CDR 90000 146) 

Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo, violins
Vinay Parameswaran, conductor
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble

 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Concert for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043 (15:07)
1.   I. Vivace
2.   II. Largo ma non tanto
3.   III. Allegro 

Anna Clyne (b. 1980)  
4.   Prince of Clouds (2012) (13:28)* 

Philip Glass (b. 1937)
5.   Echorus (7:07) 

David Ludwig (b. 1974)
Seasons Lost (2012) (16:06)*
6.   I. Winter (unum)
7.   II. Spring (duo)
8.   III. Summer (tertius)
9.   IV. Fall (quartus) 

* World-premiere recording

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