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Virtuoso violinist Jennifer Koh makes her NZSO debut

Virtuoso violinist Jennifer Koh makes her NZSO debut in November

One of the most exciting violinists of the decade will perform for the first time with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in November.

American Jennifer Koh, hailed by The New York Times as “a tireless champion of new music”, will perform with the Orchestra in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin in November.

“I always see classical music and music in general as a living and breathing art form,” says Koh.

The virtuoso features in The Great in association with InterContinental and Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. The concert will be conducted by NZSO Music Director Edo de Waart as part of his popular and critically acclaimed Masterworks concert series.

She will perform the renowned contemporary work Violin Concerto, written by Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, praised by The New Yorker as “classical music’s chief visionary”. The concerto, which weaves a myriad references from Bach to rock, premiered 10 years ago and even featured in an Apple iPad commercial.

“Salonen is a terrific, wonderful conductor in his own right and I like his music very much. He is one of the major voices of new composing” says Maestro de Waart.

“Jennifer Koh is a terrific violinist who gives contemporary music what it needs – 100 per cent commitment. So she is the best possible person to play Salonen’s Violin Concerto.”

Koh performs with the world’s leading orchestras and is known for her broad range, whether it be Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Dvořák, Bartok and Berg, or contemporary composers, including Philip Glass. Critics continue to praise her performances of Salonen’s Violin Concerto and other works, including more than 70 specially written for her.

In the second half the NZSO will perform Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, The Great. Schubert’s own letters refer to the work as his “grand symphony”. Bursting with beautiful melodies, it was ahead of its time and is now regarded as one of his greatest works. It was also the Austrian composer’s last completed symphony and one he never heard performed. The first public performance wasn’t until 1839, 11 years after the composer’s death.

Maestro de Waart says it’s a magnificent work and its four movements will enthral audiences.


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