Jennifer Koh opens the Colorado Music Festival

Violinist Jennifer Koh opens the 2016 Colorado Music Festival on Thu Jun 30, playing the Violin Concerto by Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.

You may well be more familiar with this work than you think: it was featured in an Apple iPad commercial showing the composer working on the score. Salonen, who was music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1992 until 2009, conducted the world premiere of the concerto during his last year in the post. As Alex Ross writes:

Salonen is shown receiving inspiration for a passage in his Violin Concerto and trying it out in his iPad … More notably, it is musical: the concerto dictates the rhythm of the editing, and the correlation between notation and sound is made excitingly clear. Most unusually, it celebrates a contemporary classical piece; Salonen’s concerto had its première at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2009

Koh is no stranger to the piece, having performed it to acclaim in Seattle in 2014, with Bachtrack reviewer Thomas May writing:

Jennifer Koh…made a formidable champion of the work in this ‘role debut’. Koh commanded the full technical arsenal required for Salonen’s expressive purposes: unrelenting, rapid-fire arpeggiations in the first movement, ethereal sustained notes (especially at the highest extreme of the instrument’s register), vertiginous interval leaps. Most impressive of all was Koh’s use of phrasing and articulation, from aggressively steely attacks to the whitest, most featherweight tones.

You can watch Jennifer Koh speaking about performing another of Salonen’s works, Lachen verlernt for solo violin:

Jennifer Koh plays Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto with the CMF Festival Orchestra, conducted by music director Jean-Marie Zeitouni on Thu, Jun 30 at 7:30pm at Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder.

Other works in the program include Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz.