Video: Jennifer Koh Plays 6 New Works That Redefine Violin Virtuosity for the 21st Century

By Stephen Raskauskas and Michael San Gabino |

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Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1 has defined virtuosity on the solo violin for nearly 200 years. Violinist Jennifer Koh is changing that. She has partnered with some of today’s leading composers to redefine virtuosity on the solo violin for the 21st century.

Koh asked some of her close friends and colleagues to write original works for the solo violin that explore contemporary sounds and playing techniques. Since, over 30 composers have donated original works to Koh’s project, called Shared Madness. Below, sample some of these new works by Kaija Saariaho, Missy Mazzoli, Philip Glass, Zosha di Castri, Andrew Norman, and John Harbison, performed by Jennifer Koh.

Jennifer Koh, a native of the Chicago area, visited the WFMT studios on January 26, 2018 before performances with Northwestern University's Winter Chamber Music Festival. For more information about Jennifer Koh and Shared Madness, visit her website.