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Miller Theatre to Open BACH, REVISITED Series with Kaija Saariaho, 2/6

Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts announces the opening of the 2013-14 BACH, REVISITED SERIES. The series returns with a contemporary twist: a major living composer curates each of the three concerts, presenting their own work in the context of a Bach masterpiece.

Saariaho + Bach is set for Thursday, February 6, 2014. Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho pairs her work Frises with its inspiration, Bach's Partita in D minor for solo violin, in a solo recital by Jennifer Koh.

The Bach, Revisited series continues this spring with two more concerts: Tower + Bach on Thursday, April 17, 2014, and Reich + Bach on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

All concerts will be held at Miller Theatre, located at 2960 Broadway at 116th Street, and begin at 8:00pm. Season Tickets: $68-$92; Single Tickets: $25-45; Students with valid ID: $15-27.

From Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey: "I am delighted to be mixing up this year's Bach series by bringing back three of our favorite composers to curate the concerts. We've asked them to share influential Bach pieces and their own works, born from that inspiration, in three diverse and deeply personal programs."

BACH, REVISITED: The Bach series has evolved over the years, encompassing both historically informed performances and modern interpretations, and offering listeners a wide variety of musical lenses through which to view Bach's masterful oeuvre. In its current incarnation, the Bach, Revisited series explores Bach's legacy and continuing influence on modern works, pairing Bach's work with that of contemporary composers. The 25th Anniversary Season lineup has a unique twist: three incredible living composers-Kaija Saariaho, Joan Tower, and Steve Reich-will curate programs pairing their own work with related, influential works of Bach. All three will also participate in onstage discussions about their selections. Bach, Revisited

Saariaho + Bach

This Finnish composer's international reputation has continued to blossom since her packed 2009 Composer Portrait at Miller Theatre. Jennifer Koh-who "gave a stunning, high-energy account of the almost continuous solo line" (The New York Times) of Saariaho's violin concerto in that performance-returns to play solo works by Bach and Saariaho. Directly inspired by the D minor partita, Saariaho's Frises draws on Baroque forms (passacaglia, ground bass, chaconne) and stretches the sonic palette of the solo violin with live electronics.

Saariaho: Frises (2011) for violin and electronics - U.S. premiere
J.S. Bach: Partita in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004

Jennifer Koh, violin
Jean-Baptiste Barrière, electronics

Kaija Saariaho is a prominent member of a group of Finnish composers and performers who are now, in mid-career, making a worldwide impact. She studied composition in Helsinki, Freiburg, and Paris, where she has lived since 1982. Her studies and research at IRCAM have had a major influence on her music, and her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures are often created by combining live music and electronics. Although much of her catalogue comprises chamber works, since the mid-nineties she has turned increasingly to larger forces and broader structures, such as the operas L'Amour de loin andAdriana Mater and the oratorio La Passion de Simone. She was composer-in-residence for Carnegie Hall's 2011-12 season.

Miller Theatre presented a Composer Portrait of Saariaho's music in the 2009-10 season, opened its 2010-11 season with the U.S. premiere of her ballet Maa, and produced a Touring Composer Portrait of her work at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in the 2011-12 season.

Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. Since the 1994-95 season when she won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Ms. Koh has been heard with leading orchestras and conductors worldwide. Also a prolific recitalist, she appears frequently at major music centers and festivals. With an impassioned musical curiosity, Ms. Koh is forging an artistic path of her devising, choosing works that inspire and challenge. In 2009 she debuted "Bach and Beyond," a six year, 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, performed in New York, Toronto, and Berkeley. Other career highlights include the solo violin role of Einstein in Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach, also in New York and Berkeley; appearances with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and Bach's complete Sonatas and Partitas performed in a single concert in Houston. Koh brings the same sense of adventure and brilliant musicianship to her recordings as she does to her live performances. She regularly records for the Cedille label, which released Rhapsodic Musings and the Grammy-nominated album String Poetic. On her most recent recording, Signs, Games + Messages released in October 2013, Koh joins pianist Shai Wosner to play 20th century works by Leoš Janá?ek, Béla Bartók, and György Kurtág.

Jean-Baptiste Barrière was born in Paris in 1958. His studies included music, art history, philosophy, and mathematical logic. In 1998, he joined IRCAM in Paris, directing Musical Research, Education, and Production; he left in 1998 to concentrate on personal projects focusing on the interaction between music and image. His piece Chréode (1983) won the Prix de la Musique Numérique of the Concours International of Bourges in 1983 (CD Wergo). He composed the music of several multimedia shows, including 100 Objects to Represent the World by Peter Greenaway, which premiered at the Salzburg Festival in 1997. Barrière has also composed the music of several virtual reality and interactive installations by Maurice Benayoun, including Worldskin (Prix Ars Electronica 1998). He developed Reality Checks, a cycle of installations and performances questioning the concept of identity in the digital age. He directed the CD-ROM, Prisma: The Musical Universe of Kaija Saariaho (Grand Prix Multimédia Charles Cros 2000), and regularly realizes visual concerts of Saariaho's music, including her opera L'Amour de loin, performed in Berlin and Paris in 2006 by Kent Nagano and Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. He directed visuals for concert versions of operas such as Olivier Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise with Kent Nagano and Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (which won the 24th Grand Prix du Conseil des arts of Montréal), and with Myung Whun Chung and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France in 2008; and Alban Berg's Wozzeck with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia of London in 2009. During the 2011-2012 academic year, he was a Visiting Professor in the music department of Columbia University. Miller Theatre presents a Composer Portrait of Barrière on March 29, 2014.

Directions and information is available online at or via the Miller Theatre Box Office, at 212.854.7799.

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