Violinist Jennifer Koh Performs With Composers On 'Limitless' From Cedille Records
Violinist Jennifer Koh's newest album, Limitless, based on her groundbreaking 2018 recital project of the same name, bridges the modern divide between composer and instrumentalist as it celebrates artistic collaboration and revisits the grand tradition of composers performing their own music.
Limitless, available September 13, 2019, on Cedille Records, features duos from a diverse roster of accomplished contemporary composers, which Koh performs with the composers themselves. World-premiere recordings include Qasim Naqvi's The Banquet; Lisa Bielawa's Sanctuary Songs; Du Yun's Give Me Back My Fingerprints; Tyshawn Sorey's In Memoriam Muhal Richard Abrams; Wang Lu's Her Latitude; and Vijay Iyer's The Diamond, all newly commissioned by ARCO Collaborative. In addition to the new commissions, the album also has Nina Young's Sun Propeller, in its world-premiere recording, plus two pieces by Missy Mazzoli: A Thousand Tongues and Vespers for Violin.
Limitless is a two-CD album priced as a single disc (Cedille Records CDR 90000 191).
Koh worked closely with the composers as the pieces were being written.
"Each collaboration has been truly special and unique," Koh writes in the CD booklet. "And collectively, they reflect the multiplicity of voices that will guide our art form into the future."
Qasim Naqvi's The Banquet for violin and modular synthesizer explores a convergence between acoustic string and electronic sound worlds. Lisa Bielawa's Sanctuary Songs for violin and voice sets three texts by American women poets of the 1920s; each poem includes the word "sanctuary." Du Yun's Give Me Back My Fingerprints for violin and voice illustrates what The New York Times calls her "adventurously eclectic" style. Tyshawn Sorey's In Memoriam Muhal Richard Abrams for violin and glockenspiel honors Sorey's beloved mentor, the avant-garde pianist, composer, and founding president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).
Limitless also offers the first recording of Nina Young's Sun Propeller for violin and electronics, inspired by traditional Tuvan throat-singing; Wang Lu's Her Latitude for violin and electronics, with a quasi-improvised piano part and electronically processed sounds of Buddhist chants and old Korean pop songs; and jazz luminary Vijay Iyer's The Diamond for violin and piano, inspired by an early Buddhist text.
The album concludes with Missy Mazzoli's A Thousand Tongues for violin, piano, and electronics, an intense response to a line in a Stephen Crane poem, and Vespers for Violin for violin and electronics, "deliciously disorienting" (National Public Radio) with a soaring solo violin.
In a March 2018 article previewing Koh's "Limitless" recitals at Brooklyn's National Sawdust, The New York Times lauded her as "one of our most important violinists" for her virtuosity and commissioning of new music and noted, "As ever, there are ideas in abundance."
Limitless was recorded by multiple Grammy-winning producer Judith Sherman and engineer Charles Mueller at Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, New York, on June 21, August 28, and August 30-31, 2018; and February 11, 2019.
"A prodigious builder of musical bridges" (Los Angeles Times), Koh has amassed a wide-ranging, 13-album Cedille Records catalog that includes the Grammy-nominated String Poetic, an all-American program featuring the world premiere recording of Jennifer Higdon's title work, and the critically acclaimed, two-volume Bach & Beyond series pairing J.S. Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin with Bach-influenced 20th- and 21st-century works, including pieces commissioned expressly for the project. (The concluding Part 3 is scheduled for release in 2020.)
Reviewing her album Bach & Beyond Part 2, ClassicsToday.com proclaimed, "When Jennifer Koh plays, people listen. Or they should."
BBC Music Magazine praised her 2018 Cedille release, Saariaho X Koh, featuring music of Kaija Saariaho, as "a delicate yet visceral recording" in which "Koh's grasp of the composer's inner tensions proves both subtle and fiercely virtuosic."
Koh has expanded the contemporary violin repertoire through a wide variety of commissioning projects and has premiered more than 70 works written specially for her. Her website is jenniferkoh.com.
Launched in November 1989, Grammy Award-winning Cedille Records (pronounced say-DEE) is dedicated to showcasing and promoting the most noteworthy classical artists in and from the Chicago area.
The audiophile-oriented label releases every new album in multiple formats: physical CD; 96 kHz, 24-bit, studio-quality FLAC download; and 320 Kbps MP3 download.
An independent nonprofit enterprise, Cedille Records is the label of Cedille Chicago, NFP. Sales of physical CDs and digital downloads and streams cover only a small percentage of the label's costs. Tax-deductible donations from individual music-lovers and grants from charitable organizations account for most of its revenue.
Cedille recently celebrated its 30th year at a gala fundraiser in Chicago.
Headquarters are at 1205 W. Balmoral Ave., Chicago, IL 60640; call (773) 989-2515; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: cedillerecords.org.
Cedille Records is distributed in the Western Hemisphere by Naxos of America and its distribution partners, by Select Music in the U.K., and by other independent distributors in the Naxos network in classical music markets around the world.
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