Violinist Jennifer Koh's SHARED MADNESS Web Series Launches

By: Jun. 06, 2017
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Today, WQXR's Q2 Music premieres violinist Jennifer Koh's new online series, in which she converses with a diverse range of 30 dynamic, leading composers who contributed music to her Shared Madness project. Through short works for solo violin, which are heard in the final segment of each brief episode,SHARED MADNESS explores the relationship of composer to performer and performer to instrument as it stands today. Each composer provides a unique perspective, both in conversation and through his or her music, and in the first episode, Ms. Koh's guest is composer Matthew Aucoin, whose three-minute piece, Resolve, was composed for Shared Madness.

To stream this episode, click here. New episodes, posted every weekday through July 14, will be available for on-demand streaming via In addition to Mr. Aucoin, Ms. Koh's guests this week are Bryce Dessner, Samuel Adams, Anthony Cheung, and Missy Mazzoli (in order of appearance). Future guests include Daníel Bjarnason, David Lang, Andrew Norman, Kaija Saariaho, Augusta Read Thomas, and Julia Wolfe, among others. For a complete list of Shared Madness composers, from which the series' guests are drawn, click here.

About Shared Madness, Ms. Koh says: "Each composer ... offered to write a solo violin work exploring the relationship between the violinist and the instrument. While Paganini wrote a landmark set of 24 caprices that explored the relationship of virtuosity on the violin at the beginning of the 19th century, this group of composers ... explore the meaning of virtuosity in the 21st century." The Shared Madness compositions were premiered in two recitals at National Sawdust as part of last year's NY Phil Biennial. The performances were live-streamed by Q2 Music, and the recordings heard in the Shared Madness web series come from these recitals.

A new-music champion who regularly commissions and premieres new works for violin, Ms. Koh began Shared Madness as a "thank you" to Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting, new-music advocates and commissioners whose generosity helped her purchase the instrument on which she gave these premieres and who agreed to accept music in lieu of funds as repayment for the violin. With numerous composers donating their time and music, Shared Madness exemplifies the charitable community of artists and supporters.

"Shared Madness celebrates the support that exists within the artistic community and also seeks to encapsulate the intensity of the creative process shared between composer and performer. I am humbled and moved by the incredible generosity of my fellow artists in an effort to help me with what initially seemed to be an impossible task: ensuring that I could continue to perform on my instrument," said Ms. Koh.

"Jennifer Koh is one of the most intrepid and imaginative champions of new music on the scene today," said Alex Ambrose, Senior Producer, Q2 Music. "Q2 Music is honored to bring context to her fearless music-making and tireless advocacy through this series of conversations and world-premiere performance audio."