Jennifer Koh and Ensemble LPR ~ A Review

Jennifer Koh performing solo at Ensemble LPR’s concert at (le) poisson rouge; Photo courtesy of Lina Shteynjenniferkohlpr

Ensemble LPR w/Jennifer Koh, violin
Ensemble LPR
Tito Muñoz, conductor
Jennifer Koh, violin
(le) poisson rouge, NYC
Friday, June 14th, 2013

An interesting 3-part show of sorts–Jennifer Koh the guest soloist alone, again with orchestra, and then the orchestra alone.

It started with Jennifer Koh in a black dress playing John Zorn’s “Passagen for solo violin” from 2011. Sounding just as abrasive and taxing as the composer’s “Goetia” (which Jennifer also recorded), Koh rendered the 11-minute work with crumbling intensity, and gave such an explosive reminder of that earlier piece. John Zorn is one of my favorites, and definitely one of the greatest people to successfully bridge the world of classical music with the world of new music.

Koh was then joined by the first appearance of the night by the Ensemble LPR, and they proceeded with Charles Wuorinen’s “Spin 5 for violin and 18 Musicians”. The piece’s overall tonality reminded me a little of the Schoenberg violin concerto.

Having heard this ensemble for the first time ever, it was great to hear a small orchestra inside an intimate venue–Now, if they crammed the NY Phil up on that stage, one can only imagine, but when ELPR performed Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, I think we got some kind of idea of that. It was a really good performance, and despite the intimacy and dryness of the sound, compared to having actually heard an orchestra play it at Carnegie, it still didn’t sound so naked. Great job from Maestro Muñoz and the ensemble (and Jennifer).



Preview of Ensemble LPR and Jennifer Koh at (le) Poisson Rouge

Photo courtesy of Christina WalkerJennifer Koh, credit Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Christina Walker photographer 2

On Friday, June 14th at 7:30 PM, (le) Poisson Rouge will have a show featuring Ensemble LPR (EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing they’re like the house band), and their guest soloist will be violinist Jennifer Koh. Their program will be featuring the music of Beethoven, John Zorn and Charles Wourinen.

This is Jennifer’s debut at the NY venue, and she had a few seconds to talk about it with The Glass.

“I’ve been waiting for the right time to make my (le) Poisson Rouge debut, and performing with the Ensemble LPR with Tito Munoz on the occasion of LPR’s 5th anniversary felt right. LPR exemplifies New York’s creative and artistic spirit and I wanted the programming to reflect that. I am thrilled to work with the ensemble for the first time and am also excited to include works that speak to my own relationship with NYC by playing two pieces written for me — Charles Wuorinen’s ‘Spin 5’ with the ensemble and a solo piece by John Zorn called ‘Passagen’. Although the composers come from seemingly different places – Uptown and Downtown – and one would think that these works would be in opposition with one another, they are not. Just like the city itself, they seem to complement and highlight each other.”

Ensemble LPR (Photo courtesy of Zak Powers)elpr

Ensemble LPR
Tito Muñoz, conductor/music director
With guest soloist, Jennifer Koh, violin

John Zorn: “Passagen” ~ for Solo Violin (2011)
Charles Wuorinen: “Spin 5” ~ for Violin and 18 Players (2006)
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 (1812)

Click here to buy tickets for Ensemble LPR with Jennifer Koh

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A Powerful Weekend of Music ~ Double Review

From L-R: Todd Reynolds and Cornelius Dufallo (Photo courtesy of Glenn Cornett)neilandtodd

Cornelius Dufallo presents
Journaling, Part Five
Cornelius Dufallo, violin/electronics; also emcee
Also appearing: Todd Reynolds, violin/electronics
Guy Barash, electronics
Kinan Azmeh, clarinet
Spectrum, NYC
Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Even though Cornelius Dufallo’s show this past Saturday at Spectrum was a bit shorter than the previous Journaling gig I reviewed last year, its length didn’t keep the fifth live installment from being a memorable and intense set of new music for the violin. Continue reading

Jennifer Choi ~ On the Premiere of Daniel Felsenfeld’s Bad Coffee Serenade and Related Things


Violinist Jennifer Choi, whom you know from having been a member of ETHEL, is out and about working on various things that will be coming up the pike in days to come–Among these things is the premiere of a work by Daniel Felsenfeld titled Bad Coffee Serenade with Ensemble 212 this Saturday, March 23rd, 8 PM at Good Sheperd-Faith Presbyterian Church. Click here or on the bottom link for tickets/info.
Jennifer spoke to me via Skype. Continue reading

Anne Akiko Meyers ~ On the Ex-Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesu and Related Things


Violinist extraordinaire Anne Akiko Meyers is busy with many wonderful projects for us to look forward to, including some more premieres of a violin concerto composed for her by Mason Bates (which made its world premiere this past December in Pittsburgh w/Leonard Slatkin conducting) as well as a new CD that is in the works (she couldn’t tell me what’s on it, sadly, we’ll have to wait patiently), but the latest news is that she has recently been awarded lifetime usage of a Guarneri del Gesu from 1741 that was previously owned by Henri Vieuxtemps, and she is very excited to bring this instrument to the concert hall for the public to hear, and plans to use for not only the Bates Concerto premieres but also pieces like the Barber Concerto, of which a few minutes can be heard on the promo below (with the Guarneri). Continue reading

Jeff Myers


Composer Jeff Myers, whose name you probably have seen because violinist Hilary Hahn had this thing called the In 27 Pieces project where she had new pieces commissioned from 26 composers. When it was apparent that there was a 27th that was yet to be announced, she then launched a contest where up and coming composers were invited to submit a piece for Hilary to be selected as the 27th encore–Jeff was the selected winner with a work titled “The Angry Birds of Kauai”, and sadly, I have not yet heard it, but Alain Matalon, who recently attended Hilary’s concert in Turkey, has heard it (Published in Seen and Heard International, 1/7/13):

“Jeff Myers’ ‘The Angry Birds of Kauai’ (no relation to the popular computer game), the winner among the more than 400 works that were submitted for the project, is built upon a wide range of influences from Filipino kulintang music to overtone music. Mostly dodecaphonic in style, this high strung music gives equal weight to both instruments where the violin mimics the sound of exotic birds while the piano provides the sound of nature in the background.”

Continue reading

Hilary Hahn’s Recital in Turkey ~ A Review

Hilary Hahn performing at the İş Sanat Cultural Center, Istanbul, Turkey (Photo courtesy of İş Sanat)hilaryinistanbul

Hilary Hahn–Recital
Selections from In 27 Pieces and music from Bach, Corelli and Fauré
Hilary Hahn, violin
Cory Smythe, piano
Istanbul Concert Hall at İş Sanat Cultural Center
Istanbul, Turkey
Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Written by Alain Matalon

It is not, and certainly should not be, exclusive to luxury brand sponsored male pianists to make a fashion statement on the concert stage. Before she dazzled our ears, Ms. Hilary Hahn, stunned our visual slant as she appeared on stage in a close-fitting nude-colored gown adorned with ethnic embroidery on top, and below the waist, ten rows of golden tassels (that, as a friend put later “danced a frenetic foxtrot, or a genial waltz depending on the music she happened to be playing”). Accompanying her was Mr. Cory Smythe on the piano for an evening celebrating the union of the very old, the old, and the very new.

The duo was in Istanbul for a special evening to mark the fruits of Hilary Hahn’s recent In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores project. Out of the eight pieces that were played, four of them were World Premieres (and, according to Ms. Hahn, the other four were “Northern Hemisphere debuts”). The program was designed to reflect as much contrast as possible with the encore pieces scattered around the traditional ones.

hilaryinistanbul5The Corelli Op. 5 No. 4 in F Major, a rather easy feat for the competent pair, kicked the evening to a jocund start followed by three encores from the project in their world premiere: James Newton Howard’s “133… At Least”, a fast and uneasy number dealing mostly with rising and falling chromatic melodies in Ms. Hahn’s expert hands; A.G. Abril’s “Three Sighs”: a peculiar amalgam of lush and lyrical violin against sharp, staccato piano attacks from Mr.Smythe and Mason Bates’ “Ford’s Farm”, a rhythmically structured dance music accentuating the perfect sync between the two musicians. Continue reading