A Personal Statement by Jennifer Koh
Having grown up in a time when people were declaring classical music to be a dead art form, I have felt it necessary to understand why I am committed to this art form and why I believe classical music is a ­relevant and meaningful to the present society that I live in.  I have always ­believed that music is a direct conversation and reflection of the world that we live in.

Through my own experience as a performer, I have witnessed ­music reaching others regardless of race, religion or language.  Human ­beings can connect to music written in the past because there is a ­common thread that connects us to that very human work of art.  ­However, the historical context of the work can create a barrier to connecting to the music of a past time.  With each day that passes, we move further away from the time and history of a composer like Bach.  I ­believe that ­contemporary music re-creates the thread to which we can connect back to past works of art.  Contemporary music makes music from all time periods more transparent to the listener and also to the ­performer.

The Six Sonatas and Partitas of Bach have long been considered the definitive works written for solo violin.  When exploring solo violin works written in the Classical, Romantic, and present day, I have found the compositions to be especially directly connected to Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas.    Whether Ysaye quotes directly from Bach’s E Major Partita; or Bartok quotes from Bach’s compositional structures in his solo ­violin sonata (Chaconne-Fugue-Adagio-Presto); or Salonen writes his solo violin work, “lachen verlernt”in the form of a chaconne, Bach’s solo sonatas and partitas are felt clearly throughout history in all of these works.  Bach’s Six Sonatas for solo violin, although written nearly 300 years ago has proven to be a summit for composers and violinists.

I wanted to create a program that truly connected my beliefs not only in the relevance of classical music as a whole, but in the process of how I live and work as a musician.  I wanted to present the works of Bach which I have a long loved, in communion with the contemporary music of composers that I am dedicated to.  I am launching the Bach and ­Beyond project in order to strengthen the connection with the Six Sonatas and Partitas by Bach to our present world through a historical journey of solo violin works to the very newest connections through the commissioning of new works by contemporary composers.  The Bach and Beyond project consists of 3 programs with one Sonata and ­Partita of Bach beginning and ending each program.  The first program ­consists of works ranging from Bach, Ysaye, Salonen and Saariaho with a new video commission for the Salonen by Tal Rosner.  The second program will feature two commissioned works for solo violin written by Phil Kline and Anna Clyne in addition to Bach and Kurtag.  The third program will consist of Bach, Bartok, and a new work by John Harbison.  All three composers have agreed to write these works.