Jennifer Koh Launches “Alone Together”
Violinist Jennifer Koh Launches Online Commissioning Project and Performances Series “Alone Together” In Support of Composers During Coronavirus Crisis. Project features short, solo violin works by 42 composers—21 commissioned by ARCO Collaborative, 21 donating their compositions.
New Commissions to be Premiered via Live Stream Every Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET, Starting April 4.
World premieres to be live-streamed via Instagram TV and Facebook Live, and subsequently made available on demand via YouTube.
Twenty-one composers, most of whom have salaried positions or other forms of institutional support to carry them through this challenging time, have each agreed to donate a new, 30-second micro-work for solo violin, while also recommending a fellow freelance composer to write their own 30-second solo violin work on paid commission from the artist-driven nonprofit ARCO Collaborative. Starting this week, Ms. Koh will premiere a selection of these donated and commissioned works each Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET via Instagram TV (@jenniferkohmusic) and Facebook Live (/jenniferkohviolin). Each performance will be subsequently available on demand via YouTube (/jenniferkohviolin). She will also share related content throughout the week leading up to each performance, including insights from each composer, behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage, and each musical score posted on social media.
Alone Together begins with the exploration and performance of four works: Wang Lu’s Hover and Recede; Joungbum Lee’s Hovering Green, commissioned at the recommendation of Ms. Wang; Vijay Iyer’s For Violin Alone; and Morgan Guerin’s Together, But Alone (In Quarantine), commissioned at the recommendation of Mr. Iyer. See the complete list of composers participating in this project.
Ms. Koh said: “Our musical community has given me a sense of hope and light during these difficult times. Alone Together celebrates and supports our community creatively. We will look back at this time and be proud that we used this time to help other artists. And we can give ourselves and others solace by sharing creative space and giving artistic voice to our collective, universal experience during COVID-19.”
The commission fee of $500 maintains the standard rate of $1,000 per minute of music. Ms. Koh is also donating her premiere performances and has committed herself to performing works from Alone Together as often as possible, ensuring not only greater visibility for their composers and these pieces in particular, but also compensation in the form of royalties.
“I feel I’ve gained wisdom from my parents about what it was like to be refugees. But I don’t have the wisdom for this. It feels like everything’s changed.
I came up with this project, “Alone Together.” A lot of composer colleagues have salaried positions. Others are freelance, and vulnerable. I started calling colleagues with positions and asking them for help with our community, asking them to recommend freelance composers to write solo violin pieces. I guaranteed the money personally: $500 per 30 seconds of music, a respectable rate.
I’m going to play the 16 pieces from my apartment, over Instagram, and I’m donating my time and work. All the money is going to these composers.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the financial hardship it has placed on many in the arts community, violinist Jennifer Koh launches Alone Together, an online commissioning project that brings composers together in support of the many freelancers among them.”
‘Joy in the Grief’: Musicians Are Making Art in a Pandemic | The New York Times
“…“I thought, I could spend this period of time being scared, curled up in a ball in the corner of the apartment,” she says. “Or I could spend this time only thinking about my own survival. Or I could spend this time and try to help as many people as I can.”
So Koh got to work on Alone Together, an online performance series for which she hyper-compressed her usual process of discovering composers by asking 21 of them with some level of financial security (be it from salary or grants) to donate a new work between 30 seconds and one minute long, as well as to nominate 21 freelance composers for new commissions funded by Arco…”
How one violinist is rebuilding her musical community — one minute at a time | The Washington Post