Renowned GRAMMY Award-winning violinist Jennifer Koh is poised to mesmerize audiences with the performance of American composer and pianist Missy Mazzoli’s Violin Concerto, titled “Procession.” Commissioned in 2022 by the National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Radio 3, with generous support from ARCO Collaborative, the composition will be featured in a two-night event on October 14 and 15, 2023. The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO), under the baton of conductor Kenneth Bean, will accompany Koh in this highly anticipated musical journey, alongside Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides Overture” and Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 2.”
Mazzoli’s “Procession” weaves a tapestry of music and healing, drawing inspiration from the medieval era. In a unique artistic twist, the concerto casts the soloist as a multifaceted character—part soothsayer, part sorcerer, part healer, and part pied piper. Koh’s evocative performance will guide the orchestra through five interconnected healing spells, each embodied in a distinct movement:
- Procession in a Spiral
- St. Vitus
- O My Soul
- Bone to Bone, Blood to Blood
- Procession Ascending
The first movement pays homage to medieval penitential processions, while the second invokes the spirit of St. Vitus, the patron saint of dancing. The third movement reimagines a hymn of the same name, and the fourth represents a spell aimed at mending broken limbs. The grand finale sees the soloist leading the orchestra “straight into the sky.”
Kenneth Bean, the conductor of this extraordinary musical event, expressed his excitement, stating, “I look forward to taking patrons on this amazing musical journey from the tumultuous waves of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides to the contemporary vibrance of Mazzoli’s concerto brought to life by the incomparable Jennifer Koh, and culminating with the grandeur of Nordic landscapes depicted by Sibelius’ 2nd Symphony. The program serves as a wonderful reminder that music is both an echo of the past as well as a beacon for the future.”
Missy Mazzoli’s impressive body of work has received acclaim and has been performed by esteemed ensembles like the Kronos Quartet, LA Opera, eighth blackbird, the BBC Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and Scottish Opera, among others. She currently holds the esteemed position of Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and is the driving force behind a mentorship program for aspiring young female composers, created in collaboration with the Kaufman Music Center. Her compositions are published by G. Schirmer.
Jennifer Koh, celebrated for her commanding and intense performances, continues to captivate audiences with works from her critically acclaimed solo and duo commissioning projects, including “Alone Together,” “Bach and Beyond Bridge to Beethoven,” “Limitless,” and “Shared Madness.” Koh serves as the artistic director of ARCO Collaborative and the Kennedy Center’s Fortas Chamber Music Concerts.
Koh, a former Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient and winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Concert Artists Guild Competition, has graced the stages of prestigious orchestras worldwide, including the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki Philharmonics, as well as the Cleveland, Mariinsky, Minnesota, and Philharmonia Orchestras. She has collaborated with orchestras such as the Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, BBC, Chicago, Cincinnati, National, New World, NHK, RAI, and Singapore Symphonies.
Under the musical direction of Rossen Milanov, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) continues to enrich the cultural landscape with orchestral, pops, and chamber music programs. In addition to their concerts, the PSO offers engaging lectures, educational outreach programs, and hosts flagship events like the Princeton Festival and PSO BRAVO! Outreach orchestra. Notably, the PSO holds the distinction of being the only professional orchestra based in Princeton and graces the historic Richardson Auditorium of Princeton University with its performances.