Jennifer Koh ’97, Vijay Iyer to Hold April Residency

April 3, 2017

Conservatory Communications Staff

Jennifer Koh and Vijay Iyer

Violinist Jennifer Koh and composer/pianist Vijay Iyer will devote a week to discussions and music-making with conservatory students in April. The centerpiece of the residency is an April 7 performance by Koh with Oberlin Sinfonietta in which they will workshop a new composition written by Iyer for Koh. The piece will receive its world premiere at the 2017 Ojai Music Festival in June.

All events are free and open to the public.

The residency begins Tuesday, April 4, with a conversation featuring Koh, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Claire Solomon, and Donald R. Longman Professor of English Sandy Zagarell. “Curating Encounters with the Unknown: A Literary and Musical Conversation” will center on questions of literary and musical interpretation. Among the questions to be addressed are: What does it mean to "read" a musical or literary work? How do they analyze the multiple logics at work in an individual piece and its relation to history and culture? In curating a concert, a CD, or a syllabus, how do they create a context in which the audience or class can both connect to the unfamiliar and learn to see the familiar in a new way? The talk takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Birenbaum Space at the Hotel at Oberlin.

On Wednesday, April 5, Koh will lead a master class at 7:30 p.m. in Stull Recital Hall.

On Thursday, April 6, Koh and Iyer will team up for a conversation called “Diversity in the Arts,” which will focus on how they use their music to tackle the difficult subject matter of racial violence. The program begins at noon in the McGregor Sky Bar and will be moderated by Associate Dean for Academic Support Chris Jenkins.

Also on Thursday, April 6, Iyer will lead a clinic on jazz piano. The 7 p.m. session takes place in Clonick Hall.

On Friday, April 7, Oberlin Sinfonietta’s 8 p.m. performance in Warner Concert Hall will begin with a workshop performance of Iyer’s violin concerto Trouble. Iyer is the music director of the 2017 festival, where the concerto will receive its world premiere; the piece was commissioned by Ojai; Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley; and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, music director.

The Sinfonietta performance will also include Clint Needham’s Chamber Symphony. The concert will be streamed live at

On Saturday, April 8, Iyer will lead a clinic for jazz instrumentalists. It will take place at 1 p.m. in Clonick Hall.

You may also like…