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January 4, 2021

'Alone Together' — Jennifer Koh

From the New York Times:

In the top echelons of classical music, the violinist Jennifer Koh is by any measure a star.

With a dazzling technique, she has ridden a career that any aspiring Juilliard grad would dream about — appearing with leading orchestras, recording new works, and performing on some of the world's most prestigious stages.

Now, nine months into a contagion that has halted most public gatherings and decimated the performing arts, Ms. Koh, who watched a year's worth of bookings evaporate, is playing music from her living room and receiving food stamps.

But if technology enables some artists to share their work, it doesn't necessarily help them earn much or even any money.

The violinist Ms. Koh, known for her devotion to promoting new artists and music, donated her time to create the "Alone Together" project, raising donations to commission compositions and then performing them over Instagram from her apartment.

The project was widely praised, but as Ms. Koh said, it doesn't produce income.

"I am lucky," Ms. Koh insisted.

Unlike many of her friends and colleagues, she managed to hang onto her health insurance thanks to a teaching gig at the New School, and she got a forbearance on her mortgage payments through March.

Many engagements have also been rescheduled — if not until 2022.

She ticks off the list of friends and colleagues who have had to move out of their homes or have lost their health insurance, their income, and nearly every bit of their work.

"It's just decimating the field," she said. "It concerns me when I look at the future."

January 4, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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