Especially in New York City, it's not easy to catch someone's attention, even for a second.
But Jennifer Koh riveted a room of 250 people with her stunning performance at the Asian American Alliance (a4) 29th Anniversary Benefit Gala on Tuesday, 18 October 2011, at Tribeca Rooftop. Jennifer had been selected to perform at the gala by honoree Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic.
Although I just met Jennifer on the day of the gala, I must confess that I felt a sisterhood since we both grew up in the Midwest as daughters of Asian parents--she in Chicago, me in rural Ohio.
These days, Jennifer tours the world with her 1727 Stradivari violin, a priceless instrument that can only come to life in the hands of a virtuoso. At the a4 gala, Jennifer presented the Sarabande and Gigue from Bach's Partita No. 2 in D Minor, spellbinding a room of guests with her transcendent performance.
This was one of many special moments as the Asian American arts community came together to celebrate the work and accomplishments of all the honorees, including Mr. Mehta and Barbara Ho, civic leader and arts advocate; Fay Ann Lee, writer and filmmaker; and Deepa Purohit, co-founder and artist director of Rising Circle Theatre Collective [who, by the way, also spent some of her formative years in suburban Northeast Ohio].
So many people made this evening a tremendous success: all those who attended that evening, the a4 board, staff, and all our amazing volunteers. Thanks so much to each and every one of you! It's through this kind of support and passion that a4 is able to help Asian American artists and arts groups thrive.
Jennifer Koh has just performed all of Bach's Unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas at the Miller Theatre at the Academy of Arts and Letters on Sunday, a feat of tremendous physical stamina and emotional reserve. You may read the New York Times review of her marathon performance here. And you learn more about her work and recordings at her Web site.