Steve Sang Kyun Koh
Dr. Steve Sang Kyun Koh was appointed to the position of Assistant Professor of Violin in 2019. From 2017 to 2019, Koh was Adjunct Instructor in violin at University of Toronto, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He received his Bachelor of Arts at Rice University in Houston, Texas (U.S.A.), where he was the recipient of the Herbert & Helen Allen scholarship and the Dick and Mary Ellen Wilson scholarship. After finishing his Bachelor’s degree, Koh continued his studies and received his Master’s in String Performance and Pedagogy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (U.S.A.), where he was the recipient of the coveted Emily Boettcher and Yule Bogue Endowed Fund and the Dick Eickstein Grant. At University of Toronto, he was a student of Professor Yehonatan Berick, the Palmason Graduate Fellow in Violin, and the teaching assistant to Professor Annalee Patipatanakoon of the Gryphon Trio.
An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Koh is co-founder of the Interro String Quartet, which explores diverse programming and eccentric venues as means to remove chamber music from concert halls and to connect with the wider public. A trademark of the Quartet’s programming, each of the concerts feature a “Compound Quartet” in which movements or pieces from four different composers are combined to make one composite quartet. With the Interro Quartet, Koh has been a co-author and recipient of several grants from the Ontario Arts Council and has annually commissioned quartet pieces featuring emerging composers in Ontario, Canada. In further support of new music, Koh is a member of the Toronto Messiaen Ensemble and has collaborated with emerging North American composers and internationally-renowned composers, such as Salvatore Sciarrino. From 2016 to 2018, he was a fellow at the Toronto Summer Music Festival. where he shared the stage with violists Leslie Robertson and Teng Li, cellist Antonio Lysy and Brian Manker, violinists Nikki Chooi, Yehonatan Berick, Alexander Kerr, and Adam Barnett-Hart. In addition to these performing activities, he has performed with the Sudbury Symphony, London Sinfonia, Symphony S.O.N.G., Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.
His research interests range from performance practices of the 17th and 18th century to jazz to music technology. Published in November 2017, Koh’s dissertation, “Spaces in Between: A Swing-Informed Approach to Performing Jazz- and Blues- Influenced Western Art Music for Violin,” examines the challenges performers face when trying to balance interpretation with understandings of composers’ intentions. Most notably, Koh is co-Founder of Anima Music.inc (www.anima-ai.com) a software company that aims to amplify the potential of human musical expression with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the music composition and performance process. This work on AI and music performance has been featured in lecture-recitals at institutions around North America.
Koh has studied with the members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra National de France, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His past and current teachers have included Kenn Wagner, Helen Hwaya Kim, Yehonatan Berick, Jonathan Crow, Clara Jumi Kang, Svetlin Roussev, Joel Smirnoff, Koichiro Harada, Gerardo Ribeiro, Kathleen Winkler, Irina Muresanu, and Krzysztof Wegrzyn. He has performed in solo and chamber music masterclasses for Cyrus Forough of Carnegie Mellon University, Paul Kantor of the Shepherd School of Music, Shmuel Ashkenasi of the Curtis Institute of Music, Hiroko Yajima of Mannes School of Music, the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin of the Berlin Philharmoniker, and for the Belcea String Quartet.