Arts & Culture

Violinist Jennifer Koh to join UK Orchestra at Singletary Center

Jennifer Koh seated in chair holding bow and violin
Jennifer Koh will join UK Symphony Orchestra in concert.

LEXINGTON, KY. (March 1, 2023) — The Singletary Center for the Arts resumes bringing world-class artists back to its stage on Friday, March 3, with a special performance by violinist Jennifer Koh with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestr (UKSO)

Koh is an innovative musician dedicated to promoting equity and inclusivity in classical music through exploring an eclectic repertoire. Her pursuit of the unfamiliar and unusual, sense of endless curiosity and ability to lead and inspire a host of multidisciplinary collaborators truly sets her apart from other artists. Koh’s performance at the Singletary Center for the Arts will be no different as she takes the stage with the UK Symphony Orchestra, directed by Maestro John Nardolillo

“One of the ways the Singletary Center supports the academic mission of the College of Fine Arts is to create special performance scenarios for our students. The opportunity to perform alongside such an exciting and enigmatic artist as Jennifer Koh is an exceptional privilege for members of the UKSO, both in terms of enhancing their personal artistry and receiving the exposure that comes with performing with a nationally-renowned artist,” said SCFA Director Matthew Gibson, on what is sure to be a special evening for Lexington’s music scene and students alike. “I’m excited for our audiences to get to experience this thrilling, mysterious and above all, musically stimulating performance; it will be a night to remember for everyone present.”

The highlight of Koh’s performance with the UKSO will be Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli’s new concerto for violin, “Procession” — a piece commissioned for Koh by the National Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and BBC Radio 3 as part of Koh’s "New American Concerto" series, an ongoing commissioning project that explores the form of the violin concerto and its potential for artistic interaction with contemporary societal concerns and issues.

“Playing and performing new works is important because this is music of our time, the music closest to the students, and most easily understood by them,” said Maestro Nardolillo on UKSO’s commitment to programming new works by young composers. “For both the orchestra and the audience, these are works of art that comment on the lives we are living now.”

“Procession,” which casts soloist Koh as a soothsayer, sorcerer, healer and pied piper-type character, leading the orchestra through five interconnected healing spells, will make its Kentucky debut 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, at the Singletary Center.

The concert will also include the Kentucky premiere of Outi Tarkiainen’s “Songs of the Ice” and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances.” 

Tickets are $23 for general admission, $10 for students and free for UK students with a valid ID before the day of the performance (available only through the Singletary Center Ticket Office). Tickets are available through the Singletary Center Ticket Office online at, by phone at 859-257-4929 or in person at the venue. Children 6 and older are welcome.  

Founded in 1918, the UKSO is a 100-member all-student orchestra, presenting classical, chamber, opera and education concerts. The group is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States, Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. The orchestra has regularly performed with world-renowned concert artists including Itzhak Perlman, Lang  Lang, Sarah Chang, Gil Shaham, Lynn Harrell, Marvin Hamlisch, Denyce Graves, Christine Brewer, Pink Martini, Ronan Tynan, Mark O’Connor, Wynonna Judd, Keith Lockhart and Arlo Guthrie.    

UK’s orchestra has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., tours the state of Kentucky regularly and has toured China, playing concerts in major concert halls in Shanghai, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Yangzhou and Beijing. The orchestra’s performance at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts was broadcast on China Central Television, a network reaching more than 1.5 billion viewers. In the fall of 2010, the orchestra played for the opening ceremonies of the World Equestrian Games, a performance that featured more than 1,500 performers and 200 horses that was seen live on NBC in the United States by 39 million people, and by an estimated 500 million more television viewers worldwide.    

Maestro John Nardolillo has appeared with more than 30 of the country’s leading orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the National Symphony, and principal orchestras of Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Milwaukee, Utah, Columbus, Indianapolis, Oregon, Fort Worth, Buffalo, Alabama, Louisville, Missouri, North Carolina, Toledo, Vermont, Columbus, Omaha and Hawaii. He also recently conducted concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia; and Carnegie Hall in New York. Nardolillo made his professional conducting debut in 1994 at the Sully Festival in France and has since made conducting appearances in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Czech Republic and China. He has led major American orchestras in subscription series concerts, summer and pops concerts, education concerts and tours, and for television and radio broadcasts. Nardolillo is the artistic director of the Prague Summer Nights Music Festival, and in 2004, he joined the faculty at the UK School of Music, where he serves as the director of orchestras.    

The UK Symphony Orchestra is housed in the School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts. The UK School of Music has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history.   

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.