A violinist of great range and energy, Salley Koo has performed internationally as a solo and chamber musician. Hailing from Chicago, where she studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Center of the North Shore (now Music Institute of Chicago), Ms. Koo then earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University in English and American Literature, continuing her violin studies with Lynn Chang. She subsequently received a Master of Music and pursued Artist Diploma work from the Yale School of Music under the tutelage of Peter Oundjian. Ms. Koo completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in violin performance at Stony Brook University under Pamela Frank and Philip Setzer. Over the course of her extensive training, she has studied with numerous other luminaries, including David Taylor, Sylvie Koval, and Dorothy Kitchen.
Ms. Koo has cultivated an active concert presence, appearing as both soloist and orchestral performer with many notable groups across the country. Recent performances include appearances at the Musikverein in Vienna, Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Central Park, Music from Salem, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the National Cathedral and National Gallery in Washington D.C., Columbia Museum of Art, the Harris Theater in Chicago, the Nasher Series in Dallas, the Peoples Symphony Concerts, the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Skaneateles, and Caramoor Festivals, and on tour alongside artists ranging from Bela Fleck to Dawn Upshaw to Gil Shaham. Salley recently soloed with the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra last season; she returns to Lebanon this season for the third time. Salley is currently an artist in residence with the IMAGINE Workshop and Concert Series at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon, where she has served as performer, panelist, presenter, and instructor. She is regularly invited as a guest artist with groups such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, East Coast Chamber Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Knights.
Ms. Koo’s engagement with the chamber music community in particular has yielded collaborations with world-renowned musicians including Peter Frankl, Yo Yo Ma, and Colin Carr, as well as with members of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Peabody Trio, Emerson Quartet, and Takacs Quartet. Her expansive musical interests range from early music to contemporary compositions. In the former vein, she has performed in period groups and recorded for Centaur; in the latter, she has worked closely with composers like Julia Wolf, Mario Davidovsky, Steven Mackey, Osvoldo Golijov, as well as members of the So Percussion Quartet. Salley is also a familiar face at numerous festivals including the Silicon Valley Music Festival, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Taos School of Music, the Tanglewood Music Center, Pacific Music Festival, and Thy Chamber Festival in Denmark.
Despite a performance itinerary that has covered North America, Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia, Ms. Koo has established a thriving teaching career. She is currently the violin professor at Adelphi University in NY, and has served as the violin professor and coordinator of chamber music at the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, CT; other faculty appointments include the Green Lake Chamber Music Festival in WI, Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in New Hampshire, Dwight-Englewood String Society in New Jersey, Vermont’s Chamber Music Intensive Program at Yellow Barn, the Opus 118 We Want Music! program in East Harlem, New York, Elm City ChamberFest, and the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, Connecticut. Ms. Koo also maintains a limited private studio in New York City.
When she’s not playing the violin, she’s likely to be found cooking or planning where to eat next with her husband, Alex, or playing with their dogs, Nanook and Sherlock, in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
Ms. Koo currently performs on a violin made for her by Mario Miralles.