Dr. Steve Sang Kyun Koh was appointed to the position of Assistant Professor of Violin at University of Northern Iowa in fall 2019. From 2017 to 2019, Dr. 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, 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, he continued his studies and received his Master’s in String Performance and Pedagogy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, 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 and the Palmason Graduate Fellow in Violin.
An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Dr. 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 connect with the wider public. With the Interro Quartet, he has been a co-author and recipient of several grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts and has annually commissioned quartet pieces featuring emerging composers in Ontario, Canada. In further support of new music, he is a member of the Toronto Messiaen Ensemble and has collaborated with emerging North American and internationally-renowned composers, such as Gideon Gee-Bum Kim, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Ofer Ben-Amots, to name a few. 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,cellists 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.
Along with these performing activities, he is an active concert promoter and research scholar. In 2017, he founded Bloorwalk Concert Series and Music at Saint George in partnership with DASH Property Management and Saint George on Yonge Anglican Church. While Music at Saint George aims to bring chamber music concerts to communities in northern parts of Ontario, Bloorwalk Concert Series present concerts in rooftops and party rooms of condominiums, transforming rarely used common areas into free performance venues. His research interests range from string pedagogy to jazz to music technology. Published in November 2017, his 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.
Dr. Koh has studied with 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 include 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.