Following his Royal Festival Hall debut at the age of 12, Robert Cohen burst onto the international scene at the age of 19 with a recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto which earned a silver disc and placed him at the forefront of his musical generation. Subsequently he has consolidated an award-winning discography ranging from solo Bach, (and the Schubert Quintet with the Amadeus Quartet for DGG) to the concertos of Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Beamish and HK Gruber and a comprehensive British series for DECCA.
The creative give-and-take of the concert hall remains Cohen’s first love however. As a busy performing artist his career takes him to the USA, Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Japan and the UK. He has performed with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Maris Jansons, Riccardo Muti and Sir Simon Rattle and his enthusiasm for chamber music provides the bedrock of the Charleston Manor Festival, which he has directed since 1989.
Cohen’s passionate and articulate views on the art of learning, performing and communicating music have stimulated illuminating masterclasses and have been widely broadcast and published. He is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London and at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano.
In November 2009, Cohen gave the world premiere of Sally Beamish’s Cello Concerto No.2 ”The Song Gatherer. Co-commissioned by the Minnesota and Hallé Orchestras, the piece was specially written to mark Cohen’s 50th birthday. Osmo Vänskä conducted the Minneapolis first performance and Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé will give the UK premiere in December 2010.
Cohen has also recently launched two new ventures: ”Robert Cohen’s Cello Clinic” (www.celloclinic.com), is a unique personal service giving musicians access to in-depth, specialist diagnosis and resolution of physical and performing issues; Cohen Pod Talks, (www.cohenpodtalks.com) offers a ground breaking series of podcasts in which Cohen talks to leading figures in the arts, politics and business.
Cohen was recently invited by eminent film producer Don Boyd to become ‘Curator’ of a classical music channel of HiBrow.TV, a new arts based internet global website to be launched in Spring 2010.
As soloist, conductor, chamber musician and inspirational teacher, Robert Cohen’s music-making takes him all over the world; holding, as ‘The Guardian’ observed, audiences ”in the palm of his hand”.
He plays the ‘Ex Roser’ cello by David Tecchler. Rome 1723.