The English conductor and cellist, Jonathan Cohen, studied with Emma Ferrand at the Royal Northern College of Music. He also participated in master-classes with Ralph Kirshbaum, Steven Isserlis, Colin Carr, Steven Doane and Anner Bylsma. Having spent a year at the Royal Northern College, he subsequently read music at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating in June 2000.
Jonathan Cohen is one of Britain's finest young musicians. He has forged a remarkable career as a conductor, cellist and keyboardist. Well known for his passion and commitment to chamber music he is equally at home in such diverse activities as baroque opera and the classical symphonic repertoire. He is Artistic Director of Arcangelo, Associate Conductor of Les Arts Florissants and Artistic Director of Tetbury Festival.
After his studies, Jonathan Cohen was rapidly developing a reputation as one of Britain’s finest and most versatile young cellists. With wide-ranging interests in solo and chamber music, Baroque, Classical and contemporary performance, he has been in increasing demand for concerts and festivals throughout the UK and Europe. Frequently in demand as a guest principal with many of the UK’s foremost orchestras and ensembles, both symphonic and ‘historical’, he has worked with the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Scottish Chamber Orchestra and has toured with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. With a specialist interest in period performance, he was principal cellist of The King’s Consortt and has performed as continuo cellist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Gabrieli Consort & Players. Increasingly in demand as a recitalist, he has given concerts in the UK, in Europe and America and has worked with pianists Huw Watkins and Leslie Howard. A regular participant at the Open Chamber Music Seminars at Prussia Cove, he is a devoted chamber musician, and was a member of the period-instrument London Quartet. He has also played as a guest with the Fitzwilliam Quartet, touring the USA in February 2001.
With this experience Jonathan Cohen developed a unique crossover specialism in the field of early music and an interest in period instruments. As the Artistic Director of the Picander Ensemble (founded in 2004), he devoted more of his time to chamber music and conducting. Performances in the second half of the 2000's included the piano quartets of Robert Schumann, Dvorák, W.A. Mozart and George Enescu, with Benjamin Nabarro (violin), Lawrence Power (viola) and Daniel Tong (piano), at Wigmore Hall, the Aldeburgh and Nottingham festivals, the South Bank Centre’s Purcell Room, and numerous other venues. Drawing on his experience in early music, Jonathan Cohen was assistant conductor to Emmanuelle Haïm and her ensemble Le Concert d'Astrée for George Frideric Handel’s Tamerlano and Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and in 2006 assisted William Christie and his ensemble Les Arts Florissants for productions of Rameau’s Les Paladins and W.A. Mozart’s Idomeneo.
Recent conducting highlights have included Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Kammerakademie Potsdam and performances of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie at Glyndebourne Festival. Future conducting dates include W.A. Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera de Dijon and Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Etienne, Lockenhaus Festival, Verbier Festival, NDR Hannover, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, Hamburger Symphoniker, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Zürcher Kammerorchester, Vasteras Sinfonietta, South Jutland Symphony, reinvitations Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Budapest Festival Orchestra, and Aalto Musiktheater Essen with W.A. Mozart’s Die Entführing aus dem Serail. With Les Arts Florissants he conducts in Vienna and St. Petersburg.
Jonathan Cohen founded Arcangelo, with whom he performs high quality and specially created projects. He tours with them to exceptional halls and festivals such as Philharmonie Berlin, Vienna Musikverein, Köln Philharmonie, Ghent Cathedral, and Carnegie Hall New York. Recent highlights include J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass (BWV 232) in Ghent and G.F. Handel’s Apollo e Dafne at Zankel Hall New York. Arcangelo are busy and much in demand in the recording studio, partnering with fine soloists. Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo have received five star reviews with ‘Nicola Porpora cantatas’ and ‘Arias for Guadagni’ with Iestyn Davies on Hyperion, the latter disc won the Recital Category at the 2012 Gramophone Classical Music Awards. Other recordings are ‘Enchanted Forest’ with Anna Prohaska on Deutsche Grammophon, ‘Amoretti’ with Christiane Karg (W.A. Mozart, Gluck) on Berlin Classics, G.F. Handel’s ‘Finest Arias for Base Voice’ with Christopher Purves on Hyperion and their most recent disc ‘Monteverdi Sestina Madrigals’. Forthcoming releases include ‘J.S. Bach B Minor Mass’ (BWV 232) and ‘Couperin Leçons de ténèbres’ (due for release winter 2014).
Jonathan Cohen continues to cherish performing chamber music with friends and colleagues.