ARNALDO COHEN – Brazil
Brazilian-born pianist Arnaldo Cohen, now living in the United States, has long had a reputation for astonishing his audiences with the musical authority and blistering virtuosity of his performances. As a former professional violinist, teacher of physics, mathematician, cocktail pianist, and avid soccer fan, Mr. Cohen’s unconventional background contributed to the aura of surprise and discovery that attended virtually every one of his public performances. Long in demand internationally, Mr. Cohen has, in the past few years, entered a rarefied echelon among performers in America as well. He is regularly invited to appear as soloist with major orchestras, such as The Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. His solo recitals everywhere draw enthusiastic crowds of cognoscenti. Critics, too, marvel at his mixture of musical complexity and élan.
After winning first prize at the 1972 Busoni International Competition in Italy, Mr. Cohen scored a triumph at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Soon after, he moved to London and went on to build a repertoire of some 50 concertos, performing with such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, collaborating with conductors Kurt Masur, Kurt Sanderling, Klaus Tennstedt, and Yehudi Menuhin. He appeared in the major concert halls of Europe, and later in the United States.
In addition to his recital and orchestral appearances, Mr. Cohen has dedicated himself to the art of chamber music. For five years he was a member of the prestigious Amadeus Trio, and he has performed with many string quartets, including the Lindsay, Chillingirian, Orlando, and Vanbrugh Quartets.
Mr. Cohen is a frequent recording artist. Recently, BIS released Mr. Cohen’s recording of the two Liszt Piano Concertos and Totentanz with the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, which Gramophone declared, “for unapologetic bravura combined with intimate poetry, a complete empathy with Liszt’s intentions and full-blooded recorded sound, Cohen and his cohorts are hard to beat.” He has also recorded for the label Three Centuries of Brazilian Music and an all-Liszt solo recording, both which received international acclaim. Mr. Cohen’s previous recordings for other labels such as IMP Classics, Naxos, and Vox have included classic performances of works by Liszt, Schumann, and Brahms.
An artist of diverse interests and talents, Mr. Cohen began his musical studies at the age of 5, graduating from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro with an honors degree in both piano and violin, while also studying for an engineering degree. He went on to become a professional violinist in the Rio de Janeiro Opera House Orchestra to earn a livelihood while continuing piano studies with Jacques Klein, a disciple of the legendary American pianist William Kapell. At the urging of Klein, Mr. Cohen pursued further training in Vienna with Bruno Seidlhofer and Dieter Weber.
Mr. Cohen is the recipient of a fellowship awarded by the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and taught at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2004, after living in London for 23 years, Mr. Cohen relocated to the United States where he is now a Distinguished Professor at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.