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Robert Cohen (b1959)

A professor at London’s Royal Academy of Music and the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Robert Cohen is—like many of his string-playing predecessors and colleagues—deeply committed to music education and training. Particularly noteworthy is his Cello Clinic, where he offers expert diagnosis and remedial instruction for players with physical or mental difficulties. He is also known for creating unique illustrative and exploratory projects, mounted in conjunction with various major music festivals and often involving cross-platform collaborations between various arts disciplines.

Cohen’s playing is a testament to the quality of cello pedagogy in the twentieth century. Son of the virtuoso violinist Raymond Cohen, he studied with legendary cellists William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pré, André Navarra and Mstislav Rostropovich and combines many of their best traits in his own superlative playing. In all the items selected here his approach is clean and tight with an engaging open resonance. Vibrato is used relatively sparingly, revealing a beautiful sonority developed from the right arm. All of this offsets his thoughtful and sensitive musicianship, aptly shown in his 1990 Bach Cello Suite in C, which is sensitive to Bach’s sound world with an urgency in accentuations, a clear sense of the improvisatory, and a sparing tone.




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