Private Event: Arnaldo Cohen

  • 1900 Building - Rose Hall 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway Mission Woods, KS, 66205 United States

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, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His solo recitals everywhere draw enthusiastic crowds of cognoscenti. Critics, too, marvel at his mixture of musical complexity and élan.
"A model of balance and imagination" was Steve Smith's verdict in his review of Mr. Cohen's Town Hall recital in The New York Times last season.
"His judicious use of rubato and finely honed sense of dynamic contrast gave each Prelude its own shape and character. Technically flawless in treacherously difficult selections like No. 8 (F sharp minor) and No. 16 (B flat minor), Mr. Cohen lavished no less care on slower, simpler ones. No. 7 (A) was sweetly spun, while No.15 (D flat) was suffused with gentle melancholy ... overall Mr. Cohen's performance was a model of balance and imagination.
Following intermission he offered Chopin's four substantial, dramatic Scherzos. Mr. Cohen opened and closed No. 1 at a hair-raising clip, but provided needed respite with a melting rendition of the central "Molto Piu Lento". A restless performance of No.3., which combined a Beethoven-like intensity with radiant cascades worthy of Wagner, was followed by a commanding account of No.2, in which brilliant passagework surrounded a patient, poetic rendition of the trio section."

Mr. Cohen performed Brahms's Concerto No. 1 in D Minor with the Milwaukee Symphony under Andreas Delfs, and was reviewed by Tom Strini of the Milwaukee Journal: "Cohen performed with the finest silken touch. His gypsy dance opened the finale with an explosion. This concerto has a great many notes in it, but if Cohen missed any, I missed the errors. The combination of technical command and expressive insight he demonstrated Friday is every musician's goal."
After performing a recital in Philadelphia, Mr. Cohen drew the following praise from distinguished critic David Patrick Stearns of the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Cohen has the smarts, the emotional presence, and the technique of a major Chopin interpreter. That conclusion was evident not just from the Chopin, but from the larger musical worldview that Cohen crafted around the composer. Unlike many similarly exciting pianists, Cohen has built a loyal public with his annual Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concerts by presenting new variations on himself at every visit." And, in the words of no less a piano authority than former New York Times critic the late Harold C. Schonberg: "First of all there is his sound -- a burnished, unforced bronze-like sound somewhat in the Rachmaninoff manner. In a day when so many pianists sound bleak and percussive, Cohen produces a big sound that never splinters and is capable of any kind of nuance. He understands the pedals. He has a world-class technique. His playing, color and all, has text-book clarity. And he understands the Romantic style."
After winning First Prize at the 1972 Busoni International Competition, in Italy, Mr. Cohen scored a triumph at the the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Soon after he moved to London and went on to build a repertoire of some 50 concertos and to perform with such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the 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 (who described Cohen as "one of the greatest pianists I have ever heard").

As a former professional violinist, teacher of physics, mathematics, 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 a quality that greatly enhanced his success in the major concert halls of Europe and later the United States. Mr. Cohen's interpretations have been greeted with such sweeping accolades as "magisterial", "thrilling", "intrepid", "exultant", and "trenchant", all of which are a metric of Cohen's extraordinary pianism. In many cases his playing has on different occasions drawn favorable comparisons with the work of such very different artists as Richter, Horowitz, Arrau, Argerich, Serkin, Gieseking, Lupu, and Kissin, a testament to the protean nature of his musicianship and virtuosity. Despite these comparisons, however, Mr. Cohen has developed a voice entirely his own.