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Brad Cohen


Artistic Director, West Australian Opera

Management: Australasia

Website: http://www.bradcohen.net

Ariadne auf Naxos, Scottish Opera and Opera Holland Park 2018
"...with its score thoughtfully shaped by conductor Brad Cohen....In the pit, Cohen draws delicious sounds from a choice complement of members of the City of London Sinfonia."
George Hall, Financial Times, July 18 2018

"...Brad Cohen conducted with watchable, eloquent gestures, placing his double woodwind out at the front for maximum impact...there was a freshness in the colouring from the unusual instrumental combinations and plenty of passion unleased at key moments in Strauss' Romantic chromaticism, breath-taking modulations and lush harmonies."
David Smythe, Bachtrack 26 March 2018

Tosca, West Australian Opera
"... Quite simply, soloists, chorus and the WA Symphony Orchestra under the supple, reflective yet marvellously expressive direction of Brad Cohen are firing on all cylinders here, and I strongly urge anyone who hasn't been to the opera before to see this magnificant production...it is the synthesis of every element of the production - so successful, so seamless, that it achieves the nearly impossible: to make opera utterly believable".
William Yoeman, The West Australian March 30 2017

"The score is amont Puccini's most complex, with constantly changing tempos, textures and moods, all expertly handled by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Brad Cohen".
Paul Hopwood, The Australian March 31 2017

Bizet Pearl Fishers, West Australian Opera
“Throughout, the WA Opera Chorus and West Australian Symphony Orchestra were, under Cohen’s elegant and incisive conducting, a fulsome blend of refulgent sonority and textured detailing.”
William Yeoman, The West Australian, October 27, 2016

The Riders, West Australian Opera
“…Under conductor Brad Cohen a 14–piece from the WA Symphony Orchestra moved seamlessly from minimalism to serialism via cabaret and folksong”.
Rosalind Appleby, The West Australian, April 2016 

Gianni Schicchi, Opera in the Park, West Australian Opera 2016
“Conductor Brad Cohen coaxed a splendid response from both singers and orchestra
Neville Cohn,The West Australian,  8/2/2016

Otello, State Opera of South Australia 2014
“Brad Cohen, conducting the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, pushes the score along with clarity, focus
and drive. He gets the pacing absolutely right, and the ASO and State Opera Chorus are purposefully on the ball.”
Graham Strahle, The Australian,  30/10/2014

The Elixir of Love,
New York City Opera 2011
“Happiest of all is the conductor Brad Cohen, also making a company debut, who leads a splendidly buoyant, impeccably paced performance.”
Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal, 29/3/2011

Pelléas et Mélisande, Opera Holland Park 2010
'The singing is wonderful, the conducting and playing disciplined, delicate, opulent. For Brad Cohen and the City of London Sinfonia this is a magnificent achievement: a symphonic score played as chamber music.'
Anna Picard, The Independent on Sunday, 6/6/2010

'the City of London Sinfonia sound transformed under Brad Cohen’s baton: Debussy’s pellucid score flickers with shimmer, seduction and, at times, dangerous menace”.
Neil Fisher, The Times, 4/6/2010

La bohème, Värmlandsoperan 2008
Sensation in Karlstad
'Saturday's premiere was a performance that took your breath away...Brad Cohen leads the Värmland Sinfonietta in music-making as implacable and unsentimental as what we see on the stage. Where melodies are broken and bound together in a seamless flow and where sounds, according to the atmosphere, change from crystalline to veiled.”
Martin Nyström, Dagens Nyheter, 7/8/2008

Puccini for real
“..This is a throbbing Bohème, one that pulls and tears. Purrs and spits, rubs and caresses...Brad Cohen makes his Swedish opera debut, leading the Värmland Sinfonietta in an intense interpretation. I hear qualities in Puccini's music I have seldom noticed before. At some moments it is pure chamber music, at others I am stunned by the force of the full orchestra.'
Per Feltzin, Sveriges Radio/Kulturnytt, 6/8/2008 

Il Trovatore, Opera Holland Park
'Under Brad Cohen, the City of London Sinfonia underlines the suavity and variety of the score, playing with an alluring tone and tight articulation - each section a jewel, from the honeyed clarinets to the incisive upper strings.”
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday, 8/6/2008

The Italian Girl in Algiers, Chandos Records 2009
A remarkable recording of the best bits of Rossini's comedy
“..Brad Cohen conducts superbly, bringing out the strength and expressive range of music that revels in the thrill of sexual confrontation and the speed and power of the vortex into which so-called civilised society can all too rapidly vanish''
Richard Osborne, GRAMOPHONE, 1/6/2009

Norma, Opera Holland Park
“The sprightly playing of the City of London Sinfonia under Brad Cohen’s stylish direction gave considerable pleasure.”
Hugh Canning, Opera, August 2004

Australian conductor Brad Cohen graduated from St. John's College Oxford, and studied with Celibidache and Bernstein in Germany, making his professional debut at the 1992 Almeida Festival. In 1994 he was awarded first prize in the Leeds Conductors' Competition and since that auspicious beginning he has conducted a wide ranging repertoire at English National Opera, Opera Australia, Opera North, and other opera companies including Luzern, Nantes/Angers, and the Nederlands Reisopera, and at festivals including Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Adelaide, Rossini in Wildbad, and Porto.

In 2015, Brad was appointed Artistic Director of West Australian Opera, since when he has conducted Faust, Gianni Schicchi at Opera in the Park, The Riders, and The Pearl Fishers. He commenced 2016 conducting the Australian Youth Orchestra camp in Canberra, for which the orchestra received a standing ovation, and Brad’s direction was seen as a huge success. In 2017 he conducted Opera in the Park: 50th Anniversary Gala, Tosca and Lucia di Lammermoor for West Australian Opera.

In 2018 for West Australian Opera Brad conducts La Boheme at Opera in the Park and Don Giovanni and for both Scottish Opera and Opera Holland Park he conducts a co-productin of Ariadne auf Naxos.

In past years he has conducted Jonathan Dove’s Flight and new productions of Pelléas et Mélisande and Il trovatore at Opera Holland Park, a new production of La Cenerentola in Malmö, I Capuleti e i Montecchi for Opera Australia in Melbourne, Messiah with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs at the Sydney Opera House, Carmen for West Australian Opera, and a new production of Norma, with Hasmik Papian in the title role, for Opera Hedeland in Denmark.  Brad also led the American premiere of Jonathan Dove's The Enchanted Pig in New York.  In 2011 he made his debut with the New York City Opera, conducting L’elisir d’amore, and collaborated with Robert Wilson and artists including Bryn Terfel, Rufus Wainwright, Diana Damrau and Gillian Murphy on a special project at the Opéra de Monte Carlo. He also returned to Australia many times to conduct concerts with Orchestra Victoria, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, operas including Lucia di Lammermoor and The Magic Flute for West Australian Opera, as well as Otello with State Opera of South Australia and Opera Under The Stars in Broome. In addition he has conducted Gianni Schicchi and Il tabarro in Sweden, Donizetti Maria Padilla and Stiffelio for Chelsea Opera Group in London and Otello with Cape Town Opera.

Other notable engagements include La Cenerentola for Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House, his Swedish opera debut with the Konwitschny production of La boheme and the Chelsea Opera Group concert performance of Verdi's Macbeth with Nelly Miricioiu.  In addition, he appeared in the major television series, Maestro, for BBC2.

Brad's debut disc for Chandos was a highlights recording of his own critical edition of Les Pecheurs de perles, with Simon Keenlyside, Barry Banks, Rebecca Evans, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  Brad's second disc for Chandos was highlights of Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri with Jennifer Larmore and the Philharmonia. He made his first disc for Universal with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo and soprano Emma Matthews.  His other CDs, Maometto secondo (recorded live at the 2002 Rossini in Wildbad Festival) and Mosca's Litaliana in Algeri were released in 2004, and in May 2007 Naxos released his Wildbad recording of Le Comte Ory.

Brad has a strong involvement in the performance of new music. His diverse activities in this field include filming modern opera for TV, touring the ensemble pieces of Frank Zappa, and commissioning music for the opening of the Millennium Dome. Recent composer collaborations include Georges Lentz and Ross Edwards. In 2002 he was Musical Director of Jonathan Dove's television opera When She Died: Death of a Princess, commissioned from Tiger Aspect for Channel Four and first shown in August 2002. In 2006 the same team created the TV opera Man on the Moon for Channel Four. Brad also led the Australian premiere of Jonathan Dove's opera Flight at the 2006 Adelaide Festival.

Brad has conducted From the House of the Dead and Carmen for English National Opera, Carmen, The Merry Widow, Romeo and Juliette, L’elisir d’amore and La Cenerentola for Opera Australia, The Magic Flute, The Pearl Fishers and The Reluctant King for Opera North, and Rigoletto and Figaro for English Touring Opera. For Almeida Opera he conducted the world premiere of Thomas Adès' Powder her Face (also Cheltenham Festival, Bath and Oxford) and in 1998 Guo Wenjing's Wolfcub Village and Night Banquet (also Hong Kong Festival). Other operatic work includes Les vêpres siciliennes, Poliuto, Il pirata, I Lombardi, Anna Bolena, Andrea Chénier, Beatrice di Tenda and Macbeth for Chelsea Opera Group, Macbeth for Opera New Zealand, Die Fledermaus for Opera Queensland, Così fan tutte for Opera Theatre Company Dublin, Nabucco, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, Pearl Fishers, Norma, La Sonnambula, Fedora and Nabucco for Opera Holland Park, La Traviata for Luzern, Jonathan Dove's Tobias and the Angel for CBTO, The Turn of the Screw for Porto 2001, Armida, Tancredi, Le Comte Ory, Maometto secondo and Mosca's L'italiana in Algeri for the Rossini in Wildbad Festival, Cavalleria rusticana & I Pagliacci in the Royal Albert Hall, Luisa Miller and Manon for the Nederlands Nationale Reisopera, and Lucia di Lammermoor for Angers/Nantes Opera.

As a publisher and editor,  Brad has created a series of opera editions.  His critical edition of Les Pêcheurs de Perles has received international acclaim, with productions at the Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera, and English National Opera, and he has also published editions of Maometto secondo, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Norma.

Brad is also the Founder and Creative Director of Tido Music, and more information is available at www.tido-music.com.


Brad Cohen is managed by Nina Kang: nina@artsmanagement.com.au

December 2018
This biography is for general information purposes only and not for publication.
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