Biography

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David Cohen has established a reputation as one of the most charismatic and exciting young cellists of today. Hailed by critics as “Magnificent”, Gramophone, “demonstrates total commitment, combining vitality with expressive feeling in the most spontaneous manner”, the Strad, “an individual, and an exceptionally gifted one,” New York Stereo Review.
Born in the town of Tournai in Belgium, David made his solo debut with the Belgium National Orchestra at the age of nine.
His international career as a soloist soon flourished with invitations from the Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Liege, l’Orchestre Symphonique de la VRT, l’Orchestre de la Beethoven Akademie, l’Orchestre National de Lille, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, l’Orchestre de Chambre de Lauzanne, l’Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Grenoble, the Polish Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic, the N.H.K. Symphony Orchestra, as well as the BBC Concert Orchestra.

David at 9years oldIn his remarkable career, David has worked as a soloist with some of the most distinguished conductors in the industry such as Lord Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Walter Weller, Sir Charles Mackerras, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Christophe von Dohnanyi, Pedro Halffter and Martin Brabbins among others.
His triumphant solo debut in Japan with the N.H.K. Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy performing Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations in June 2007, lead him to be immediately re-invited for the 2009-2010 season.

As a graduate of the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Guidhall School of Music & Drama and thanks to a grant from the Menuhin Foundation, David has won more than 25 prizes in International Cello Competitions. Among his prizes and awards are the Gold Medal of the G.S.M.D. in London, (following in the footstep of Jaqueline Dupre), the Geneva International Cello Competition, J.S.Bach International Competition, the Audi International Competition, the Douai International Cello Competition,  the “Tenuto” international Competition”, the Guilhermina Suggia Gift, the Ian Fleming Trust, the S.P.E.S Award, the KPMG Martin Scholarship, the Hattori Foundation Award, the Borletti Buitoni Fellowship Award and the Fondation SUISA Award.

He was nominated ECHO “Rising Star” for the season 2002-2003 by the Royal Philharmonic Society of Belgium and the Concertgebouw, performing a world tour in the greatest halls including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna Musikverein, Paris Theatre des Champs Elysees, Cologne Philharmonie, Bruxelles Palais des Beaux Arts and in the cities of Helsinki, Athens and Birmingham.

He has studied with the finest cellists: Wiliam Pleeth, Melissa Pheleps, Lynn Harrel, Daniil Schafran, Nathalia Gutman, Gary Hofman, Bernard Greenhouse, Steven Isserlis, Boris Pergamenschikow, Lord Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich and Oleg Kogan.

David is a passionate chamber musician and regularly performs in major festivals with the finest young talents of Europe. He is regularly invited to International Chamber Music and Cello Festivals such as Kronberg (Germany), Manchester (U.K.), Cambridge (U.K.), Beauvais (France), Orpheus Baccheus in Bordeaux (France), the Gstaad Festival (Suisse), West Cork (Ireland), Kuhmo (Finland), Elverum (Norway), Oxford (U.K.), Sonoro (Romania) to name a few.

David is the Artistic Director of the Melchior Ensemble, which brings together the greatest young talents of Europe such as Sasha Sitkovetsky, Priya Mitchel, Corinne Chapelle, Natalie Clein, Silver Ainomae, Razvan Popovici. The ensemble is in residence at Peter House Cambridge.Photolux Myriam He also performs with Nigel Kennedy.

David is also the Artistic Director and founder of the exciting new chamber music festival, “Les Sons Intensifs” in Lessines, Belgium.

In March 2001, at the age of 20, David was appointed Principal Cello of the Philharmonia Orchestra, becoming the youngest ever Principal Cello in history.

You will find award winning recordings by David with Forlane, Classic FM, Cypres-Records and the LPO Label. His recordings of the Lutoslawsky Cello Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Sophia Gubbaidulina Concerto recording with the BBC Symphony are ready to be released.

Mr Cohen is a passionate pedagogue and has been teaching since 1998 in master classes around the world such as Cividale (Italy), Dinant (Belgium), Kuhmo (Finland), Stift (Holland), Tokyo (Japan), Bejing (China). He holds a Professor position at the prestigious Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Mons in Belgium since the year 2000.

David plays on the “Ex-Pergamenschikow cello”, a magnificient Dominicus Montagnana circa 1735, thanks to the kindness and generosity of Mrs. Pat Morton and the help of the Razumovsky Trust.

“…David Cohen, one of the most talented young cellists I know. He was a student at my School for some years, and is altogether a remarkable young man, a remarkable performer and already an outstanding cellist.” -Lord Menuhin (December 1998)

Awards & Honours:

Sept 1991
First Grand Prix – Young Soloist National Competition in Belgium
June 1993
First Grand Prix – in Senior and Junior divisions, International Music Competition in Watrelos (France)
July 1994
First Grand Prix – Credit Communale Competition “Pro Civitate” (Belgium)
Nov 1995
First Grand Finalist – Audi International Musician Competition (Great Britain)
March 1996
Award – Guilhermina Suggia Gift for Cello (GB)
June 1996
Finalist – Eurovision Young Musician Competition in Lisbon (P)
March 1998
First Grand Prix – 11th International Cello Competition in Douai (F)
Sept 1998
First Grand Prix – Tenuto National Competition of Belgium
January 1999
Award -“Fondation Belge pour la Vocation” (B)
March 1999
Award – Hattori Foundation for young musicians (GB)
March 1999
Award – Ian Fleming Charitable Trust (GB)
April 1999
Award – Guilhermina Suggia Gift for Cello (GB)
May 1999
Award – from the City of Tournai (B)
Sept 1999
Award – “Fondation S.P.E.S.” (B)
Feb 2000
Award Winner – KPMG/Martin Musical Scholarship Fund (GB)
Dec 2000
Geneva International Cello Competition Special Prize, “Patrick F. Liechti” from the Fondation S.U.I.S.A. pour la Musique (CH)

January 2001
Award – “Belgium Foundation for Young Soloists” (B)
Feb 2001
Award – KPMG/Martin Musical Scholarship Fund (GB)
June 2001
Gold Medal winner GSMD
June 2001
Rising star award from the Royal Philharmonic Society
June 2002
Solti Foundation Award
Sept 2004
Borletti Buitoni Fellowship Award
Oct 2002
“Octave de la Musique” – Award for best classical music album
March 2008
J.S. Bach International Competition
June 2009
Knighted, “Chevalier de la Confrerie de la Toure”

Conductors with whom David has regularly worked as a soloist:

Christopher Warren-Green, Robin O’Neil, Alice Farnham, Pascal Roffe, Lord Menuhin, Mistslav Rostropovich, Walter Weller, Sir Charles Mackerras, Christophe von Dohnanyi, Riccardo Muti, Martin Brabbins, Richard Hickox, Pedro Halffter, Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Orchestras with whom David has regularly worked as a soloist:

Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Liege, l’Orchestre Symphonique de la VRT, l’Orchestre de la Beethoven Akademie, l’Orchestre National de Lille, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, l’Orchestre de Chambre de Lauzanne, the Worthing Symphony Orchestra, the RTE Symphony Orchestra, the Quindao Symphony Orchestra, l’Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Grenoble, the Polish Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Johannesbourg Philhamonic Orchestra, the Brighton Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the N.H.K. Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo.

David is also regularly invited to lead:

London Symphony Orchestra

BBC Symphony Orchestra

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

English Chamber Orchestra

London Chamber Orchestra

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra