Ukrainian-American violist MATTHEW COHEN is a dynamic and versatile artist whose captivating performances have made him one of the most sought-after violists of his generation. A special prize winner at the prestigious Primrose International Viola Competition, he was also awarded top prizes at the Citta di Cremona International Viola Competition in Italy, Vivo International Music Competition and the Art of Duo International Competition. Particularly interested in advocating for the viola as a unique voice, he is challenging the misconception that the viola has a limited repertoire by bringing attention to lesser-known gems as well as arrangements of other masterworks.
Since his first performance in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium at the age of 15 as a soloist in the New York premiere of Tomas Svoboda’s Sonata No. 2 for orchestra and solo string quartet, he has concertized as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America and Europe in venues such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Ford Amphitheater and Broad Stage in California, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Oregon, Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland and the Casa della Musica in Cosenza, Italy.
Recent solo engagements include his European debut performing Hummel’s Potpourri with the Gstaad Festival Orchestra and Bartok’s Viola Concerto with the I Virtuosi Italiani orchestra in Cremona, and presenting the world premiere of internationally recognized video game score composer Garry Schyman’s viola concerto “Zingaro” with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony conducted by Dr. Noreen Green. Past appearances include concerti with ensembles such as the North Shore Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Summer Chamber Music, Symphony in C, Ensemble Baroquelyn, Juilliard Orchestra, Colburn Orchestra, Oregon Sinfonietta, and Oregon Symphony/Oregon Ballet Theater.
A passionate chamber musician, he has performed alongside many distinguished artists including members of the Aeolus, Borromeo, Guarneri, Orion, Parker, Tokyo, and Vermeer string quartets and the Beaux Arts and Tempest piano trios, and has been featured by numerous concert series and chamber music societies including Bargemusic, Camerata Pacifica, the Colburn Chamber Music Society, Heifetz Celebrity Series, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, Ringwood Friends of Chamber Music, Olmos Ensemble, Red Barn Chamber Music, and the Wolfeboro Friends of Chamber Music. Summer festival engagements include appearances at ChamberFest Cleveland, Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy, Heifetz International Music Institute, the Meadowmount School for Strings, Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, the Perlman Music Program, Philadelphia Young Pianist’s Academy, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, and the Sarasota Music Festival.
A graduate of the Juilliard School’s Master of Music program, he was the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship; he earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Cleveland Institute of Music and received an Artist Diploma from Colburn Conservatory where he studied with Misha Amory, Heidi Castleman, Paul Coletti, Jeffrey Irvine, and Cynthia Phelps. He has served as a member of the chamber music faculty at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Heifetz Institute and is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Opus 71 Concerts, a multidisciplinary concert series near New York’s Lincoln Center. In addition to his musical activities, he enjoys public speaking and has acted in a number of plays including various works of Shakespeare, Peter Pan, Auntie Mame, and the musical Bugsy Malone. His recording of York Bowen’s Phantasy for viola and piano with acclaimed pianist Vivian Fan is available on the Soundset label.