Arnaldo Cohen, piano

The Brazilian-born pianist Arnaldo Cohen, now living in the United States, has long had a reputation for astonishing his audiences with the musical authority and blistering virtuosity of his performances. His graceful and unaffected platform manner belies playing of white-hot intensity, intellectual probity, and glittering bravura technique bordering on sheer wizardry. 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.

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.

Mr. Cohen has performed in solo recitals throughout the United States. One of his recent recitals, in Chicago, ignited the highest praise from John von Rhein, senior music critic of the Chicago Tribune:
"He is the greatest pianist you've never heard of. Cohen's sensational recital added his name to the list of important performers who have made their local debuts before going on to become household names. If there is any justice in the world, he will do the same."

In addition to his recital and orchestral appearances, Mr. Cohen has dedicated himself to the art of chamber music. For five years he was a member of the prestigious Amadeus Trio and he has performed with many string quartets, including the Lindsay Quartet, Chillingirian Quartet, Orlando Quartet, and the Vanbrugh Quartet.

Mr. Cohen is a frequent recording artist. Mr. Cohen's second CD on the BIS label, an all-Liszt solo recording that includes the B Minor Sonata, Funérailles, Vallée d'Obermann, and Spanish Rhapsody.

An artist of diverse interests and talents, Mr. Cohen began his musical studies at the age of five, graduating from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro with an honors degree in both piano and violin, while also studying for an engineering degree. He went on to become a professional violinist in the Rio de Janeiro Opera House Orchestra to earn a livelihood while continuing piano studies with Jacques Klein, a disciple of the legendary American pianist, William Kapell. At the urging of Klein, Mr. Cohen pursued further training in Vienna with Bruno Seidlhofer and Dieter Weber.

Mr. Cohen is the recipient of a fellowship awarded by the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and until recently held a professorship at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2004, after living in London for 23 years, Mr. Cohen relocated to the United States and now holds a piano professorship with tenure at Indiana University in Bloomington where, upon his appointment, he was cited as "one of the world's greatest living pianists".