So who is Brad Cohen?? Early this year he was appointed Artistic Director of WA Opera following the shock resignation of the previous artistic director. At the time of the appointment there wasn’t a clear frontrunner for a replacement, nor any particular favourites – everyone liked seemed securely engaged, everyone else a bit questionable. But when Cohen was announced the overwhelming response was YES!!! Just a few months before he’d led the WA Opera production of The Magic Flute and his success on that front was at the fore of everybody’s mind – he was exciting, passionate, but above all seductively musical.
There’s nothing worse that getting excited about a new appointment only to be let down when they consistently don’t deliver the goods (looking at you ex-artistic director Colenari) but I don’t think that’s going to be the case with Cohen – the man’s already proven himself popular with audiences (his speech at this year’s opera in the park was promising) and is generally well liked and respected by the musicians he works with. What’s more he’s decided (or required??) to be in Perth during the seasons he isn’t conducting, and it makes him seem committed to our little town’s company. Of course this will be confirmed when he directs the October show of Faust. Pressure much?
What’s more his personal blog is nice touch that has put him in direct contact with the public – though at the time of writing this his 4 blog posts have zero comments on them, that could well be because these blog posts are primarily delivered to subscriber’s inboxes, and the possibility of engaging directly via the web hasn’t been made clear (dw, if noone else comments in the next month I’ll make first contact) …. Either way he looks and acts like a man of the people, or at least someone on the same wavelength as me, and yes, so far I love his approach and am very keen to hear more about the direction he’s planning on taking. I’ve got nothing but love for him, and especially since latest blog post I’m just plain excited. Interestingly his next official engagement is the London (professional) premiere of Flight by Dove (June 6-19 2015) – this bodes well for the future of WA Opera methinks.
But to sate your need for more information here’s a quick breakdown of the man’s profile and history so far.
Born: Mauritius, 1970s(????does anyone know???)
Studied at: St John’s College, Oxford
First conducted opera: Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for the Royal College of Music
Famous for: appearing as a mentor in the BBC’s Maestro! TV Series, winning the 1994 Leeds Conductor’s Competition, premiering a number of new commission madeforTV operas (with Ades).
Specialty: Bel Canto
Non-musical interests: tech, cycling, movies, baking, travel, new experiences, paper-making, wind-surfing.
Biography (full biography available here, and Here)
Brad Cohen first came to public attention when, a year after winning the 1994 Leeds Conductor’s Competition, he conducted the world premiere of Thomas Adès’ Powder her Face. Since that auspicious beginning he has conducted a wide ranging repertoire at English National Opera, Opera Australia, Opera North, and opera companies including Luzern, Nantes/Angers, and the Nederlands Reisopera, and at festivals including Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Adelaide, Rossini in Wildbad, and Porto.
Brad has conducted orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Het Gelders Orkest, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the City of London Sinfonia.
As an important complement to his performing career, Brad has produced an acclaimed series of opera editions, and, since the worldwide success of his critical edition of Les Pêcheurs de perles he has completed and published editions of Maometto secondo, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Norma.
History with WA Opera (His full conducting history can be found HERE)
The Magic Flute (2014)
Lucia di Lammermoor (2012)