Matthew Cohen, viola
Photographer: Jiyang Chen
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 recipient of numerous accolades and prizes, he has been awarded the 2018 Center for Musical Excellence International Performing Arts Grant, top prizes at the 2018 Art of Duo: Boulder International Chamber Music Competition, the 2016 “Citta di Cremona” International Viola Competition in Cremona, Italy, the 2016 Juilliard Concerto Competition and 2015 Vivo International Music Competition and the “Best Performance of Commissioned Work” prize at the 2014 Primrose International Viola Competition.
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. His first performance in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium was 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, a work performed and commissioned by the Portland Youth Philharmonic. He returned to Carnegie Hall in January, 2016 to perform York Bowen’s Phantasy for viola and piano in Weill Recital Hall. 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, 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 Borromeo, Guarneri, Orion, 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 Camerata Pacifica, the Colburn Chamber Music Series, Heifetz Celebrity Series, Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, Olmos Ensemble, and Red Barn Chamber Music. Summer festival engagements include appearances at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy, Heifetz International Music Institute, the Meadowmount School for Strings, Music Academy of the West. the Perlman Music Program, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Sarasota Music Festival, and the Young Artists Program of Ottawa’s National Arts Center.
Matthew is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School's Master of Music program where 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 HeifetzPEG Institute and is the co-founder and Artistic Director of The Last Soiréee, a traveling multi-genre performing arts series, and Fishin’ in C Chamber Music Series, a concert series based in Fishtown, Philadelphia that launched in Fall 2018. His recording of York Bowen’s Phantasy for viola and piano with acclaimed pianist Vivian Fan is available on the Soundset label.