press reviews archive

Nabucco, Opera Holland Park 2007

'Brad Cohen's conducting is energetic and flexible...he draws some great, hair-raising waves of sound from the chorus. Opera Holland Park is now the most exciting summer season in the country.'
Warwick Thompson, Bloomberg, 8/6/2007

'With conductor Brad Cohen coaxing warmth and energy from the City of London Sinfonia, Nabucco gives the new theatre a rousing welcome'
Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard, 6/6/2007

'Brad Cohen conducts with an elegance which would once have got him a Hollywood contract.'
Michael Tanner, The Spectator, 20/6/2007

'Brad Cohen's energetic, unfussy conducting both guarantees superfine coordination between stage and pit and draws the best from orchestral principals in moments of repose. Big choruses are delivered with passion.'
David Gutman, The Stage, 6/6/2007

Fedora, Opera Holland Park 2006

'Brad Cohen's astute conducting brings out the best in the piece itself.'
George Hall, The Stage, 7/6/2006

'Bad operas don't come much better than Fedora...Brad Cohen's sensitive conducting treated the score with a respect it scarcely deserves'
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, 12/6/2006

'The opera was held together by Brad Cohen, whose clear and energetic but unfussy conducting ensured well-chosen tempi and good coordination of timing between stage and pit'
Dominic McHugh,, 11/6/2006

Flight, Glyndebourne Festival Opera/Adelaide Festival 2006

'Where Flight succeeds, gloriously, is in its music. Dove shows himself to be a masterful composer with a highly tuned ear for orchestral colour, dramatic pacing and natural vocal line. He draws on John Adams, Benjamin Britten, Ravel and others but creates a powerfully original language of his own: it is glistening, buoyant and constantly mobile. Under Brad Cohen's conducting, an in-form Adelaide Symphony Orchestra makes the music tremendously enveloping.'
Graham Strahle, The Australian, 6/3/2006

L'elisir d'amore, Opera Australia 2006

'..the other half of this revival's success is its musical polish from the chorus, from the orchestra under conductor Brad Cohen, and from the two leads...the chorus work as a whole was outstanding, with Cohen judiciously preserving pace and precision.'
Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 30/1/2006

'Brad Cohen has the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra complementing the action with an enthusiastic reading of the Donizetti score'
Barry Quigley, Mosman Daily, 16/2/2006

Roméo et Juliette, Opera Australia 2005

'Brad Cohen gave exemplary direction, Orchestra Victoria responding to his baton with as colourful and carefully honed a reading of the score as I've heard them give anybody. In fact, when the stagework could always take pleasure in watching Cohen, cueing individuals and curving the washes of fabric in a clear identification with his work.
Cohen impressed also because he brought his pit in on time in a work which is full of time changes, of accelerations and pulse decreases, of hiatus points and stops for full-blown cadenzas. Also apparent was the confidence that the principals and chorus had in his control'
Clive O'Connell, Opera Opera, 1/1/2006

'It's the singing which delights in this rendition of Gounod's masterpiece. This is not to deny the design and direction which allow the melodies and emotion to soar, but to recognise the masterful control of the music by conductor Brad Cohen. The two hours and twenty-five minutes of the playing time never palled, the orchestra pacing the drama with something like perfection.'
Melbourne Stage, 28/11/2005

'Conductor Brad Cohen respected the central place of the singers in Gounod's score and managed to bring out the best in the score without overwhelming the singers. The orchestra-singer balance is quite tricky in Melbourne's State Theatre and not always successfully achieved, but Cohen has managed to get it just right, making it an enjoyable performance'
Ronald McCoy, State of the Arts, 5/12/2005

'the wilder, less disciplined moments, especially in the opening bars, were a real thrill-ride'
Chris Boyd, Herald Sun, 25/11/2005

La sonnambula, Opera Holland Park 2005

'As before at Holland Park, the conductor Brad Cohen takes charge as the bel canto expert in the pit, shaping the performance with an immaculately light touch'
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 17/6/2005

'Cohen's alternation of flexibility and dynamism is one of the best things about the evening, ensuring that Bellini's expression makes its clean and delicate mark.'
George Hall, The Guardian, 13/6/2005

'Brad Cohen put his mark upon the music with orchestral playing which responded to his elegant painting of rhythm and rubato, always considerate to the singers'
Peter Grahame Woolf, Musical Pointers, 14/6/2005

'Brad Cohen, a fine musician who understands bel canto style'
John Allison, The Times, 14/6/2005

Norma, Opera Holland Park 2004

'Conductors able to forge Bellini's meticulously crafted and subtly orchestrated scores into a dynamically meaningful whole are as rare as the Bengal tiger. Brad Cohen is one such. His traversal of Norma is exceptional. He draws crisp yet sensitive playing from the excellent City of London Sinfonia which, from the opening bars, showed its mettle in every department. He enables the protagonists to project the ferocity and intensity of their emotions without forcing tone into ugliness, surrounds them with the distinctive Bellini sound.'
David Blewitt, The Stage, 20/6/2004

'the main reason this Norma hits the solar plexus is the City of London Sinfonia under Brad Cohen. His crisp launch-in sounded almost too like a period outfit - shorn of the Tuscan town-band element one almost expects. But what followed was a masterly reading: clear, bracing, never unbalancing and, with wonderful, score-based restorations. It was scrupulously faithful to Bellini, a composing genius, here done proud.'
Roderick Dunnett, The Independent, 17/6/2004

'the City of London Sinfonia plays beautifully for Brad Cohen'
Anthony Holden, The Observer, 13/6/2004

'OHP has a new orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, producing a lean, classical sound under Brad Cohen's authoritative conducting.'
Peter Reed, Sunday Telegraph, 13/6/2004

'the City of London Sinfonia plays with dreamy elegance under Brad Cohen.'
Robert Thicknesse, The Times, 10/6/2004

'admirable conducting by Brad Cohen and playing from the City of London Sinfonia'
David Fingleton, Sunday Express, 13/6/2004

'Brad Cohen conducts cleanly and stylishly.'
Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph, 16/6/2004

'the City of London Sinfonia - sweet of tone, true of note and stylishly phrased under Brad Cohen'
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday, 13/6/2004

'the secure, deft playing of the City of London Sinfonia...combined with the alert conducting of Brad Cohen'
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 10/6/2004

'The sprightly playing of the City of London Sinfonia under Brad Cohen's stylish direction gave considerable pleasure.'
Hugh Canning, OPERA, August 2004

'With an alert conductor in Brad Cohen, with the style at his fingertips, the music was in good hands.'
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 9/6/2004

Andrea Chénier, Chelsea Opera Group 2004

'Musically, the piece is thrilling, as this concert performance from the Chelsea Opera Group proved. Brad Cohen's conducting was full of anger, sensuality and raw emotion.'
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 8/6/2004

'Chelsea Opera Group...hit the jackpot - this was a corking performance, sung and played with enthusiasm and passion...Brad Cohen conducted the spirited amateur orchestra and chorus with elan, keeping the decibel level high and the tempi swift. I've seen more polished performances of Andrea Chenier, but few that have been more irresistibly and viscerally enjoyable.'
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 9/6/2004

'Brad Cohen conducted with a command of theatrical sweep, emotional surge, and, where appropriate, fine instrumental detail.'
Andew Porter, OPERA, August 2004

Cavalleria rusticana and I Pagliacci, Royal Albert Hall/Gubbay 2002

'We may expect great things of Brad Cohen, the rising young Brit into whose capable hands Raymond Gubbay has entrusted the RPO and a solid cast for Cav & takes a conductor of some authority to hold such large forces together. Cohen manages admirably'
Anthony Holden: The Observer, 29 September 2002

Le Comte Ory, Rossini in Wildbad 2002

'Brad Cohen conducted with a sense for the special esprit of this opera, and displayed its colouristic and harmonic subtleties - and piquant rhythms - to great advantage.'
Ingo Dorfmüller, Die Deutsche Bühne [1/9/2002]

'Cohen understands exactly how, in this opera, to align an Italianate delight in coloratura with French narrative in a tightly-bound tension.'
Sebastian Giebenrath, Wiesnachrichten Calw [9/7/2002]

'Rossini's opera...was served by Brad Cohen with sovereign sweep and sparkling wit.'
Rainer Wolff, Schwarzwälder Bote [8/7/2002]

'Brad Cohen, on the podium, drew a springy, feather-light Rossini performance from the Brno Philharmonic.'
Wilhelm Triesbold, Südwest Presse [8/7/2002]

'Brad Cohen conducted a performance rich in nuance'
Dieter Schnabel, Reutlinger General Anzeiger [10/7/2002]

'The young Australian Brad Cohen proved himself to be an ornament as a conductor of Ory, as well as leading two noteworthy concert performances of Maometto secondo, in a new edition which he prepared himself for Wildbad.'
Werner M. Grimmel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [16/8/2002]

Les Pêcheurs de perles, Opera Holland Park 2002

'beautifully conducted by Brad Cohen'
Tim Ashley: The Guardian, 13 June 2002

'On the whole the conductor Brad Cohen went for very gentle speeds. This certainly allowed one to relish the beauty of the music ... there were many memorable moments. Cohen really made the tricky scene for Leila and Zurga work on musical terms, and his handling of the Temple Duet was exceptionally sensitive: nearly all piano or pianissimo, a reverie, a remembrance of things past, intensely moving.
He also insisted on playing - for the first time on stage here - Bizet's original ending, instead of the one cobbled together by well-meaning hands after the composer's death. It works, and makes dramatic sense of later reminiscences of the Big Tune.'
Rodney Milnes: The Times, 13 June 2002

'Brad Cohen conducted. From Paris material he had constructed a score closer to what Bizet wrote than what we usually hear. Clearing Bizet's music of corruption has been a long process. In a 1965 Master Musician book on the composer, Winton Dean said, 'All the printed full scores and current vocal scores include - alongside many errors, and without a word of explanation - music that has no connection with Bizet'....From the 1863 version Hammond orchestrated the missing music. Cohen's version is scored from a 'conducting score' that gives still closer clues to Bizet's intended colours, especially in the duet 'O lumière sainte'. And he conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with keen, supple skill.'
Andrew Porter, OPERA, August 2002

Anna Bolena, Chelsea Opera Group May 2002

'The other 'star' of the evening was the conductor, Brad Cohen. After the COG Pirata last year, even more after this Anna Bolena, I'm ready to hail him as someone with few rivals in this repertory. His phrasing was supple yet urgent. He drew lively playing from the COG orchestra, colouring and shaping the instrumental solos, supporting and inspiring the singers.'
Andrew Porter, OPERA, June 2002

Tancredi, Rossini in Wildbad July 2001

'... a dazzling performance ... Tancredi was sheer bliss from the moment the smart young conductor Brad Cohen launched the overture. Cohen is a conductor of elegant manners, always alert, and he had a wonderfully adroit cast.'
Horst Koegler: OPERA Magazine, December 2001

'The concerts were conducted in high spirits by Australian newcomer Brad Cohen. An enormously gifted young man, Cohen seems destined to become the legitimate heir to Vittorio Gui, Alberto Zedda and Gabriele Ferro ... Transported, a listener could almost see Rossini himself watching over the proceedings from on high.'
Horst Koegler: Opera News New York, December 2001

'There was a further coup: the young Australian conductor Brad Cohen, who led the Czech Chamber Soloists and the Czech Chamber an exceptional performance. An Elegantissimo amongst conductors, he shapes his Rossini with a delicacy which is the aural equivalent of the finest lace. The festival management could do nothing better than to name him Music Director of Rossini in Wildbad.'
Horst Koegler: Stuttgarter Zeitung, July 28 2001

'Cohen kept the performers on a short leash, thanks to his sovereign conducting technique, and showed himself to be a dynamic and finely-judged interpreter, who gave shape to the varied character of Rossini's richly-facetted score. He was so successful in this that the performance (lasting over three hours) passed with barely a break in tension. A Rossini conductor to whom the future belongs.'
Thomas Weiss: Pforzheimer Zeitung, July 28 2001

Manon Lescaut, Opera Holland Park July 2001

'the weight of the musical drama is splendidly sustained by the RPO players under the impressive direction of Brad Cohen. His firm pacing of both bustling episodes such as the arrest and of the key emotional highpoints is a major factor in the success of the production.'
Barry Millington: The Times, July 6 2001

'At Holland Park, the experience is primarily musical, which owes much to the added muscle and panache of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra ...Brad Cohen's conducting is elegant and poised, and doesn't smooth over Puccini's fugitive uncertain quality here...The orchestral intermezzo is wonderfully lyrical and sensitive'
Tom Suttcliffe: Evening Standard, July 4 2001

'Thank God for Catherine Mikic and Dominic Natoli, Brad Cohen and the RPO, who transformed dross into gold...Cohen drew crisp, stylish playing from the orchestra and revealed just why the score is so admired.'
David Blewitt: The Stage, July 19 2001

Il pirata, Chelsea Opera Group May 2001

'A devastating tribute to Bellini *****'
'...this devastating performance...Brad Cohen's conducting is fiery and thrillingly precise, while both playing and singing are breathtakingly committed.'
Tim Ashley: The Guardian, May 22 2001

'Brad Cohen conducted a performance quick to both the fierceness and the poignancy of Bellini's score.'
Andrew Porter: OPERA, August 2001

The Turn of the Screw, Estúdio de Ópera do Porto April 2001

'... a crystalline interpretation of Britten's music'
Cristina Fernandes: Opera, August 2001

Carmen, English National Opera February 2001

'The ENO's 2001 Carmen is a vintage revival of Jonathan Miller's 1995 production. It looks likely to become something of an ENO classic. Last weekend, a packed - 2,300-strong - audience rapturously acclaimed the outstanding principals and the conductor, Brad Cohen. '
Hugh Canning: The Sunday Times, March 4 2001

Armida, Rossini in Wildbad July 2000

'The young Australian conductor Brad Cohen led the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker with precise gestures in a pulsing, succinct and highly coloured performance. In particular, he understood how to give dramatic support to the stage action and production.'
Guido Holze: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, July 24 2000

'At the Rossini in Wildbad festival, this demanding piece, under the gripping, empathic, subtly differentiated direction of the young Australian conductor Brad Cohen, was performed by the masterly Stuttgarter Philharmoniker.'
Dieter Schnabel: Mannheimer Morgen (et al), July 12 2000

Les vêpres siciliennes, Chelsea Opera Group March 1999

'Brad Cohen made the strongest possible case for the piece with rhythmic vitality, an infallible feel for the right tempo, a sense of structure and, when appropriate, some good honest vulgarity. The COG Orchestra and Chorus responded with enthusiasm'
Rodney Milnes: The Times, March 16 1999

Macbeth, Opera New Zealand October/November 1998

'The Auckland Philharmonia gave one of its most thrilling operatic performances - and why not, with a score so rich in rewarding woodwind and brass writing. Brad Cohen conducted a strong, driving interpretation, ever alert to the intricate and vital details of the accompaniment'
Rod Biss: Star Times Auckland, October 25 1998

'The Auckland Philharmonia under Brad Cohen played brilliantly, capturing all the nuances of the music, giving the cast a sound always perfectly crafted for their needs'
John Daly-Peoples: The National Business Review, October 23 1998

Night Banquet & Wolf Cub Village, Almeida Opera July 1998

'Brad Cohen masterfully steers the Almeida Ensemble through the intricacies of both scores'
David Blewett: The Stage, July 16th 1998

'superbly conducted by Brad Cohen'
Andrew Clements: The Guardian, July 14 1998

'Both operas were expertly conducted by Brad Cohen'
Rodney Milnes: The Times, July 14th 1998

'superbly conducted by Brad Cohen'
Nick Kimberley: The Independent, July 15th 1998

Die Fledermaus, Opera Queensland May 1998

'Fledermaus needs to bubble along like the ubiquitous onstage champagne. It needs drive without rushing, sentiment without sentimentality. At the helm, Brad Cohen was an excellent arbiter of that middle way.'
The Australian, May 11 1998

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra March 4th 1998

'The other day I had the opportunity to inflict one of my own obsessions – Leonard Bernstein's ballet music, Fancy Free – upon some innocent listeners. I was gratified to note their incredulity at never having heard the piece before but not as self-gratified as I was last night to hear the BBC Scottish S.O., with young Australian-born conductor Brad Cohen, play the music...Good stuff around it too, with an atmospheric account of Ives' The Unanswered Question, and a stirring performance of Walter Piston's serious, impressive, and extremely well-written Second Symphony.'
Michael Tumelty: The Herald, March 5 1998

The Magic Flute, Opera North Winter 1997/8

'I was impressed by the conducting of Brad Cohen, winner three years ago of the Leeds conductors competition. He paced the the opera nicely, kept rhythm alive and was considerate to the singers. The orchestra played well for him.'
Michael Kennedy: The Sunday Telegraph, December 21 1997

'Brad Cohen conducts finely idiomatic playing from the English Northern Philharmonia, and maintains textural transparency, lively tempi and a tightly knit ensemble'
Donald Webster: Yorkshire Post, January 22 1998

'Brad Cohen's exhilarating energy and drive kept the orchestra on its toes'
David Blewitt: The Stage, January 22 1998

'Brad Cohen, a conductor with a sure sense of style and a taste for an elegant melodic line, kept a firm control on things without being pedantic'
Gerald Larner: Country Life, January 15 1998

The Marriage of Figaro, English Touring Opera Spring 1997

'Musically it's the best thing ETO have done to date, swiftly and elegantly conducted by Brad Cohen (whose pacing of the two great finales is far finer than that of many a well-known name), and fielding an excellent ensemble'
Tim Ashley: The Guardian, March 8 1997

'marking the emergence of Brad Cohen as a Mozart conductor of some stature'
Opera, May 1997

Gävle Symphony Orchestra February 1997

' admirable last minute replacement by the young Australian conductor Brad Cohen. The Thursday concert was saved! Brad Cohen gave a charming and aesthetic impression. His style of conducting was clear and distinct'
Roland Dahlblom: Gävle Dagblad, 22.2.1997

'Lars-Erik Larsson's Concert Overture No.2 was probably a new and strange assignment which he carried off splendidly. In Maestro Cohen's version it [Hindemith's Nobilissima Visione] became a powerful experience'
Lars-Goran Sundberg: AB, 24.2.1997

Rigoletto, English Touring Opera Autumn 1996

'A production of Rigoletto which would grace any international opera house and which gets Verdi's masterpiece...compellingly right.'
Tim Ashley: The Guardian, 22.10.1996

The Pearl Fishers, Opera North October/November 1995

'Musically [too] it is a treat thanks to Brad Cohen's vivacious, atmospheric conducting. He moves the music of this gorgeous score at a pace, but he savours its intoxicating perfumes, and he has an instinctive feeling for Bizet's style.'
Hugh Canning: The Sunday Times, 1.10.1995

'Brad Cohen conducted with fine attention to Bizet.'
Andrew Porter: Observer, 1.10.1995

'Brad Cohen, winner of last year's Leeds Conductors' Competition, brings a feisty vigour to the score.'
Stephen McClarence: Yorkshire Post, 25.09.1995

'Brad Cohen conducts an impassioned performance. He invests the musical narrative with a welcome urgency. Clean textures and glowing orchestral colours match those on stage.'
David Blewett: The Stage, 2.11.1995

Powder Her Face, Almeida Opera/Cheltenham Festival 1995

'Brad Cohen's conducting is graceful and sure'
Andrew Porter: Observer, 9.7.1995

'the conductor Brad Cohen makes sure that Adès' score is punched home by the Almeida Ensemble'
Andrew Clements: The Guardian, 3.7.1995

'The conductor Brad Cohen controlled these complex textures with authority'
Paul Driver: The Sunday Times, 9.7.1995

'Brad Cohen conducted with the coolest of heads'
Rodney Milnes: The Times, 3.7.1995