Jacques Cohen is equally known as conductor and composer.
Widely regarded as a musician’s conductor, he is Music Director of the Cohen Ensemble (formerly Isis Ensemble) and has conducted concerts and broadcasts with such groups as Kremerata Baltica, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Sofia Soloists, BBC Concert Orchestra, Albania Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and Bucharest Philharmonic. In addition to professional orchestras Jacques loves working with young musicians, having conducted concerts with many of Europe’s top youth orchestras. He has conducted at the UK’s leading conservatoires where he has also given master classes and composition seminars, and is Principal Conductor of the Royal College of Music Junior Department Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with many choral groups such as Oxford Camerata, The Shout and Lloyd’s Choir for whom he is Music Director. He has been Music Director on several opera productions with a variety of companies, and is a passionate communicator, especially renowned for his unique ability to engage audiences in concerts.
Jacques’ compositions and arrangements, published by Norsk Musikforlag, include music for choir, orchestra, chamber works and opera. Commissions include pieces for Dame Evelyn Glennie (Firefly), Onyx Brass (Concertino), Piatti Quartet, (From Behind Glass), Fitzwilliam Quartet (Nun danket alle Gott), National Youth Wind Ensemble (Pantheon), Tête-à-tête opera (The Lady of Satis House) and Lloyd’s Choir (The Denial of St Peter). His string orchestra arrangements, particularly that of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, are fast becoming staples of the repertoire.
Frequently heard on radio in the UK and abroad, he has recorded a number of critically acclaimed CDs including the Music for Strings and Transcriptions for Strings discs (Cohen Ensemble/Meridian) and Cohen’s Carols (Oxford Camerata/ICSM).
His latest large-scale commission for chorus, soloist, children’s choir and orchestra, Creation, was greeted with a momentous reception in the Barbican in March as the centrepiece of the Lloyd’s Choir centenary, and a new CD comprising his chamber opera and other works for string quartet (Tippett Quartet/Meridian) is due for release in the new year.
Jacques read music at Oxford where he conducted the university orchestras and performed his own compositions. He was awarded the Conducting Scholarship at the Royal College of Music where prizes included the August Manns Conducting Prize, Constant Lambert Award, Janet Blacklock Choral Conducting Award and Tagore Gold Medal, the college’s award for its most outstanding student. He went on to work with such groups as Bombay Chamber Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra (Assistant Conductor). In addition to numerous awards for composition, Jacques took First Prize in the NAYO British Reserve Conducting Competition and was also a Prizewinner in the Leeds Conductors’ Competition.