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. Matthew has distinguished himself in numerous national and international competitions, most recently receiving the top prize awarded at the Cita di Cremona International Viola Competition in Cremona, Italy, first prize at the 2016 Juilliard Concerto Competition and 2015 Vivo International Music Competition and as a recipient of the “Best Performance of Commissioned Work” prize at the 2014 Primrose International Viola Competition. He has given solo recitals on both coasts of the United States and has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America and Europe. 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, his Italian debut playing Bartok’s Viola Concerto with the I Virtuosi Italiani orchestra in Cremona, Italy, 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 violinists Martin Beaver, James Buswell, Robert Davidovici, Daniel Hope, Grigory Kalinovsky, Mark Kaplan, Ani Kavafian, Nicholas Kitchen, Arnold Steinhardt, and Alexander Treger; violist Paul Coletti and Peter Slowik; cellists Eric Bartlett, Colin Carr, Timothy Eddy, Clive Greensmith, Ralph Kirshbaum, Ronald Leonard, and Amit Peled; pianists Kevin Fitz-Gerald, Norman Krieger and Sandra Rivers; and clarinetists Joaquín Valdepeñas and Michele Zukovsky. Summer festival engagements include appearances at the Ravinia Festival, Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy, Sarasota Music Festival, Perlman Music Program, Heifetz International Music Institute, the Meadowmount School for Strings, the Young Artists Program of Ottawa’s National Arts Center and Music Academy of the West. In summer 2015, he was a guest artist with renowned chamber ensemble Camerata Pacifica on their southern California tour performing all six Brandenburg Concerti of J.S. Bach.
In high demand as an orchestral musician, Matthew has served as principal viola with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Symphony in C, American Youth Symphony, the Young Musician’s Foundation Debut Orchestra, the Colburn Orchestra, and the Juilliard Orchestra. Additional orchestral activities include performances as guest principal with the Orpheus Chamber, Las Vegas Philharmonic, and Lexington Bach Festival Orchestras and over forty concerts with the New York Philharmonic.
Matthew has attended such prestigious institutions as the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Colburn Conservatory of Music and attained the distinctions of Master of Music and Artist Diploma; his former teachers have included Misha Amory, Heidi Castleman, Paul Coletti,Jeffrey Irvine, and Cynthia Phelps. He plays on a viola by Helmuth Keller and a bow by Paul Martin Siefried generously on loan from The Maestro Foundation. Matthew is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School's Master of Music program where he was the proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. His recording of York Bowen’s Phantasy for viola and piano with acclaimed pianist Vivian Fan is available on the Soundset label.