Robert Cohen

Concert Cellist

For 35 years one of the worlds leading cello soloist, Robert Cohen is an award-winning recording artist, conductor, artistic director and pedagogue who has been broadcast on TV and radio throughout the world. His passionate views on the art of learning, performing and communicating music have been widely published.

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Every month, cellist Robert Cohen joins us to talk about the life of a working, touring, professional musician. Past segments range in topics from concerts and venues, taking an instrument on the road, to teaching a new generation of cellists.

But today Cohen is thinking about politics — specifically Brexit and what it might mean both for British musicians who tour in Europe and non-British musicians who want to perform in the U.K. Cohen, a native Londoner, says the worry there has reached a fever pitch.

Image courtesy of Robert Cohen

Every month, cellist Robert Cohen joins us to talk about the live of a working, touring, professional musician.  He’s talked about concerts and venues, taking an instrument on the road, and teaching a new generation of cellists.

But one thing we haven’t spoken with Cohen about is working as a conductor, a role he’s about to take on. 

courtesty of Robert Cohen

The last time we spoke with Robert Cohen for our On That Note segment, he was preparing to perform Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in Finland. It’s a very difficult and emotional piece, and Robert says he was quite nervous about performing it, not the least because of the physical stamina required.

"If you’re going to be able to play this concerto absolutely to your best, and for it to be in your control and not run out of energy, you have to be really on top of your game," he says.

Jay Lawrence

Cellist Robert Cohen is constantly on the go. Concerts, recitals and master classes take place around the world and often his schedule is booked out two years in advance. This is common for most touring classical musicians, and like most classical musicians, Cohen gets precious little time to rest.

Courtesy of Birmingham Royal Ballet

Dance is about creative movement on stage, the dance floor or wherever it’s practiced. And when we talk about dance, it’s often in terms of movement and choreography. But the music itself is an equally integral part of the equation.

"All of that warming up is just a way to prepare [dancers] to be so creative and stunning. That’s a real reminder for us as musicians to always think about where we’re aiming [and to know that at the end, it’s about being creative and about doing something breathtaking and beautiful]," says cellist and Lake Effect contributor Robert Cohen.

Mark de Paola

Every month we talk about the challenges of being a touring classical musician with internationally renowned cellist Robert Cohen in a series we call On That Note.

This month finds Robert back home in London after a whirlwind tour of Slovakia and Italy, and after a couple of encounters with cameras. He says musicians are used to being photographed and filmed but it takes extra concentration to perform as though the cameras, and the people wielding them, aren't there:

Courtesy of Robert Cohen

When people think about the concept of arrangements in music (if they do at all), they often it in the folk music world, in which an arranger takes a piece of music from the folk canon and arranges it for an instrument. But arrangements have an important place in the classical music universe, as well.

Each month, we speak with contributor Robert Cohen about the work of a touring classical musician in a feature called “On That Note.” For October, Cohen spoke with Lake Effect’s Bonnie North about why arrangements are so important in classical music.


Every month we talk with internationally reknowned cellist Robert Cohen about the life of a touring professional musician. This month, we find Cohen getting ready to go to Slovakia to perform as part of a festival called Konvergencie, or Covergences in English.

Nurmes Festival, Finland

Every month, we talk with our contributor, cellist Robert Cohen, about life as a touring classical musician. He is a former member of a Milwaukee-based ensemble and spent time here each year, even as he maintained (and still maintains) a household in England and various tours around the world.

Hugues Argence

Cellist Robert Cohen joins us every month to discuss some of the aspects of real life for a touring classical musician.  Cohen was formerly a member of a Milwaukee-based ensemble and spent time here each year, even as he maintained - and still maintains - a household in England and tours around the world.

The music he shares can be emotional for listeners.  But Cohen says the experience of sharing the music can be emotional, as well. 

courtesy of Robert Cohen

Robert Cohen is an internationally recognized cellist who joins Lake Effect each month to talk about the life of a working classical musician. It's a series we call On That Note.

Cohen is no stranger to working with young musicians - a great part of his career is about teaching young, aspiring cellists, students who hope to perform on the world's concert stages one day. But more recently, Cohen has also been working with students who have no such dreams or professional expectations. These older adults choose to learn to play the cello for other reasons.


What do you know about Bulgaria? Most of us, if we have any thoughts about it, think of a dark mysterious place behind the Iron Curtain. And though democracy came to Eastern Europe in the 1990s, Bulgaria still brings to mind a place largely closed off from the modern developed world.

Of course, that's not exactly the case in 2018. It’s a place where cellist Robert Cohen recently performed, and for this month’s On That Note segment, he joins Bonnie North to talk about the experience. Cohen says he was actually excited to be back in that part of the world.

courtesy of Robert Cohen

Johann Sebastian Bach's 6 Suites for Unaccompanied Cello are masterworks of the Baroque era. They are beautiful to hear and fiendishly difficult to play, and they are considered among the greatest of Bach's many brilliant compositions.

Each suite contains six movements, and performing just one of them during a concert requires a great deal of concentration and skill on the part of the cellist. But to perform all six during a single concert? That's a marathon.

Robert Cohen

This month's On That Note is all about everyone’s second favorite topic - the weather.

For most of us, weather is either nice or annoying. But musicians monitor temperatures and humidity levels with a devotion verging on the fanatical. Their livelihoods depend upon both their bodies and their instruments being in the best condition possible. And when temperatures are particularly cold and dry, it's hard on both.

Juan-Miguel Hernandez

Each month cellist Robert Cohen joins Lake Effect to talk about life as a touring classical musician. This month, we find Cohen making a big professional change: After 6 years, he performed his final concerts as a member of the Milwaukee-based Fine Arts Quartet. Cohen is returning to a predominantly solo career.