latest press reviews

Ariadne auf Naxos, Scottish Opera & Opera Holland Park 2018

'Brad Cohen and the City of London Sinfonia wrapped themselves round the voices in marvellously fluid ensemble, the results sounding immensely stylish and confident. Cohen favoured the score's chamber-music intricacy and didn't force the 36-strong orchestra into symphonic sweep. You could easily follow Strauss's instrumental character sketches, and there was lovely work from harmonium, piano and two harps. This was theatre-opera magic at its best.'
Peter Reed, OPERA October 2018

'The City of London Sinfonia plays wonderfully for conductor Brad Cohen, letting the music breathe and making it sound sumptuous'
Erica Jeal, The Guardian Wed 18 Jul 2018

'A magnificent evening, sculpted with real flair by Brad Cohen.'
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard, 19 July 2018

'The City of London Sinfonia provides a lovely, textured sound in what is some of Strauss's most lush music, and plaudits to conductor Brad Cohen for ensuring throughout a fine balance between singers and orchestra in a challenging acoustic space.'
Inge Kjemtrup, The Stage, July 18, 2018

'Scored for a small orchestra with 2 harps, piano, celeste and harmonium, Brad Cohen conducted with watchable, eloquent gestures, placing his double woodwind out at the front for maximum impact...there was a freshness in the colouring from the unusual instrumental combinations and plenty of passion unleashed at key moments in Strauss' Romantic chromaticism, breath-taking modulations and lush harmonies.'
David Smythe, Bachtrack 26 March 2018

'Opera Holland Park has produced a triumph. Ariadne auf Naxos is the final offering of its summer season. The City of London Sinfonia plays exquisitely under the baton of Brad Cohen enjoying all the lush textures of Strauss's delicious score.'
Anna Selby, The Arbutian, July 24, 2018

'In the pit, Brad Cohen drew finely expressive playing from the City of London Sinfonia, and despite the wide open spaces of the auditorium they drew us in so that there was still and intimate feel to the playing. Cohen and his players clearly relished the orchestration, highlighting Strauss's vivid use of orchestral colours including of course the piano and the famous harmonium.'
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 18 July 2018

'Brad Cohen's conducting and the City of London Sinfonia's playing are completely with the singers, with some of the tightest ensemble I've heard at this venue. The detail, with some impressive solo work, doesn't force symphonic sweep, and there are lovely things from harmonium, piano and two harps.'
Peter Reed, Classical Source, 17 July 2018

'The Conductor, Brad Cohen, who is currently Artistic Director of Western Australia Opera, pushed the score along with great skill, focus and drive.'
David Butler, Opera Spy, July 2018

'conductor Brad Cohen, who had presided over an impressive account of Strauss's sumptuous music up to this point, seemed to become totally absorbed, his arms swirling and sweeping all sumptuously into Strauss's musical magic.' 

Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 18 July 2018

'In what is Opera Holland Park's first Richard Strauss production, Ariadne auf Naxos arrives wittily designed and directed by Antony McDonald, and with its score thoughtfully shaped by conductor Brad Cohen...In the pit, Cohen draws delicious sounds from a choice complement of members of the City of London Sinfonia.'
George Hall, Financial Times, July 18 2018

'Superb singing from the entire cast, and excellent playing by the City of London Sinfonia under conductor Brad Cohen.'
Clare Colvin for Sunday Express, July 2018

'This score is a tribute to Strauss's peerless skills as an orchestrator: the number of players is small but the sounds conjured up create a range from chamber-music intimacy to symphony orchestra at full tilt. Brad Cohen ensures his players listen to each other carefully, and is fully sensitive to the ebb and flow of this music, whether sumptuous or silvery.'
Tim Hochstrasser, Plays to See 25 July 2018

'Strauss's score, an enigmatic mix of jaunty detail and voluptuous flow, is perceptively handled by the conductor Brad Cohen. The City of London Sinfonia made light of the traps Strauss sets for orchestral players.'
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 22 July 2018

'Brad Cohen catches the aspiration of the Composer's music and paces the score well, drawing fluent, refined playing from the orchestra.'
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 23 July 2018

'Thanks to the vivacity of Brad Cohen's always singer-friendly conducting, the mythological stretches don't drag'
David Nice, The Arts Desk, Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Tosca, West Australian Opera 2017

'Quite simply, soloists, chorus and the WA Symphony Orchestra under the supple, reflective yet marvellously expressive direction of Brad Cohen are firing on all cylinders here, and I strongly urge anyone who hasn't been to the opera before to see this magnificent production...it is the synthesis of every element of the production - so successful, so seamless, that it achieves the nearly impossible: to make opera utterly believable.'
William Yeoman, The West Australian, 30/03/2017

'The score is among Puccini's most complex, with constantly changing tempos, textures and moods, all expertly handled by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Brad Cohen.'
Paul Hopwood, The Australian, 31/03/2017

The Pearl Fishers, West Australian Opera 2016

'...this staging by West Australian Opera of Michael Gow's recent production delights and engages beyond expectation...The rather restrained setting helps the work's musical qualities come to the fore. Assisted by conductor Brad Cohen's subtle control of orchestral sound and the intimacy of His Majesty's Theatre, the four principals were able to sing with a high degree of delicate nuancing.
...Pearlfishers is a show to see for the music and this production excels in delivering a first-rate musical experience.'
Mark Coughlan, The Australian, 27/10/2016

'This Tuesday opening-night performance by WA Opera, with Cohen on the podium and using his critical edition of the score, looked and sounded magnificent.
...Throughout, the WA Opera Chorus and West Australian Symphony Orchestra were, under Cohen's elegant and incisive conducting, a fulsome blend of refulgent sonority and textured detailing.'
William Yeoman, The West Australian, 27/10/2016

Otello, State Opera of South Australia 2014

'Brad Cohen, conducting the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, pushes the score along with clarity, focus and drive. He gets the pacing absolutely right, and the ASO and State Opera Chorus are purposefully on the ball.'
Graham Strahle, The Australian, 30/10/2014

The Magic Flute, West Australian Opera 2014

'Conductor Brad Cohen drew a fine performance from the WA Symphony Orchestra: joyful, coherent and synchronised.'
Rosalind Appleby, The West, 18/7/2014

Lucia di Lammermoor, West Australian Opera 2012

'Brad Cohen led the West Australian Symphony Orchestra with consummate skill and great support for his singers. He let his singers expand where they wanted and it was a delight to hear this music so fluidly paced.'
Blair Parkinson, livinghorusreview.com, 15/7/2012

'Cohen, a bel canto specialist, conducted a highly responsive WA Symphony Orchestra with the flexible precision the score demands.'
William Yeoman, The West Australian, 16/7/2012

Maria Padilla, Chelsea Opera Group 2012

'an unfailingly strong score, which benefited here from Brad Cohen's dynamic conducting and a fine assembly of principals...Performed like this, the opera felt like a lost masterpiece.'
George Hall, The Guardian, 30/5/2012

'This was definitely a vintage Chelsea Opera Group evening. A strong cast, led by Nelly Miriociou under Brad Cohen's clearly inspirational baton, meant that due dramatic weight was given to one of Donizetti's unjustly neglected scores...The orchestra were on good form for Brad Cohen, who encouraged some seriously expressive playing from his players.'
Robert Hugill, Opera Today, 4/6/2012

L'Elisir d'amore, New York City Opera 2011

'Happiest of all is the conductor Brad Cohen, also making a company debut, who leads a splendidly buoyant, impeccably paced performance.'
Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal, 29/3/2011

'Brad Cohen conducts the endearing score with abundant brio.'
Howard Kissel, The Huffington Post, 7/4/2010

'Brad Cohen conducted Donizetti's famous score with wit and charm, giving voice to sprightly rhythms and ensuring that the chorus was tight.'
Paul Pelkonen, superconductor.blogspot.com, 25/3/2011

'Brad Cohen conducted the orchestra briskly and beautifully.'
Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts, 29/3/2011

Pelléas et Mélisande, Opera Holland Park 2010

'The singing is wonderful, the conducting and playing disciplined, delicate, opulent. For Brad Cohen and the City of London Sinfonia this is a magnificent achievement: a symphonic score played as chamber music.'
Anna Picard, The Independent on Sunday, 6/6/2010

'the City of London Sinfonia sound transformed under Brad Cohen's baton: Debussy's pellucid score flickers with shimmer, seduction and, at times, dangerous menace. It grounds what can be a wispy psychodrama in a very human context'
Neil Fisher, The Times, 4/6/2010

'beautifully conducted by Brad Cohen and often quite wonderfully sung.'
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 3/6/2010

'under conductor Brad Cohen the orchestra brings out all the subtlety and refinement of the marvellous score.'
George Hall, The Stage, 4/6/2010

'Brad Cohen conducted the City of London Sinfonia with urgency and pungency, and the marvellous fifth act came across with unusual dramatic force.'
Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph, 11/6/2010

'OHP's Pelléas, beautifully conducted, against insuperable odds and extraneous noises off, by Brad Cohen'
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, 20/06/2010

'The ravishing music - superbly delivered by singers and orchestra under conductor Brad Cohen - matches the ecstasy of the action.'
Christopher Gray, The Oxford Times, 3/6/2010

'The effect realizes Debussy's score beautifully, especially with Brad Cohen's delicate work in the pit.'
Warwick Thompson, Bloomberg.com, 4/6/2010

'Brad Cohen had a firm grip of the score - alert to its ebb and flow, every shifting colour and breath, and never once did he allow it to sag or lose momentum, which in an Opera House would be an achievement, but in these circumstances was nothing short of remarkable. He is an undemonstrative conductor, never getting in the way, giving singers and orchestra a great deal of freedom, but also very much in control. Many plaudits to the City of London Sinfonia, which although smaller in number than we might expect in this work (at least as far as the string sections are concerned) gave some truly ravishing playing'
David Wordsworth, classicalsource.com, 1/6/2010

'The success of the evening was the valiant City of London Sinfonia under Brad Cohen with a dramatic coherent account with the music's seemingly natural ebb and flow. This was, I suspect, exactly what Debussy was intending to achieve with writing which is necessarily dependent on the natural speech rhythms of the French language. It was admirable in the prevailing conditions that Cohen could be so sensitive to his cast and that almost every syllable of Maeterlinck's text could be understood.'
Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard, 20/06/2010

'Brad Cohen, standing tall, is one of relatively few conductors whose gestures are so consonant with the music as to almost constitute a visual commentary and enhancement of what we hear'
Peter Grahame Woolf, MusicalPointers.co.uk, 20/06/2010


The Pearl Fishers, Chandos Records 2009

'This deserves to fly off the shelves and out of the shopping websites.'
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 7/9/2008

'The big selling point of this new recording is its use of a new critical edition by Brad Cohen, who is also the conductor of the project (and can be seen in the current BBC2 series Maestro)...Brad Cohen is fired up on the podium and draws incisive playing from the London Philharmonic.'
Dominic McHugh, musicalcriticism.com, 23/8/2008


The Italian Girl in Algiers, Chandos Records 2009

A remarkable recording of the best bits of Rossini's comedy
'Brad Cohen conducts superbly, bringing out the strength and expressive range of music that revels in the thrill of sexual confrontation and the speed and power of the vortex into which so-called civilised society can all too rapidly vanish. Back in the 1820s, English audiences were entertained by The Italian Girl and vaguely frightened by it. This remarkable performance tells you why.'
Richard Osborne, GRAMOPHONE, June 2009


La Bohème, Värmlandsoperan 2008

Sensation in Karlstad
'Saturday's premiere was a performance that took your breath away...Brad Cohen leads the Värmland Sinfonietta in music-making as implacable and unsentimental as what we see on the stage. Where melodies are broken and bound together in a seamless flow and where sounds, according to the atmosphere, change from crystalline to veiled. In addition, Värmlandsoperan gives us an ensemble that sings as if their lives depended on it.'
Martin Nyström, Dagens Nyheter, 7/8/2008

Puccini for real
'This is a throbbing Bohème, one that pulls and tears. Purrs and spits, rubs and caresses...Brad Cohen makes his Swedish opera debut, leading the Värmland Sinfonietta in an intense interpretation. I hear qualities in Puccini's music I have seldom noticed before. At some moments it is pure chamber music, at others I am stunned by the force of the full orchestra.'
Per Feltzin, Sveriges Radio/Kulturnytt, 6/8/2008


Il trovatore, Opera Holland Park 2008

'Under Brad Cohen, the City of London Sinfonia underlines the suavity and variety of the score, playing with an alluring tone and tight articulation - each section a jewel, from the honeyed clarinets to the incisive upper strings.'
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday, 8/6/2008

'Brad Cohen's conducting is all fire and steel'
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 5/6/2008

'Brad Cohen conducts the City of London Sinfonia with sensitive flexibility and rigour'
Hilary Finch, The Times, 6/6/2008

'Conductor Brad Cohen ensured a keen grasp of Italian style and led a brisk and well-sprung performance, decently played by the City of London Sinfonia.'
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 5/6/2008


Macbeth [1847], Chelsea Opera Group 2008

'Opera simply does not come much better than this: the Chelsea Opera Group's concert performance of Verdi's Macbeth was an unqualified triumph in musical and dramatic terms.'
Evan Dickerson, Seen and Heard, 1/4/2008

'Best of all...Brad Cohen, who conducted the doom-laden score as if the Apocalypse were in the offing.'
George Hall, Independent, 6/4/2008

'I have seen several expensively staged productions of this work but I have never been as gripped as by the COG performance last week...The orchestra, under Brad Cohen, was in strong form.'
Clare Colvin, Sunday Express, 6/4/2008

'COG's orchestra achieved many fine things thanks to the firm and stylish conducting of Brad Cohen; the strings were particularly expressive.'
Dominic McHugh, Musical Criticism, 1/4/2008

'Brad Cohen gave a strong lead with his impassioned but not hard-driven direction, so that tension was maintained even in quiet passages.'
John T. Hughes, Classical Source, 6/4/2008


May 2012