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Handel and Haydn Society Names Jonathan Cohen 15th Artistic Director

At 44, Cohen is one of the youngest Artistic Directors in H+H history.

Handel and Haydn Society Names Jonathan Cohen 15th Artistic Director

The Handel and Haydn Society has named acclaimed conductor, cellist and keyboardist Jonathan Cohen as its 15th Artistic Director, leading the nation's oldest performing arts organization into its next chapter of musical excellence. At 44, Cohen is one of the youngest Artistic Directors in H+H history and will continue to build upon the orchestra and chorus's reputation of delivering uniquely rewarding, engaging, and emotionally moving concert experiences when he begins his role in the 2023-24 Season. As Founder and Artistic Director of the UK-based early music ensemble Arcangelo, he is a two-time Gramophone Award winner and Grammy Award Nominee. In addition, Cohen is Music Director of Quebec's Les Violons du Roy, Artistic Director of the Tetbury Festival in the UK, and Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

"Three years ago, H+H embarked on an extensive search focusing on the top talent in the Baroque and Classical world," said Robert N. Shapiro, Chair of the Handel and Haydn Board of Governors. "We are incredibly impressed by Jonathan's musicality, his knowledge and passion. He inspires the musicians and engages audiences. Jonathan is a joy to watch and to know. His warm inviting spirit is apparent to all who attend his concerts - he draws you in to the music making."

"Working with H+H is a dream come true, allowing me to work collaboratively with some of the most skilled and passionate musicians on the planet to create beautiful performances that will leave a lasting impact on our audiences," said Jonathan Cohen. "I look forward to sharing my love and passion with future audiences and creating moving and memorable experiences in the concert hall."

Cohen made his debut with the Handel and Haydn Society on February 28th, 2020, at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall leading the orchestra and chorus in a memorable performance of Haydn's Symphony No. 6, Le Matin and Symphony No. 92, Oxford, along with Beethoven's Symphony No. 1. He returned in 2022 to tackle three jewels of the Baroque era, Vivaldi's Gloria; CPE Bach's Magnificat, and J.S. Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 1. Cohen kicked off the 2022-23 Season in October to rave reviews with H+H with Glories of Bach, a performance the Boston Globe wrote: "brimmed with confidence and a high level of musicianship." He is set to return December 15 and 18 to conduct H+H's A Baroque Christmas at NEC's Jordan Hall.

"From Jonathan's first performances with Handel and Haydn it was clear that his approach to music-making aligns powerfully with what H+H is all about: a sense of immediacy, connection and engagement between musicians, audience, and composer," said David Snead, Philip and Marjorie Gerdine President and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society. "Jonathan understands that performing on period instruments is not an academic exercise; it's about performing this music with the freshness and vibrancy of new music, regardless of when it was written. Jonathan does this extremely well."

"Jonny elicits a sense of musical freedom and finesse from the Orchestra and Chorus that enchants the audience," said cellist Sarah Freiberg, Chair of H+H's Orchestra Committee. "His collaborative spirit and energy radiate palpable excitement from the stage adding a freshness and vibrancy to H+H's top-notch performances."

Born and raised in Manchester, England, Jonathan read music, studied cello, and had the position of Instrumental Scholar at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating in 2000. Following graduation, he co-founded the London Haydn Quartet, one of the world's leading period instrument string quartets. Cohen would go on to create the early music ensemble Arcangelo in 2010. Through his work with Arcangelo, Cohen won two Gramophone Awards, Recital in 2012 and Best Baroque Vocals in 2017, and a Grammy nomination for Best Chamber Performance in 2018. He became Music Director of Les Violons du Roy, succeeding Bernard Labadie, in 2017. His new contract with the Handel and Haydn Society will begin in the 2023-24 Season and continue through the 2027-28 season.

Founded in 1815, H+H is now in its 208th consecutive season - the most of any performing arts organization in the country - and is the nation's largest period instrument organization. H+H performs a 21-concert subscription season in Boston Symphony Hall and other leading venues, and has an active education program with seven youth choruses training hundreds of children in grades 2-12 every season.




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