Conductor, cellist & keyboardist

Jonathan Cohen

Music Director Designate, Les Violons du Roy
Artistic Director, Arcangelo
Associate Conductor, Les Arts Florissants
Artistic Director, Tetbury Festival
Artistic Partner, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Marco Borggreve


Jonathan Cohen is one of Britain’s finest young musicians. He has forged a remarkable career as a conductor, cellist and keyboardist. Well known for his passion and commitment to chamber music Jonathan is equally at home in such diverse activities as baroque opera and the classical symphonic repertoire. He is Artistic Director of Arcangelo, Associate Conductor of Les Arts Florissants, Artistic Director of Tetbury Festival and Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Jonny becomes Music Director of Les Violons du Roy from the 2018/19 season and in the interim he is Music Director Designate.
2017/18 sees return visits for Jonathan to Les Violons du Roy, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Glyndebourne Opera for Guilio Cesare. He makes his debut with Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre Philharmonique de Liege and has appearances with his ensemble Arcangelo, which he founded in 2010 and with whom he has performed at venues such as Wigmore Hall London, Philharmonie Berlin, Kölner Philharmonie, Vienna Musikverein, Salzburg Festival and Carnegie Hall New York. Other recent highlights include a European tour with Vilde Frang with concerts at Oslo Opera House and Tonhalle Zürich. In 2016, Jonathan conducted Arcangelo for their BBC Proms debut at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
Arcangelo are in much demand in the recording studio, partnering fine soloists such as Iestyn Davies (their disc Arias for Guadagni won the Recital Category at the 2012 Gramophone Awards), Anna Prohaska, and Christopher Purves. Together with Scene! with Christiane Karg, Arcangelo’s disc Arias for Benucci with Matthew Rose was nominated for a 2016 International Opera Award. Their latest release is of CPE Bach Cello Concerti with Nicolas Altstaedt, which won the BBC Music Magazine Awards’ Concerto category in 2017.

Performance Schedule

From The Green Room

Online Performances



Arcangelo is one of the world’s leading ensembles bringing together exceptional musicians who excel on both historical and modern instruments, under the direction of founder, artistic director & conductor Jonathan Cohen.


  • 06 May 17 Arcangelo
    Wigmore Hall
    More info  

    “… a striking programme of music by Heinrich Biber, Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and August Kühnel. Apart from one of Biber’s Mystery Sonatas (or Rosary Sonatas) this was repertoire which is not well known, but the performers showed us that music from the 17th century Austrian composer violinists can enchant and entertain as much as the early Italian repertoire… Throughout the evening we had a great sense of the collegiate style performance from the players, with a great sense of engagement and an engagingly involving style of playing.”

    Robert Hugill, 6th May 2017


  • 28 Apr 17 Couperin CD Arcangelo
    More info  

    “The delightful scenario of L’Apothéose de Lully imagines the composer Lully, one of François Couperin’s forebears at the court of Louis XIV, being wafted up to Mount Parnassus by Apollo. There, he meets the Italian muses, and the music becomes that synthesis of the French and Italian styles which Couperin so admired. All of this is captured with grace in Arcangelo’s playing under its founder, Jonathan Cohen…”
    ★ ★ ★ ★
    Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 28 April 2017

  • 15 Apr 17 With the St Paul Chamber Orchestra
    More info  

    “…a scaled-down SPCO of 10 string players traced the sparely written textures of Pergolesi’s intimate accompaniment. Cohen probed and guided the musicians from a mellow chamber organ, distilling an atmosphere of mournful contemplation and private grieving.
    Cohen, the most recent addition to the SPCO’s roster of artistic partners, earlier had shown why he is renowned as a specialist in baroque music, in a probing, sensually shaped reading of Locatelli’s Concerto Grosso in E-flat, Op. 7”

    Terry Blain, Star Tribune, 16 April 2017

  • 10 Feb 17 Méhul With the OAE
    St John's Smith Square
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    “This superb concert with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Jonathan Cohen marked the bicentenary of the death of Étienne Nicolas Méhul, one of the leading French composers in the decades following the revolution, and a figure to whom history has not always been kind. The first composer to be dubbed “Romantic”, he links the classicism of Gluck, whom he adored, with the extravagances of Berlioz, though his experiments with form, harmony and sonority in a quest to match sound with subject, make him, on occasion, difficult to pin down stylistically… Cohen’s commitment to this music was everywhere apparent, and the OAE were outstanding.”

    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, Monday 13 February 2017 

    “Yet he [Méhul] is still a rare bird in concerts, and the overture to his opera Les Amazones, vigorously propelled by Jonathan Cohen and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, quickly revealed what audiences have been missing. Dramatic thrust. Bold harmonies. … everything was played with the OAE’s trademark vim, and we stepped back into the cold night warmed, fortified and replete.”

    Geoff Brown, The Times, 14 February 2017

  • 01 Jan 17 JS Bach Cantatas
    With Argangelo and Iestyn Davies
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    “Director/harpsichordist Jonathan Cohen and his elite period ensemble Arcangelo have shaped this engrossing disc, of three Bach cantatas and two instrumental Sinfonias, around the British countertenor Iestyn Davies … Davies’s singular gifts of open-hearted expression, reined in to perfection and with no excess or indulgence, are expertly balanced by Arcangelo’s prominent solo musicians. Early in the year, a favourite disc already.”
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, Sunday 8 January 2017 

    “Jonathan Cohen’s invigorating direction of the top notch Arcangelo and Davies’s extraordinarily questing approach make for a happy balance between abstract delight and rhetorical flair… Davies and Cohen give little quarter to emotional indulgence, as can so
    often be the case. What ensues is a highly refined essay of beautifully articulated singing and playing; the forward-leaning tempo never appears frenetic, with the opening movement as resolute as Bach clearly intends.”
    Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone, January 2017 

  • 02 Sep 16 CPE Bach Cello Concertos
    With Argangelo and Nicholas Alstsaedt
    More info  

    “Arcangelo under Cohen also breathe the music, capturing the frequent storminess but also bringing substantial dignity, their zing coming from their actual tone and lucid textural balance; listen to the C major luminosity with which they open that previously mentioned A minor Concerto’s slow movement. All in all, a great listen.”
    Charlotte Gardner, Gramophone, August 2016 

    “…the atmospheric effects that the conductor Jonathan Cohen conjures here — muted strings sighing in anguish — are breathtakingly cinematic.”

    Tom Huizenga, The Washington Post, 15 September 2016

  • 13 Jul 16 Concert 13 July 2016
    With Arcangelo
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    At the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

    “In this candle-lit replica of an early 17th-century theatre the period-instrument group Arcangelo and its director, Jonathan Cohen, offered highlights from Shakespearian musical extravaganzas of the Restoration. Of the Bard himself, there was a barely a word.  These court entertainments, mostly from the 1680s and 90s, put Shakespeare through the shredder and added up-to-the-minute, catchy songs, making them the Lloyd Webber hits of their day … In this intimate venue 10 of Arcangelo’s skilled musicians showed the musical richness that Purcell (The Fairy Queen), Blow (Venus and Adonis) and Locke (The Tempest) lavished on the incidental numbers”
    Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 15 August 2016 

    “The second of this summer’s “Proms at …” events, taking the series away from Kensington and matching a handful of significant London buildings to music, alighted at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe. Featuring the ensemble Arcangelo directed by Jonathan Cohen, this programme of Restoration music worked ideally in the intimate, candlelit space, even
    if this turned out to be a Shakespeare-themed Prom without much real Shakespeare.”
    John Allison, Telegraph, 14 August 2016 

  • 05 Jul 16 MOZART Le Nozze di Figaro
    Glyndebourne Festival Opera
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    “With no weak links in the cast and the effervescent musical direction of Jonathan Cohen, this revival of Michael Grandage’s 2012 production is a delight… Under Jonathan Cohen’s taut yet effervescent musical direction the intricacies of the score make their appreciable marks, too, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on responsive form.”
    George Hall, The Guardian 4 July 2016 
    “From the opening notes of the overture, Jonathan
    Cohen and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment gave us a crisply vivid account of the score. Cohen used the period instruments to keep the textures light, yet vivid, and to allow the music to move without seeming overly rushed. Individual numbers were shaped finely, but there was an over-arching sense to the performance too, matching Grandage’s desire to have the action move seamlessly through the day. There was some lovely continuo playing from Ashok Gupta (forte piano) and Jonathan Manson (cello), responsive and imaginative
    without overly drawing attention to itself.”
    Robert Hugill, Opera Today, 4 July 2016 
    “Tying all this together was the immaculate performance
    of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, under the baton of Jonathan Cohen. Particularly for a romantic comedy, Le nozze di Figaro is quite a long opera, and Mozart didn’t have nearly as many resources of varied  instrumentation available to him as later composers. But the OAE produced music with immense variety, rhythms and moods continually changing, but always
    accented to keep your interest and to give a constant sense of forward propulsion.”
    David Karlin, Bachtrack, 4 July 2016 
    “Ashok Gupta and Jonathan Manson provided witty Fortepiano and ‘cello continuo respectively, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment played stylishly for Jonathan Cohen, the wind instruments being especially fine.”
    Melanie Eskenazi, Music OMH, 4 July 2016 
    “… the intrigues and sudden compromising revelations are played with such delicious comic timing, swept along by Jonathan Cohen’s brisk but flexible conducting.”
    Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 5 July 2016 

  • 05 Feb 16 With Vilde Frang and Arcangelo
    St John's Smith Square
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    “The Mozart symphony was as intimate as a chamber piece, the opening Allegro moderato was elegant yet strongly phrased. There was a great contrast of dynamics and attack, something which seemed to fascinate the composer and which Cohen and Arcangelo brought out. Particularly in the development, where there was a great deal going in in the texture the piece, the result was surprisingly dramatic with some elegantly vital playing… Under Cohen’s relaxed, amiable yet acute direction, all performers seemed vividly involved and were clearly enjoying themselves.”
    Robert Hugill, Planet Hugil 07 February 2016

  • 17 Nov 15 With Anne Sophie von Otter
    Library of Congress
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    “Anne Sofie von Otter has reached a career level at which she gets to do whatever the heck she wants… For one thing, she can work with whomever she wants. She is reacting to this by cherry-picking from the world’s store of massively gifted young artists to collaborate with on a variety of projects — including the lutenist Thomas Dunford and the keyboardist Jonathan Cohen, with whom she performed a (mostly) early-music concert at the Library of Congress on Tuesday night.”
    Anne Midgette Classical, The Washington Post, 18 November 2015 

  • 09 Nov 15 With Anne Sofie von Otter and Thomas Dunford
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    Music of Dowland, Purcell, and a selection of Airs de cour

    “Anne Sofie von Otter and Friends” filled Paine Hall to capacity for the Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series on Sunday. No vanity project this, for the musically omnivorous Swedish mezzo-soprano, but rather an intimate colloquy among three supremely gifted colleagues. Otter’s voice, Thomas Dunford’s theorbo, and Jonathan Cohen’s chamber organ and harpsichord playing came together with the intimacy of a great jazz trio, exploring mostly Baroque repertoire in an emotional range from sublime to delightfully ridiculous.”
    James C.S. Liu, Classical Scene, 13 November 2015 

  • 21 Oct 15 JS Bach Violin Concertos
    With Alina Ibragimova
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    “Jonathan Cohen’s choice of Lute as well as harpsichord among the continuo forces invites another distinctive feature. In slow movements, the lutenist (Thomas Dunford) gently animates the underlying slow, meditative orchestral blocks which frame the solo episodes. In BWV 1042, the combination of the persistent repeated bass, lute, almost inaudible violin entry, and quietly pulsing middle orchestral strings add up to quite a breathtaking effect. The final movements are spectacular. In Bach’s ‘very fast’ gigue ending to BWV 1041, Arcangelo strings and Ibragimova are fearless…”
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ George Pratt, BBC Music Magazine, December 2015 

    “Character-filled, spontaneous performances bring Bach’s violin concertos to life in this attractive new recording by Alina Ibragimova and Arcangelo…. conducted from the harpsichord by Jonathan Cohen. On her Channel Classics recording of Bach Violin Concertos, Rachel Podger made do with an ensemble of six, yet Arcangelo’s sound is by no means congested. Instead, it’s light and airy, while Thomas Dunford’s lute, placed well forward in the mix, has an improvisatory quality that acts as a spur to Ibragimova’s high-spirited virtuosity.”
    Nick Kimberley, Sinfini Music, 6 November 2015 

    “… top-notch Baroque band, Arcangelo, under Jonathan Cohen. The second track, an A minor Adagio, is an irresistible starting-point, with Ibragimova’s subtly shaded melody woven through rich orchestral chords and the flutter of lute. Yet, one track on, the Finale of the same piece is a joyous romp in Gigue time, managing an almost percussive propulsion without a drum in sight.”
    William Dart, New Zealand Herald, 17 January 2016 

  • 15 Oct 15
    With Les Violons du Roy
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    “What musical intelligence! … Jonathan Cohen, not choosing that path, appears as one of the spokesmen of “Baroque 2.0.” He has understood the benefits of moving on to another stage…. This is the exploration of a wider range of nuances and subtleties in many combinations and colourings.”
    Le Devoir, 17 October 2015 

  • 19 Oct 15 Arias for Benucci Recording
    With Arcangelo/Matthew Rose
    More info  

    “Francesco Benucci was the star comic baritone around whom Emperor Joseph II’s Italian opera company revolved, and therefore the man for whom Mozart wrote some of his choicest roles, notably Figaro. Matthew Rose gives us generous chunks of the Mozart-Da Ponte operas mingled with arias by Salieri, Sarti and Martin y Soler, which all sound strong, thanks partly to the energised playing of Arcangelo, under Jonathan Cohen’s nuanced direction. Rose is hugely impressive, his deep, robust bass-baritone flexible and expressive, even if it doesn’t have the insouciance that would come from having lighter high notes. In Guglielmo’s duet with Dorabella (soprano Katherine Watson), Rose is perhaps more avuncular than seductive, but he otherwise captures each character succinctly, from Mozart’s schemers to Salieri’s bloodthirsty King Axur to the very different self-importance of Sarti’s Frasconio, who leaps into falsetto as he imagines the women weeping over him. An apt tribute from one fine singer to another.”
    Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 15 October 2015 

  • 10 Sep 15 Handel Agrippina
    NI Opera & Irish Chamber Orchestra, Limerick
    More info  

    “The IYO cast – Máire Flavin, Anna Devin, Rachel Kelly, Dawn Burns, Padraic Rowan, Sharon Carty, Brendan Collins and Alan Ewing – performs with an unrestrained energy that is more than matched by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, directed with fire from the harpsichord by Jonathan Cohen.”
    Irish Times, 10 September 2015

  • 05 Nov 14 Bach Mass in B Minor Recording
    With Arcangelo
    More info  

    Jonathan Cohen’s rejection of the generic, within a grand and ravishing overview, is what propels an overwhelming sense here that this reading deserves to be taken very seriously. Quite how in performance one ‘reads’ the span of a piece whose spiritual and intellectual symmetries are potentially so forbidding raises many issues but Cohen’s unforced feel for tactus, initially heard in the prima prattica (the more archaic) movements is revelatory in its coherence…the most distinctive attribute here is how Cohen, with his exceptional choral and instrumental forces, resists pursuing a single overall textural ideal and instead seeks an evolving, unrushed relationship between each movement according to the musical stage in the journey…This is a performance where character and rich dimension emerge from within a patient and naturally projected vision of Bach’s most celebrated compendium.
    Gramophone Magazine ‘Editors Choice’ November 2014

  • 20 Mar 14 Arcangelo Concert
    Wigmore Hall
    More info  

    “From his vantage point at the harpsichord, Cohen didn’t always need to do much conducting: less evidence of lethargy than scrupulous preparation allied to a pleasure in the freedom of performance. His interpolations of instrumental works from other composers — Merula’s joyous Ciaccona, installed midway through one of Monteverdi’s madrigals at the point where we’re invited to dance, and a trio by Dario Castello — supplied contrasting textures and highlighted the breadth of expertise he had to showcase.”
    The Times, 20 March 2014

  • 19 Dec 13 Festive Messiahs 2013/14
    St Paul Chamber Orchestra
    More info  

    “And the local tradition is in very safe hands, indeed. Thursday evening’s first of three sold-out performances was exceptionally well executed, balancing a fine taste of the familiar with some pleasant surprises. Under the direction of English conductor Jonathan Cohen, the orchestra and its SPCO Chorale proved spirited collaborators for the four vocal soloists, employing a gentle touch in unexpected places and embracing lushness to fine effect.” – Rob Hubbard

    “Conductor for the day was Jonathan Cohen, a Baroque specialist, music director of the group Arcangelo and associate conductor of William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants. His tempos for this Messiah were even and unhurried. Not once was it driven hard. Not once were any of the recitatives, arias or choruses overstated.”
    Herald Scotland 3 January 2014 – Michael Tumelty 

  • 12 Dec 13 Debut Concerts December 2013
    Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    More info  

    “Cohen bound the forces together with non-dictatorial precision, coaxing such wonderful moments as the triumphant Gloria – resplendent with its cream topping of three trumpets – or the moving simplicity of the Et Incarnatus est with expressive integrity. This wasn’t a Bach performance characterised by incessant high energy, but one that made everything of the light and shade, the sighing motifs, the virtuosic instrumental solos, and the seamless beauty of a work that, rather extraordinarily, was probably never conceived as an entity.

    The tempered eloquence of the orchestra was matched by vocal soloists tuned into Cohen’s singular mindset – the pearl-like clarity of soprano Lorna Anderson, if occasionally uncentred on the note; Kitty Whately’s mellow mezzo-soprano, the effortless radiance of tenor Andrew Tortise, and Stephan Loges’ magisterial bass. A moving performance.
    The Scotsman 14 December 2013 – Ken Walton 

  • 18 Nov 13 Arcangelo's New York Debut December 2013
    Zankel Hall
    More info  

    “It was an auspicious New York debut for Arcangelo, which was founded in 2010 by Mr. Cohen, the associate conductor of William Christie’s Arts Florissants.”
    New York Times 19 Nov 2013 – Zachary Woolfe 

  • 24 Sep 13 Johann Sebastian Bach Recording
    Genuin Select
    More info  

    3 Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba and Harpsichord
    “An absolute revelation: If Bach’s 6 suites for Solo Cello are your thing, you will certainly enjoy his splendid three sonatas for gamba (or cello) and harpsichord. They are more outgoing and florid, more formal and less personal, although at moments they are deeply moving. When they are played as they are here by Nicholas Altstaedt, one of the cello realm’s most brilliant young princes, and Jonathan Cohen, rising like a shooting star through the period performance sector, we are guaranteed that every bar will have been thought out to within an inch of its life, then let go to explore spontaneously according to the musicians’ larger overarching interpretive principles and schemes. The result of 43 minutes of such cosmically-designed, lapidarian beauty will resonate for a lifetime.”
    Huffington Post 17 September 2013

  • 16 Jan 13 Early Music Series: Anna Prohaska
    Wigmore Hall
    More info  

    “Jonathan Cohen, director of the 15-strong band, cleverly arranged the arias in a continuous sequence interspersed with instrumental numbers, artfully grouped by key so that one number seemed to ‘lead’ to another — with the odd harmonic twist to give an emotional jolt”
    Ivan Hewett, for The Guardian

  • 08 Nov 12 Concert 8 November 2012
    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    More info  

    “Jonathan Cohen’s sensitive direction of the OAE and Connolly’s vocal lustre effortlessly carried the day.”
    The Evening Standard, 9 November 2012

  • 08 Nov 12 Concert 8 November 2012
    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    More info  

    “under Jonathan Cohen’s direction the multi-instrumentalist wind players blew merry storms, while the strings achieved ravishing purity.”
    The Independent, 9 November 2012

  • 07 Nov 12 MOZART Le nozze di Figaro
    Glyndebourne Touring Opera
    More info  

    “Under Jonathan Cohen, the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra sound great — the overture ripped into at a fair lick and not too delicately, an announcement of fun to come.”
    The Evening Standard, 7 November 2012

  • 01 Nov 12 MOZART Le nozze di Figaro
    Glyndebourne Touring Opera
    More info  

    “Jonathan Cohen’s conducting of the overture proved at once that he was master of mood and mischief, and his control of the big ensembles yielded thrilling results.”
    Opera Magazine November 2012

  • 12 Aug 12 Guadagni Recording
    With Iestyn Davies and Arcangelo
    More info  

    “Director Jonathan Cohen and his ensemble Arcangelo capture the rapid, unexpected twists of the younger Bach’s radical imagination.”
    BBC Music Magazine, August 2012.

  • 15 Mar 12 Concert 15 March 2012
    Noord Nederlands Orkest
    More info  

    “After the interval followed a wonderful performance of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. The relatively young conductor Jonathan Cohen is an early music specialist. His approach was heard in his clear and direct tonal language. The dynamic nuances and precise playing gave the performance depth and colour. With the same approach in the third symphony, the performance grew into true musical enjoyment.”

    Friesch Dagblad, March 2012