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Isidore Cohen

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Biography

Isidore Cohen December 16, 1922, Brooklyn, New York – June 23, 2005, Bronx, New York
was a renowned chamber musician and violinist, as well as a former member of the Juilliard String Quartet and Beaux Arts Trio.
Cohen began studying violin at age six, and graduated from the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, although his intention was to become a doctor. His pre-med studies at Brooklyn College were interrupted by a stint in Europe with the U.S. Army during World War II. From there on, his career focus changed as he decided he’d rather touch people’s lives through music as a result of his playing in both the army’s orchestra and jazz bands.[1]
Upon returning to civilian life, he became a student of Ivan Galamian at Juilliard. Galamian had misgivings about accepting a 24-year-old student, but didn’t want to turn down a war veteran. From there, his life as a musician started to blossom, even drawing the attention of Igor Stravinsky with his performance of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat.
As of the 1950s, Cohen was serving as the concertmaster of the orchestras at the Casals festivals in France and Puerto Rico, in addition to several ensembles in New York City. While playing for Casals, he met Alexander Schneider who invited Cohen to join his quartet as second violinist in 1952. During Cohen’s tenure, the quartet recorded the first complete set of Joseph Haydn’s string quartets, a milestone noted in Time magazine.

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