ARYEH NUSSBAUM COHEN
May 29, 2022
"Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen hadn’t chosen opera when he arrived on Princeton’s campus in the fall of 2011. The incoming History major intended to work in public policy, maybe even go to law school. Opera chose him several months later, on his first night at the Met. Cohen won a free ticket raffled off by the school’s Department of Music upon his sixth or seventh try... Cohen made a vow to himself that he would one day sing on this stage. He tore off the end of the ticket with “The Metropolitan Opera” printed on it, and has been carrying the stub around in his wallet every day since then. On May 13 this year, he finally made his début on the very same stage as Rosencrantz in Brett Dean’s Hamlet. It was a dream 10 years in the making. One may be tempted to call it a coincidence. But on close examination, every step he took led him to this dream destination of generations of young singers."
March 2, 2022
"For Cohen, 28, the program offers “a nice encapsulation of the music that brought me to singing, the music I find most enjoyable and meaningful. A lot of singers grow up singing in church. That was my story, but in shul/synagogue"... No matter where he performs, he takes the synagogue with him, connecting and interpreting melodic phrases through the filter of missinai.
“People will tell me, you’re so musical,” Cohen said. “Well, I spent my formative teenage years chanting the traditional way, using traditional Jewish scales, musical modes that sound like klezmer. My job was to shape the text with those modes and bring out the most meaningful experience for the listeners and for me. That developed my musicality. I’m fortunate to be traveling all over. This fall I debuted in Moscow and Amsterdam. But to this day I love singing this music above all.”
THE JEWISH NEWS OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
THE AUSTRALIAN JEWISH NEWS | by DANNY GOCS
February 24, 2021
“This is an opportunity to sing some of my favourite numbers and the program includes some Jewish pieces,” he said. “Whenever I perform in concert I love to include some famous pieces from my heritage, including some in Hebrew.”
Nussbaum Cohen grew up in Brooklyn in a family that loved pop music. His mother is journalist Debra Nussbaum Cohen whose reporting has appeared in many Jewish publications.
“Being a cantor for the High Holy Days at East Midwood Jewish Centre (a Conservative synagogue) in Brooklyn for seven years was the first type of solo performing that I did,” he recalled.
However, by the time he went to Princeton University he was more interested in politics than singing.
“Opera was not on my radar as far as a career path – I went to Princeton University as a public policy major and thought of maybe going to law school. I was on the path of every Jewish mother’s dream of becoming a lawyer!” he explained.
THE AUSTRALIAN JEWISH NEWS
AUSTRAILIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW | by MICHAEL BAILEY
February 11, 2021
"Travellers who had to quarantine at Adelaide’s Playford Hotel in January can count themselves lucky. Not only did they get to serve their 14 days in one of the city’s plushest establishments, but they also got a daily recital from one of the world’s hottest young opera stars, who also happens to be headlining the Adelaide Festival later this month... For Neil Armfield, who is juggling directing Midsummer with being joint artistic director of the Adelaide Festival itself, Cohen was worth the effort it took to fly in someone for an otherwise COVID-19-era, all-local event.
“He’s right on the cusp of a very great career, and he will be one of those performers that you will remember for the rest of your lives,” he says... It’s lucky for Adelaide that Cohen will make his debut here even before he does so at his beloved Met.
“Aryeh’s got a great physique, he’s built like a football player, and I wanted that because with Oberon written for a countertenor, there’s a danger that this powerful character in the story can feel quite fey,” he says.""
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
LIMELIGHT | by STEVE DOW
February 11, 2021
"The payoff for Adelaide audiences will be not only the opera, directed by Neil Armfield and choreographed by Denni Sayers, who is coming to Adelaide from London for the Adelaide Festival centrepiece production, but also a Nussbaum Cohen solo recital at Adelaide Town Hall during the festival’s second week... “This young performer has just turned heads, particularly across America,” says Armfield, who is also the Adelaide Festival’s co-Artistic Director, of Nussbaum Cohen. “He’s right on the cusp of a very great career and he will be one of those voices, one of those performers, that you will remember for the rest of your lives.”... “I’m very politically interested and engaged because that was my original career path,” Aryeh says, pinpointing his first adult vote, for Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012, as part of his political awakening... “To me it’s just been so sad to see that [Donald] Trump and his enablers have taken advantage of the divisions that existed in the country... whipping up all this anger and resentment and xenophobia and all these horrible forces that as a Jew and a grandson of Holocaust survivors, it’s a playbook that I’m very familiar with.” “It’s been just really sad to see. I’m hopeful that Biden can preside over taking us forward, but there’s no question it’s going to continue to be a hard time for America.”"
INDAILY| by SUZIE KEEN
January 22, 2021
"While tennis stars may have been irritating their fellow hotel quarantine guests by hitting balls against walls to keep in form for the Australian Open, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen has hit a different note at Adelaide’s Playford Hotel. Cohen, who comes from New York, arrived in the city 11 days ago and has been quarantining at the hotel since then. He is here to perform the role of Oberon in UK composer Benjamin Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream, centrepiece of the 2021 Adelaide Festival program, and will also sing a recital at the Town Hall with pianist Konstantin Shamray... To keep his voice tuned, Cohen has been practicing each day in his level-three room, sparking curiosity among fellow guests. Hotel staff and others have also gathered on the street below to listen to the 26-year-old singer."
OPERA WARHORSES | by WILLIAM BURNETT
July 8, 2020
An in-depth interview with New York countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen.
THE BAY AREA REPORTER | by PHILLIP CAMPBELL
December 30, 2019
The undisputed standout was countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen. Immediately recognized as a young man who is going places, Cohen was ready for his close-up from the get-go, and his thrilling performances at Philharmonia Baroque and the San Francisco Opera proved his confidence and the strength of his beautiful voice.”
THE BAY AREA REPORTER
Best Of 2019: OperaWire’s Top 10 Rising Stars Of 2019
OPERA WIRE | by FRANCISCO SALAZAR
December 7, 2019
"These singers... simply stand out from the rest with their youthful and raw qualities with a dash of that special sauce the hints at future stardom... Already an established singer, ... Cohen made a leap into international territories this year as he competed for the Operalia competition at age 25. Cohen went on win third prize solidifying his status as one of the most promising young singers in the world. He also won a Grammy award for Best Classical Compendium and the Sullivan Foundation Award."
Cantor-Tenor – Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen on His Burgeoning Career & Important Jewish Tradition
OPERA WIRE | by LOIS SILVERSTEIN
DECEMBER 7, 2019
"Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen’s family fully expected him to pursue a career in Public Policy when he went to Princeton University. But that wasn't the path he would take...Instead he got his B.A. in History and studied Voice as well, when he realized just how deep music and he were deeply intertwined. The music bug that had bitten him when he was a young boy and over time, turned his path around. The last couple of years have been a whirlwind of sorts for the 25-year-old..."
A high-voiced rising star at 25
AP NEWS| by MIKE SILVERMAN
July 2, 2019
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen’s improbable career has brought him rapidly to the brink of operatic stardom at age 25. So it’s not surprising that the Brooklyn-born countertenor would fall prey to feeling a “kind of impostor syndrome” when he walked on stage. “Up until this time I’ve always had this feeling of, ‘What, me? Really?’” Cohen said in an interview at the War Memorial Opera House, where he was finishing a June run of performances as Medoro in Handel’s “Orlando.” But something changed on opening night. “I wasn’t nervous at all,” Cohen said. “For the first time I’m feeling I really belong here and I can hold my own.”...Cohen’s career is on the fast track... And he has engagements well into the future — including a Met debut in the 2021-22 season.”
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen’s operatic career is blossoming because he didn’t want to grow up
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | by JOSHUA KOSSMAN
June 4, 2019
“Today, at 25, Cohen is increasingly recognized for his ability not only to produce lustrously beautiful high notes, but also to shape them into musical performances of eloquence and power. During his two years as an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, Cohen has shone in the company’s showcase concerts, as well as giving gorgeous and thoughtful performances with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the American Bach Soloists.
And all this because he decided to keep singing the high notes that had brought him such pleasure as a child.”
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen primed to handle choice role in S.F. Opera’s ‘Orlando’
THE MERCURY NEWS | by GEORGIA ROWE
June 3, 2019
“Cohen, 25, is a young artist in the company’s Adler Fellowship program, but he’s already made a big impression in the Bay Area. The New York transplant has scored successes in appearances with San Francisco Ballet, American Bach Soloists and, most recently, in a brilliant solo turn as King David in the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s performances of Handel’s “Saul.” Yet with Medoro, which he calls a dream role, he’s taking a leap into a major production of one of Handel’s greatest operas. He’s clearly ready... Next month, following “Orlando,” he’ll sing in Placido Domingo’s Operalia competition; this fall, it’s on to Houston to reprise the role of King David in Houston Grand Opera’s fully staged production of “Saul.” But he’ll be in San Francisco a lot, completing his final year as an Adler Fellow.
THE MERCURY NEWS
Young Jewish opera star comes to Bay Area as King David himself
JWEEKLY | by ALIX WALL
March 20, 2019
"Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is quite sure he’s the only man singing in opera today who spent seven years serving as a cantor for High Holiday services at a Conservative synagogue, starting when he was just 15. He is just as conversant with the nuances of nusach, a piyyut or the Amidah as he is with the work of composer George Frideric Handel. “There are very few Jewish opera singers,” he said. “It’s not the most haimish industry. I know a few others, but no one who grew up as religious as I did. Even if I’m not davening and having Shabbos dinner regularly, it’s important to who I am.”
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen
OPERA NEWS | by HENRY STEWART
December 2018 | Vol. 83, No. 6
"Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen is just twenty-four, but he's already a countertenor on the rise. On Kenneth Fuchs's Poems of Life, released on CD in August, he sounds remarkably secure, gracefully traversing a tessitura that can cause some in his fach to strain. "Most countertenors are struggling baritones [who] realize, 'Oh, I have a pretty nice falsetto—let me give this a whirl,''' he says, chuckling. "I'm the rare case that I've always been a countertenor. But not by any plan—by luck and ignorance. I was in children's choir, and my voice dropped. But I liked singing in the choir, so I kind of finagled and managed to keep singing alto. I always joke that my range dropped a minor third when my voice dropped.'"
Hitting the High Notes
PRINCETON ALUMNI WEEKLY | by MARK F. BERNSTEIN
September 12, 2018
"By the time Nussbaum Cohen applied to Princeton, he had the makings of a rich and expressive countertenor. Gabriel Crouch, the director of choral activities, recalls being astounded by an audition tape Nussbaum Cohen submitted with his application: "I said to myself, ‘My goodness, what is this voice?’" When Nussbaum Cohen appeared for his live audition several weeks later, Crouch called in colleagues so they could hear him, too. That voice also impressed David Kellet, a member of the performance faculty who became Nussbaum Cohen’s vocal coach. “When I first heard him, my mouth hung open,” he says. “Aryeh’s instrument is of a size and richness that is unique.”
PRINCETON ALUMNI WEEKLY
Countertenor forges a career his way
THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE | by ANDREW L. PINCUS
February 23, 2018
"Friends of Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen were worried about him. He was worried, too, sometimes. But he didn't doubt his goal. Midway through his Princeton years, the now 24-year-old Cohen had decided to turn himself from a pre-law student into a countertenor, that male of the species who sings in an alto's range. Applications to graduate schools and fellowships for a master's degree leading to a vocal career got him nowhere. So at his graduation in 2015, he embarked on a five-year plan to make it on his own. In New York, he studied voice independently and took on work as a high school test tutor to bring in money. "That," he recalls, "was the period when all my friends were a little worried for me, and I was worried for myself." They needn't have feared. After only two of the five years, Cohen was one of six winners of the Metropolitan Opera's national auditions. Reviewing the winners' joint concert, The New York Times declared that there was "only one complete artist."
THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
A Countertenor to Encounter
ARTS + CULTURE TX | by STEVEN BROWN
January 17, 2018
"The Ivy Leaguer tore up his career plan. For his first two years at Princeton University, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen had majored in public policy, figuring he’d go to law school and work in public affairs. Then a summer project stirred his love for singing, which went all the way back to his childhood. Cohen switched his major to history so he could explore the background of the 17th- and 18th-century music that most drew him. As graduation approached, he applied to graduate schools and fellowship programs, hoping to flesh out the musical side of his education. “I got rejected by everything I applied to, all in about a week’s time,” Cohen says. “I really thought my life was over—having gone from my public policy plan to this more-volatile dream—but I was able to use that to light a fire of motivation. I wanted to show everyone that I did have something to contribute...."
ARTS + CULTURE TEXAS
Houston Grand Opera: Concert of Arias
HOUSTON CHRONICLE | by ANDREW DANSBY
February 10, 2017
“Cohen's frenetic, gregarious manner disappears, and he slips into character. His sweet, gentle face folds inward and exudes anguish. His voice, a soaring otherworldly countertenor, presents the perspective of a man viewing his own tomb. Cohen's performance comes as one of eight finalists at Houston Grand Opera's Concert of Arias, which took place last month and could crudely be called 'The Voice' for opera... 'It's a funny process,' Cohen says after his second aria. 'In the span of just two seconds you go from doing absolutely nothing to bam! You have to be in character. And think about it: Sometimes you're jumping into the middle or the end of an opera, instead of working from start to finish. It can be disorienting. You sit and then jump into this short burst of intense focus.'... Speck, director of HGO Studio, announces the final award, the first-place finisher. Cohen, ever expressive, pulls his hands to his face as Speck calls out his name...Then there's Cohen, who projects poise and polish to go with his gifts. 'He has a confidence and maturity beyond his age,' Brian Speck, director of the HGO Studio, says. Granted, Speck adds, repertoire can be a challenge for young countertenors. The number of roles simply isn't as great as for other singers. 'Still, he commands attention,' he says. 'He's a pretty rare talent. And he has a special stage presence.'"