Maestro Warren Cohen has been Music Director of MusicaNova since the founding of the innovative orchestra in 2003. In the course of his time with the group, it has developed an international reputation for its performances and recordings of unjustly neglected music. As music critic Alan Kruek said “nowhere outside of London and NewYork can music lovers enjoy an orchestra of such high quality that is consistently committed to the performance of great neglected music.” Rob Barnett, editor of MusicWeb International said “the great orchestras of the world could learn something from the consistently imaginative programming of this innovative ensemble.”
In addition to his work with MusicaNova, Warren is Artistic Director of the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestras. For the 2012-2013 season, he was Concert Artist in Conducting at Kean University, the only person ever appointed to this position. He previously was Music Director of the Scottsdale Baroque Orchestra, the Fine Arts String Orchestra, and the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, where he was appointed Music Director Laureate in 2005.
Warren began his musical career as a pianist and composer, and his early positions included a stint as a ballet accompanist for Honolulu City Ballet and as Music Director of the Kumu Kahua Theatre group, for whom he also wrote the music for a Cantata for Theatre on the life of Princess Kai’ulani. His work in theatre and opera led to his becoming a conductor; his earliest assignments were for obscure works that more established conductors did want to bother to learn, but he soon developed a large repertoire that included many standard works. Within a few years he was also working as an orchestral and choral conductor. As a result, over the past fifteen years he has conducted almost a thousand orchestral, operatic, and choral works. He studied conducting with, among others, Gustav Meier and Paul Vermel, and did a year of study at English National Opera during the last year of the administration of the “power trio” years where the company was led by Sir Mark Elder, David Poutney, and Peter Jonas.
He now divides his time between New Jersey and Arizona with his wife, soprano Carolyn Whitaker, and his 16-year-old son, Graham, an award winning composer and violist who studies in the Juilliard Pre-College Division in New York.