Beth Bahia Cohen

Beth Bahia Cohen is a violinist of Syrian Jewish and Russian Jewish heritage. Inspired at a young age by the sounds she heard at family gatherings, she went on to study with master musicians from Hungary, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. She plays the violin, viola, Greek lyras, Turkish bowed tanbur and kabak kemane, Norwegian hardingfele, and Egyptian rababa.

  • Career Highlights
    • Performances with Led Zeppelin, Itzhak Perlman, Eubie Blake, Phillip Glass, numerous orchestras, and Greek, Turkish, Hungarian, and Klezmer ensembles, among others
    • Recordings include Errol Morris soundtracks, PBS Nova and American Experience shows, the film music of John Kusiak, and work with Dunya, EurAsia Ensemble, Ziyia, and Weaving the Worlds (solo), among others
    • Scholarship recipient from places such as the National Endowment for the Arts/Artists International, American Research Institute of Turkey, and Radcliffe Bunting Institute
  • Education
    • B.A., Brandeis University, psychology
    • M.M., Manhattan School of Music, violin performance 

In Their Own Words

"I have spent much of my musical life exploring how the violin is played in several different cultures, discovering bowed stringed instruments that existed before the European violin arrived, learning how endangered most traditional music is, and creating a large palette of musical colors from which to make my own music. I would love my students to be inspired to do their own journeys of discovery, to get to know other musical languages if they're interested, and to discover their own music."

"Freelancing in all manner of gigs—from symphony, opera, and ballet orchestras to Broadway shows to Greek weddings, Hungarian tanchazes, Turkish Sufi whirling dervish ceremonies, and more—has shown me how important it is to have a transparent and easeful technique on the instrument, to be impeccable in every situation, to be open and respectful wherever we find ourselves."