Charles Cohen

2011 Pew Fellow

Charles Cohen, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

“In improvisation I try to think less and experience more. The primary experience for me is listening. Then, I want to respond quickly, honestly, playfully, and intuitively.”

Charles Cohen (b. 1945) has been characterized as a “special and singular musician” with a highly developed and refined voice. His music is entirely improvisational, produced solely on a vintage Buchla Music Easel synthesizer, a rare analog instrument designed in the early 1970s. Cohen has been playing his self-described “beeps and boops” since he first acquired a Buchla Music Easel in 1976, one of only 25 ever produced, and remains committed to exploring its unique qualities. He has studied with musical mavericks such as accordionist and electronic composer Pauline Oliveros and jazz pianist Cecil Taylor, and is dedicated to the art of abstract improvisation, seeking out collaborations with fellow musicians who share his love of spontaneous creation during live performance. “In improvisation I try to think less and experience more,” says Cohen. “I consider each performance as an instance of my collaborative improvisation practice, which has spanned over 30 years.”

Cohen has performed regularly in Philadelphia for nearly four decades. For most of his career he has eschewed distributing recordings of his music in order to focus deeply on live performance. However, after receiving the Pew Fellowship, Cohen was invited by Morphine Records in Berlin to work on a complete retrospective of his recordings from the 1970s through the ’90s, in vinyl and CD formats, with biographical information, pictures, and liner notes. This retrospective was released in late 2013.


References

Philadelphia’s academic and activist communities will reflect on the life and impact of Octavius V. Catto.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news, President Obama nominates Pepón Osorio to the National Council on the Arts, Columbus State University announces plans to open the Bo Bartlett Center, and Jenny Sabin creates an installation for the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.

Tempesta di Mare performs baroque music on baroque instruments with “a zest and virtuosity that transcends style and instrumentations.”

The Kimmel Center, Inc. presents a discussion with Dr. Gala True, whose research on post-deployment health and reintegration into society will inform a conversation around the arts’ role in the veteran community.

Grants & Grantees

Bowerbird produced a multi-day festival featuring works composed by Morton Feldman, as well as programs presented with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rotunda.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) announced today its 2015 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. Marking the Center’s 10th year of grantmaking, a total of more than $9.6 million will provide funding for 12 new Pew Fellowships, 34 Project grants, and three Advancement grants.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Jock Reynolds has been the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery since 1998.

Pew Fellow and visual artist Tiona McClodden on creating work inspired by her lived experiences, why “honesty is perfection,” and more.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Since the late 1970s, Danny Yung has established a reputation as one of Hong Kong’s most influential and pioneering artists.

The Arden Theatre Company will bolster its capability to produce new children’s theater through a one-year artistic exchange and collaboration with Seattle Children’s Theatre and Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis.

Grants & Grantees

Built on a foundation of public dialogue and interaction, the Re-Place-ing Philadelphia project used art as a lens for viewing the city and its history.

Sruti, The India Music and Dance Society presents the world premiere of Saayujya (The Merging), featuring two of India’s preeminent artists, bharata natyam dancer Priyadarsini Govind and Carnatic musician T. M. Krishna (TMK).