The Handel and Haydn Society Announces New Artistic Director

The US-based company Handel and Haydn Society announced that Jonathan Cohen will be its next artistic director. The Manchester-born conductor, cellist and keyboardist will succeed Harry Christophers, who stepped down in 2021 after 15 years as artistic director.

Based in Boston, the Handel and Haydn Society is dedicated to the interpretation of music from the Baroque and Classical eras. It has been active for over 200 years, giving its first performance in 1815. This history makes it the oldest arts organization in America. After Christophers – founder of The Sixteen, whom we named one of best choirs in the world – Cohen is the second successive British musician to take on the role of artistic director.

He would also be one of its youngest artistic directors, graduating from Clare College, Cambridge in 2000. Cohen was, was co-founder of the famous London Haydn Quartet: he also founded the UK-based early music ensemble Arcangelo.

Cohen calls this opportunity “a dream come true, allowing me to work collaboratively with some of the most talented and passionate musicians on the planet.” He will take on the role at the start of the 2023-24 concert season: however, he has already enjoyed a series of successful concerts with the Society, conducting performances of Vivaldi GloriaCPE Bach Magnificatand JS Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1.

“Jonathan understands that playing period instruments is not an academic exercise; it’s about performing that music with the freshness and vibrancy of new music,” adds David Snead, CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society. “From Jonathan’s first performances with Handel and Haydn, it was clear that his approach to music-making aligns powerfully with what H+H is all about.”

Photo of Jonathan Cohen by Marco Borggreve

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