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Special Projects
Dancing the Cello
Robert Cohen and the Royal Ballet School

A series of master classes exploring what it takes to perform and interpret music at an expert level and developing choreographic studies in response to Bach’ s Cello Suite no 3 in C major, The performance on 18th October 2010 incorporated Robert Cohen into the choreographic and performance space.

The project involved the sharing of expert performance practice and knowledge of music and form. Incorporating fundamentals:

How to initiate movement and sound
What kind of movement makes music
How the artist/musician works with or responds to composition
How the artist/musician feels, works and plays with his or her instrument
Performance choices
Improvisation with classical material

Music Tutor: Robert Cohen
Choreography Tutors: Kate Flatt, Gail Graves and Jennifer Jackson

Student cellists from Royal Academy of Music working in rehearsals:
Dan-di Wang, Rebecca Herman and Hannah Innes

Robert Cohen has created fascinating and stimulating projects for different festivals:

'Les Six "
for the City of London Festival - a 6 day 9 event exploration including concerts and film.
Robert Cohen reveals the music, poetry, letters, songs and paintings generated in the vibrant Paris scene by these enigmatic characters.

'Turning Points '
for the Bath International Music Festival
A five concert series illustrating music at the turn of the centuries and the extraordinary music of the war years.

for the City of London Festival

After decades as the capital of European culture, Paris in the 1920s could still lay claim to the title. Artists, musicians and poets gathered in friendship and produced some extraordinary outbursts of artistic achievement.

In this confident cultural milieu appeared half-a-dozen young composer's who would seal France's reputation as a musical Mecca. The group of highly individual talents - Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc and Germaine Tailleferre - became known worldwide as "Les Six". Together with the writer, film-maker and designer Jean Cocteau they transformed the aesthetics of their age and had a lasting historical impact on the arts.

In a programme of concerts given by distinguished artists, Robert reveals the music, poetry, letters, songs and paintings generated in the vibrant Paris scene by these enigmatic characters. To complement this programme of concerts, Barbican Screen shows a number of films on which 'Les Six' composers collaborated. The first film will be introduced by Robert on Saturday 24th June.

Day 1

Lecture with Robert Cohen at 6pm

Robert Cohen, director of 'Les Six' project, will introduce the enigmatic character of each composer and reveal their influences and inspirations, recreating an exciting period that was 1920's Paris.

Concert 1 at 7.30pm

In words and music, this concert introduces each of Les Six

Honegger Piano Trio 1914
Milhaud Elegie for cello & piano 1945
Tailleferre Sonata no.1 for violin & piano 1924
-- Interval --
Auric 'Adieu New York' for solo piano 1921
Durey Duos for violin and cello 1964
Poulenc Sonata for flute & piano 1956

Concert 2 at 10.15pm (45')

Songs by Les Six and the poems that inspired them. The flavour of this "concert" will be highly casual, and almost improvisatory - like the early impromptu concerts held by 'Les Six'. All of them wrote songs, set by the influential poets of the time.


Concert 3 at 6.15pm

Milhaud 'Le Boeuf sur le Toit' for violin & piano 1919
'Album des Six' for piano - 6 pieces, 1 by each composer 1919
Poulenc Sonata for cello & piano 1948

Concert 4 at 8pm

Poulenc Le Bestiare for baritone, strings, fl & cl 1919
Auric Aria for flute & piano Auric Imaginée I for flute & piano 1969
Auric Imaginée III for clarinet & piano 1971
Honegger Duo for violin & cello 1932
-- Interval --
Durey Images a Crusoe - baritone, strings, celeste, fl, & cl 1922
Milhaud Sonata for viola & piano no.2 1944
Tailleferre Piano Trio 1978


Concert 5 at 7.30pm

Milhaud String Quartet no.4 1919
Poulenc Rhapsodie Negre for baritone, piano, strings, fl & cl 1919
Honegger Cello Sonata 1920
-- Interval --
Tailleferre String Quartet 1919
Durey Trio Serenade for violin, viola & cello 1956
Auric Sonata for violin & piano 1936

Concert 6 at 10.15pm

The venue will evoke a 1920's chic Parisian night-club. The mood will be extremely laid-back, impromptu - a snap shot of the Parisianscene that these young composers were steeped in.

Honegger Sonatine for 2 violins 1920
Honegger Paduana for cello & piano 1945
Tailleferre Sonatine for violin & piano 1973
Durey Carillons & Neige for piano 4 hands 1918
Poulenc Eiffel Tower Polka (arrangement tbc) 1' Auric Imaginées II for cello & piano 1970
Songs by Les Six details tbc Satie Parade (version for 2 pianos) 1917

The artists:
Baritone: François Le Roux
Pianists: Elizabeth Burley, François-Frédéric Guy and Graham Johnson
Violinists: Chantal Juillet and Peter Manning
Violist: Gérard Caussé
Cellist: Robert Cohen
Flutist: Patrick Gallois
Clarinettist: Michael Collins

Barbican Screen Paris sur Scène - Les Six et le Cinéma

'Les Six' composers worked with renowned film makers such as René Clair and Jean Cocteau. The following programme concentrates primarily on the work of Georges Auric, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc.

Focussing on their involvement in the world of film, Robert Cohen continues his presentation of 'Les Six' with a brief introduction to launch the film series.


Double bill
at the Barbican Cinema


We set the scene of Paris in the 1920s with René Clair's revelation of the magic of cinema, which features Les Six composers Georges Auric and Darius Milhaud alongside a host of Parisian intellectuals, including artists Marcel Duchamps and Man Ray, and fellow composer Eric Satie. The film experiments with the medium, running forward and in reverse, single framed, under-cranked, and at high speed, with super-imposed images and frantic editing. "A charming and challenging vision of Paris as a world of the imagination and the Dadaist intellectual conceit." (Lucy Fischer) 1924 Dir. René Clair 23 min.


Barrie Gavin's beguiling portrait of Francis Poulenc explores the composer's involvement with Les Six, the influence of Stravinsky on his work, and the effects of the rediscovery of his Catholic faith in later life. Our guide through Poulenc's world is the composer Heinz Karl Gruber, and the film features interviews with Poulenc's contemporary Henri Sauguet and Madeleine Milhaud. 1990 Dir. Barrie Gavin 55 min.


Darius Milhaud composed a dramatic, sympathetic score for Jean Renoir's 1933 adaptation of Flaubert's famous novel. In a small provincial town the spirited and beautiful Emma Bovary marries a dull country doctor, and after a period of increasing restlessness, becomes an easy target for a ruthless philanderer. Valentine Tessier stars as the heroine who rejects convention and moral codes, only to find tragedy paving her way. 1933 Dir. Jean Renoir 101 min.



Arthur Honegger wrote the epic score for Abel Gance's Napoleon in 1927, and continued to work in the cinema during the 1930s. One of the highlights of his film music is Anthony Asquith's British adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with Leslie Howard as Professor Henry Higgins and the wonderful Wendy Hiller as Eliza Doolittle. With flawless performances, it emerged as a perfect film in every sense. 1938 Dir. Anthony Asquith & Leslie Howard 95 min.


LA BELLE ET LA BÈTE (Beauty and the Beast)

Georges Auric was the most prolific of 'Les Six' in terms of film work, and his gorgeous score crowns Jean Cocteau's magical, achingly beautiful fantasy. Beauty gives herself to the Beast to save her father, and falls in love. Auric's music enriches an enchanting, beguiling fable and one of the masterpieces of world cinema. France 1946 Dir.Jean Cocteau 93 min.

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Bath International Music Festival
International Artists' in Residence Series 2000

'Turning Points'

Created and lead by Robert Cohen

A five concert series illustrating music at the turn of the centuries and the extraordinary music of the war years.

Chamber music and songs from Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, through Dvorak, Brahms and Arensky, to Bridge, Ravel, Elgar and Messiaen.

Robert Cohen's guests:

Pianists : Giovanni Bellucci and Boris Berezovsky
Violinists : Leonidas Kavakos, Isabelle van Keulen and Bradley Creswick
Violist : Kim Kashkashian
Cellist : Caroline Dearnley
Clarinettist : Michael Collins
Soprano : Mary Plazas

Day 1 Late night concert
Introduction to the series

A selection of solo and chamber virtuoso pieces and songs to illustrate the series, including:
Dohnanyi Serenade for string Trio
Fauré Pieces

Day 2 Evening concert
Turning to 1800

Haydn Piano Trio in E XV28
Beethoven Sonata for cello & piano no.1 in F op.5 no.1
Mozart Songs: 'Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge'
‘Komm, lieber Mai’
'Im Frühlingsanfange'
'Das Kinderspiel'
'Eine kleine deutche Kantate'
‘Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls’
-- Interval --
Mozart Clarinet Quintet

Day 2 Late night concert
The War Years

Messiaen Quartet for the end of time

Day 3 Evening concert
Turning to 1900

Arensky Quartet for violin, viola, 2 cellos
Brahms Clarinet Trio
-- Interval --
Dvorak Piano Quintet in A op 81

Day 4 Evening concert
The War Years part 2

Bridge Sonata for cello and piano
Ravel Piano trio
-- Interval --
Elgar Piano Quintet

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