Nicholas Kohn began studying viola at age 9 in the Atlanta suburbs. At 12, he began studying viola with Thomas Ludwig, a graduate of Juilliard, pupil of Leonard Bernstein, and an active composer. He also auditioned for and was accepted into the Fulton Schools Honors Orchestra, the Beethoven Chamber Orchestra, and the Buckhead Youth Orchestra (conducted by the esteemed Juan Ramirez).
At age 14, Nicholas relocated to Abu Dhabi, UAE. He quickly established himself with the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Philip Maier, where he became principal viola. He gained valuable professional experience playing at such venues as the World Economic Forum, the Dubai International Trade Forum Expo, Atlantis, and the Meydan horse racing world cup.
He was accepted in the music program at the prestigious British School Al Khubairat, where he was awarded a sixth form musical scholarship and the Music Prize for Performance in Year 12. He studied privately with the talented Ukrainian violist Andriy Khomyakevych, graduate of the Petro Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine. In Year 12, Nicholas participated in the Young Musicians of the Gulf competition. He won the composition competition, his quintet won the ensemble prize, and he made it to the finals of the solo performance competition.
Nicholas also found time to participate in Barnaby Priest’s Dubai Chamber Orchestra and was the only student admitted to the apprentice program of the UAE National Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Berryman. He also appeared in popular music concerts, serving in the orchestra for such acts as the Jacksons and Mohammed Hamimi, as well as playing Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” under the direction of Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman.
During the summers of 2013 and 2014, Nicholas attended masterclasses at Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where he was a student of Wilfred Strehle, principal violist of the Berlin Philharmonic, and Antonello Farulli. He also established a friendship with Dora Swartzberg, which led to an invitation for him to visit Vienna for some private tuition designed to help him gain admission to a conservatoire.
Nicholas has just finished studying viola performance at the Royal Academy of Music with Garfield Jackson, a member of the legendary Endellion Quartet. Nicholas’ solo appearances include a performance of the viola solo part In Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy,”with the Southgate Symphony Orchestra conducted by Adrian Brown, as well as the Hoffmeister Viola Concerto in D Major with the Hornton Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jack Wong.
Nicholas is an avid performer of orchestral repertoire in London. His recent orchestral engagements include being the principal viola of the Hornton Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony at Cadogan Hall and the Principal viola in the inaugural concert of the Elgar Sinfonia at St.John’s Waterloo, conducted by Adrian Brown. Nicholas has also performed in other venues such as St.John Smith’s Square, The Duke’s Hall, The Armani Hotel in Dubai and the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
Nicholas’ passion also lies in conducting, and in 2018-2019, he was the chief conductor of the St. Bartholomew’s Chamber Orchestra, where all profits are donated to the Michael Rakotoariveny Foundation. He also was the founder and conductor of the London Students’ Orchestra. Nicholas served in 2018 as the assistant conductor of the Virtuoso Wind Ensemble, led by Derek Holland. Nicholas studies conducting with Adrian Brown, a pupil of Sir Adrian Boult and Herbert Von Karajan as well as Thomas Ludwig, a long-time associate and student of Leonard Bernstein.
Nicholas is a passionate teacher, with a speciality in the Suzuki and ABRSM system. Nicholas himself did grade eight on the viola, achieving a distinction with the score 137/150. As a teacher, Nicholas was an assistant teacher at the Music Hub in Abu Dhabi, where he ran two violin duets, as well as teaching several students the ABRSM system, mainly between grades one to five. While in London, Nicholas was also an assistant teacher at the Hap’ning Place while also studying at the Royal Academy of Music. While continuing on with many private violin and viola students, Nicholas ran a fiddle group of eight students, as well as a theory group specializing for students taking grades in the ABRSM system beyond five. As a teacher, Nicholas has a philosophy that a student should have an excellent balance of technique, theory and repertoire, whilst making the lessons as engaging and comfortable as possible. Nicholas believes all lessons should be aimed towards the students’ strengths, while encouraging them to work on the weaker sides through homework, and written advice, which the parents can follow and help their children with. Nicholas originally started on the Suzuki method, and believes if it is used to encourage a student in the right direction through its wonderful repertoire, then a student should enjoy the lesson and feel motivated to practice for the next one.
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