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Harriet Cohen


COHEN, HARRIET (1901–1967), British pianist. She made her debut at Queen's Hall, London, in 1914. By the age of 20 she had established her reputation as a virtuoso whose keyboard style combined elegance with spontaneity. Her interpretations of Bach were distinguished by clarity, precision, and vitality. Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax, and William Walton all wrote compositions for her. In 1934 she took part in a London concert to aid refugee scientists at which *Einstein accompanied her on the violin. Shortly before World War II, when she visited Palestine to play with the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, she presented a collection of music manuscript autographs to the Jewish National and University Library. In Britain, she was active in supporting Jewish, and especially Israel, causes. In 1954 she was granted the freedom of the City of London. An injury to her right wrist in 1948 almost ended her concert career. It was two years before she appeared in public again, playing a concerto for the left hand written for her by Sir Arnold Bax. Failing eyesight compelled her to retire in 1960. Her writings include Music's Handmaid (1936) and memoirs, A Bundle of Time (1968).


New York Times (Nov. 14, 1967); JC (Nov. 17, 1967).

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.