Get to know Jazz Fellowship Awards Finalist Emmet Cohen


We are pleased to introduce you to EMMET COHEN, one of the five Finalists for the American Pianists Association’s 2014 – 2015 Jazz Fellowship Awards presented by REI Real Estate Services.


Where did you grow up?

I was born in Miami, spent 10 years there and then moved to Montclair, NJ, where I went to middle and high school. I then moved back to Miami to go to University of Miami, and now I’ve lived in NYC for 2 years (and just got a masters from Manhattan School of Music).

Are you from a musical family?

My father’s first cousin played with Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich among others. It’s strange though, I didn’t meet him until I was 17 years old. Good case for genetics.

What attracted you to the piano/can you play any other instruments?

I started playing the piano very young, and always enjoyed it. I play a little bit of all the instruments (as do most jazz musicians).

Clarinet and saxophone the best, and also a little bass, trumpet, and drums. I also study and play Hammond B3 very seriously.

What age were you when you started to play the piano?

I was 3 years old.

Emmet Cohen 3 yrs old

How do you deal with the pressure and being on stage?

I try to use playing/performing as my form of meditation. If I really get to “that place” I feel more comfortable on stage than off.


Biggest musical influence?

Loads of classical music, and everyone in the jazz idiom from Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Cedar Walton, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett. I also enjoy funk/r&b — James Brown, Marvin Gaye… anyone soulful, really!

What is an ordinary day like for you?

I have a musical obligation pretty much every day, whether its a rehearsal, performance, random gig, or an educational engagement. I also exercise regularly and love fitness. I have great friends and family and spend as much time as I can with the people I love.

What type of music do you listen to?

I am open and appreciative of anything with a good groove, or intriguing improvisation. That being said, I mostly listen to jazz.

Favorite restaurant(s)? 

I love Asian and Mexican food. On the go in New York City, nothing beats a Thai lunch special or a burrito bowl from Chipotle.

Favorite movie(s)?

Many. I do love “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas” though, or any other Italian mobster movie

Favorite TV show(s)?

Dexter & Breaking Bad. Not too much time for Netflix these days unfortunately.

Favorite season?

Summertime and the livin’s easy.

Favorite vacation destination?

Rio De Janeiro

Interesting facts about yourself?

I’m an expert parallel parker, I’ve never eaten a hot dog or hamburger in my entire life, and I’m an avid baseball fan.

On Saturday, December 6th, Finalist Emmet Cohen will play the 3rd concert of the American Pianists Association‘s 2014 – 2015 Jazz Fellowship Awards presented by REI Real Estate Services. This concert is sponsored by KeyBank and will begin at 8 PM at The Jazz Kitchen.

IMG_0679photo credit: Silvie Cheng

Zach Lapidus will play the first concert of 2015 on Saturday, January 24. This concert is sponsored by Frost Brown ToddZach Lapidus Pianophoto credit: John Behringer

And, Kris Bowers will play the final Premiere Series concert on Saturday, February 28. This concert is sponsored by The National Bank of the piano with polka dot socks

The competition doesn’t stop in February!

All 5 Finalists will return to Indianapolis to perform at The Jazz Kitchen for the Semi-Finals on Friday, March 27, 2015 and at Hilbert Circle Theatre for the Finals presented by Ice Miller on Saturday, March 28, 2015.


TICKETS: 317.940.9945 |


Author: americanpianistsassociation

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American jazz and classical pianists.

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