Finding Beauty-Maria Corley Interviews Guitarist David Cohen

Written by Maria Corley 2018

kindred hospital south pholadelphia david cohen pipaPhiladelphia-based composer and multi-instrumentalist David Cohen is a cancer survivor who exemplifies the phrase “beauty for ashes.” While he never suffered from the disease himself, he watched his beloved wife, Tatyana, die of ovarian cancer, a process that nearly stripped him of his will to make music. While she was alive, he became an active advocate for patient-centered care, a role he continues today. After her death, he recorded a farewell to his life as a musician, which won an unprecedented award.

In the end, David never gave up music; the passion was too great, and, as he notes, his wife would never have wanted that. Instead, he takes his guitar into hospitals, playing for and talking with “amazing people.” He also took his guitar to the U.K, where he set up a tour that included a stop at the famed Troubadour in London, launching pad for storied artists like his idol and inspiration, Joan Armatrading.

To learn more about David’s amazing journey, please click here.

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World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day Concert: David Cohen Guitar


Thursday May 8th 2014
7:30 PM 45 minute set
$5.00 donation -Reserve an online seat 


In conjunction with World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day Classical & Flamenco Guitarist David Cohen of Philadelphia will play a 45-minute set raising funds for The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and the Friends of Fox Chase Cancer Center.

In 2011 David lost his wife Tanya to ovarian cancer after a two-year battle. Since the loss of his wife David has dedicated himself to ovarian cancer awareness and advocacy for patient care. David works with both Fox Chase Cancer Center and The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania in developing their Patient and Family Centered Care practices.

The concert will be available through the online in real-time concert venue Admission is by donation in kind. All of the money raised will be donated to both organizations except for the small broadcasting fee.  The Philadelphia OrchestraBalletX and Whole Foods have generously donated items that will be available during the concert that will help raise funds.

In support of this event David will have technical assistance running the program from Local Arts Live in Philadelphia. The program will be broadcast from his dining room. The Friends of Fox Chase Cancer Center is a group of staff members that volunteer their time to assist with he needs of patients by purchasing items that patients may need to help keep their quality of life while hospitalized. They also assist in the education of the needs of cancer patients.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is the foremost advocacy organization for women with ovarian cancer. They represent tens of thousands of women with ovarian cancer in the United States.

David Cohen is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, educator, and composer of music for the classical & flamenco guitar, Chinese pipa musician and bagpipe played in Philadelphia. David’s teaching studios are located in both Philadelphia and Ocean Grove, NJ. David performs in concert, clubs and private performances along the East Coast.


BalletX: Reaching The Sweet Spot

One may ask what the ballet is doing in a section that is designated to exploring the guitar in the Philadelphia area. Looking at the art of dance and thinking of the guitar leads to the flamenco traditions of the instrument of Spanish origin. That is unless you attended the performances of BalletX from July 11 thru 15 at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. It was the performances during that week that introduced two Philadelphia guitarist to the loyal audiences of BalletX. Guitarist Enda Keegan and David Cohen took part in an extraordinary and bold move by BalletX to bring attention to these artists and others in Philadelphia.

In designing an experience there are four values to work within: educational, escapist, esthetic and entertainment. Within those values when the participant has gone through the realms of absorption, active participation, immersion and passive participation, the participant has reached the sweet spot. On Sunday, July 15th BalletX closed their Summer Series 2012 giving their audiences for the five days and six performances the opportunity to reach their Sweet Spot.

Through a grant from the Knights Art Challenge BalletX received $13,000 when they replied to the foundation with their answer to this question, “What’s your best idea for the arts in Philadelphia?” Out of the 1,752 applicants that answered that question BalletX was chosen along with thirty-five other arts organizations to receive a portion of the grant. In the mission of BalletX to define Philadelphia as a home for arts, culture and dance directors Christine Cox and Mathew Neenan replied to the Knight’s Foundation question with their answer, “To expand the cultural experience of ballet audiences with unexpected dance, comedy, music and spoken word during BalletX’s seasonal performances”.  In this bold move BalletX stepped outside of their safety zone as they do with their chorography to include other artists inside and outside of dance.

For one week in July 2012 audiences at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia experienced performances of: Beside Myself choreography by Tobin Del Cuore, and world premieres of Mashup, choreography by Adam Hougland and Differences In Sections choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie and had the eXperience eXpanded with separate performances on stage and in the lobby with Philadelphia artists: David Cohen-classical & flamenco guitar, Chinese pipa & bagpipes, Billy Blaise Dufala aka Juicy Flute, Clyde Evans-Chosen Dance Company, Enda Keegan-singer songwriter and Pasion y Arte Falmenco. The knight challenge is a three-year $9 million initiative for the arts in Philadelphia.
BalletX is a contemporary ballet company that expands the vocabulary of classical dance. The Company reflects the joint vision of award-winning Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan. Their focus on the creation of new works has resonated with both local and international dance audiences and has captured the attention of highly-regarded artists in the field of dance.

BalletX has built a diverse, dynamic, and active repertoire that includes original choreography by Cox and Neenan, as well as an impressive array of talented guest artists. Guest artists range from emerging talents to established choreographers from the national and international dance communities. Featured choreographers include: Jorma Elo, Jodie Gates, Adam Hougland, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Zane Booker, Edwaard Liang, Helen Pickett, Thang Dao, Alex Ketley, and Tobin Del Cuore, among others. Performed by dancers with remarkable technical proficiency, BalletX’s original works challenge and engage audiences and dancers alike.

The Company was formed around three basic core values: quality and integrity of dance, relationship with the audience, and relationship with each other. BalletX is committed to bringing choreographers’ and dancers’ visions to life by welcoming new and innovative styles and methods of performance. BalletX views dance as a conversation with the audience; by engaging audiences with innovative works, the Company seeks to develop a collective appetite and demand for bold new dance.

Since the fall of 2007, BalletX has had the honor of being the resident dance company of Philadelphia’s award-winning The Wilma Theater. During this time, the Company has presented over XX World Premieres, including interdisciplinary multimedia works that blend ballet, spoken text, video, originally composed music, and imaginative set designs.
Recognized nationally and internationally, BalletX has been awarded grants by The Jerome Robbins Foundation’s New Essential Works (NEW) Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as Dance Advance, a program of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. The Company has been invited to perform in the Festival de Ballet in Cali, Colombia; Ballet EXPO, in Seoul, South Korea; the Vail International Dance Festival; the Sweet Pea Festival; the Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis, Missouri; the Laguna Dance Festival; the Joyce Theater in NYC; and the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in California. They also regularly perform in college, university, and community venues across the United States.

From the beginning BalletX has strived to reach the Sweet Spot. Visit BalletX at and join them on Face Book.