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"I often feel that the reason people don't go to classical music concerts and don't like it is because they're either afraid or they don't understand it. I think if you're given a little guidance you can get past that and get into it and know where it's coming from. It's great stuff!" Cohen says with an excited laugh.
Cohen adopts his context and content theory to all of Musica Nova's performances. In a recent Fine Arts String Orchestra performance, he set up and conducted the musicians as he would have done 250 years ago.
"I played and conducted a Mozart piano concerto from the keyboard, which is the way Mozart would have done it instead of having a conductor," he says. "The stage was set up differently, with the musicians facing me -- not the traditional setup, but it would have been in an 18th-century concert."
Cohen founded Musica Nova to provide the northern part of the Valley with its own symphony orchestra, as well as to implement his linked ensemble formula. The Youth Orchestra Scottsdale and the Fine Arts String Orchestra will perform with the all-professional Musica Nova Orchestra once a year, at the culmination of the season, giving young and amateur musicians a chance to perform in a professional environment. The Youth and String orchestras also operate as feeder groups for Musica Nova and other professional music groups.
"My intent with Musica Nova is to reach out, and get people in there who don't know this stuff," Cohen explains.
Stirring local interest in compositions that Hitler himself tried to erase from an entire continent, it appears Cohen's mission is being accomplished.