Alumni Spotlight

Spotlight on Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen '15

Tell us a little about your life in choirs…

My first involvement in music came through choirs, and it has always been something I've deeply enjoyed. My parents had me join the Brooklyn Youth Chorus when I was in 7th grade, and it was there that I first learned to read music. Then, I went to high school at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in New York, where I sang in choirs for all 4 years (and had some extraordinary experiences under the head choral conductor, Jana Ballard.) Then, of course, I joined the Glee Club (and later the chamber choir) at Princeton, and experienced years of learning under Gabriel's guidance! 

Who are the greatest influences on you as a musician?

Gabriel Crouch is definitely among my greatest influences - his mentorship and guidance in times of great pressure has been so important to me. 

Beyond Gabriel, I find that I am deeply influenced and inspired by all of the teachers and coaches I've worked with. My favorite thing about pursuing a career as a classical singer is that we are always students, and I am so grateful to the amazing people I get to work with, from whom I learn so much!

Your most memorable concert experience?

With the Glee Club, it was definitely singing the Bach Magnificat at Bach's Church, the Thomaskirche, with the Leipzig Barockorchester. Truly unforgettable!

Beyond Glee Club, it has to be singing to a sold out San Francisco Opera House this summer - I had never before sung in a house that size, and it was frightening, exhilarating, and above all, amazing!

Your favorite music to play and listen to?

My favorite music to sing is Handel. Something about his writing just clicks for me - it feels so right!

As far as listening, I'm always listening to my favorite classical singers - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Janet Baker, David Daniels, along with whoever happens to be the subject of my obsession of the month - right now, I'm listening to a ton of the great Anne Sofie von Otter.

Beyond classical music, I have pretty eclectic tastes - the artists I always return to include Andrew Bird, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, Bon Iver, Crosby Stills Nash Young, among many others...

What are you working on at the moment?

Today, I'm learning a few new Handel arias (including an unknown gem from his opera Imeneo that I'm particularly excited about!), and then I'm also in the process of working on some arias and ensembles (by Handel, Carissimi, Cesti, and others) for upcoming concerts.

Where would I like to be in 10 years’ time?

I'd love to be singing great music with wonderful musicians who are fantastic friends and colleagues. I'm so lucky to have experienced that this summer in San Francisco, and I can only dream of doing so in 10 years!

What do you enjoy doing most?

Outside of music, I love running (running my first marathon - the NYC Marathon - in a few weeks!), cooking, and reading about/discussing politics (even if it has gotten truly horrifying this election cycle...)

What did your time in the Glee Club teach you? Any favorite Glee Club memories?

I learned so much in the Glee Club, especially about stylistic baroque performance and about what it means to be a good musical colleague. My favorite glee club memories are definitely the tours - Paris my freshman year, and Germany and the Czech Republic my junior year. It was amazing to see how our singing as an ensemble changed as we got closer to each other over the course of these trips. We are so lucky to have had these experiences!