Ady Cohen

Associate Professor

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Ady Cohen is an award-winning film composer who also composes music for the stage, TV, and the concert hall. Coming from a family of musicians, most of them with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, he was naturally drawn into the music world and became a protégé of the late Maestro Leonard Bernstein at an early age. He has composed over 50 film scores and written the music for hundreds of TV films and series, commercials, jingles, theater plays, and dance performances. His concert music has been performed around the world in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

As a composer who specializes in dramatic music, Cohen’s unique ability to compose in different musical idioms, combined with his sensitivity to atmosphere and nuance, has led him to work in diverse genres including drama, comedy, action, suspense, thriller, children, teens, narrative as well as experimental films, and animation. His passion for animation and mastery of this genre has moved audiences worldwide, as is proven by the millions of YouTube views of his work.

Throughout his long career, Cohen has mastered all aspects of music production from composing, arranging, and orchestrating to playing various instruments, score preparation, copying, MIDI mock-up preparations, conducting, recording, editing, and mixing, as well as using contemporary DAWs and electronic instruments. He collaborates with musicians from different countries and cultures, with symphony orchestras and choirs, and with pop, jazz, rock, folk, and ethnic players.

Career Highlights
  • Collaborated with and composed music for Zbigniew Rybczyński, Gil Alkabetz, Albert Hanan Kaminski, Eytan Fox, Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal, and Dana International; regular collaborator with his father, famed actor and stage director Albert Cohen, and his wife, renowned mezzo-soprano Bavat Marom
  • Composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, performer, music editor, and recording and mixing engineer for The Legend of King Solomon (2017), The Imaginary Invalid (2012), Wollmond (2009), Caspion (2004; winner of the ACUM Award for Best Music Score for an Audio-Visual Production for Children), Dangerous Acts (1998; winner of seven Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Music), The Land of Rape and Honey (1996), and Passover Fever (1995; Best Screenplay Award at the World Film Festival, Montreal)
  • Studied classical guitar with Joseph Urshalmi and Menashe Baquiche; music theory with Zvi Zory at the Givatayim Conservatory of Music; trumpet with Ilan Eshed (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra); and voice with Rema Samsonov
  • Served in the Israeli Defense Forces Orchestra as trumpeter, guitarist, arranger, and lead singer
  • Personally assisted Academy Award winning director Zbigniew Rybczyński as part of his revolutionary "Zbig Vision" studio and production company team in New York in films, music videos, and commercials productions
  • Musically produced songs for Italian singer-songwriter Gabriel Zagni, produced by Lucio Dalla
  • Musically assisted TV director Humphrey Burton on the film Leonard Bernstein in Salzau
  • Nominations include 2013 Israeli Theater Award for Best Music for The Imaginary Invalid, 2000 Haifa International Children's Theater Festival Outstanding Musician Award for New Friend Shmulik, 1995 Israeli Academy of Motion Pictures and Television Award (the Ophir Award) for Best Music for Passover Fever, and 1991 Israeli Academy of Motion Pictures and Television Award (the Ophir Award) for Best Music for Skipper 3

Recipient of multiple awards including the following:

  • Winner of the 1998 Israeli Academy of Motion Pictures and Television Award (the Ophir Award) for Best Music for Dangerous Acts
  • Winner of the 2012 Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers of Music in Israel (ACUM) Award for Best Music Score for an Audio-Visual Production for Children for Caspion
  • Winner of the 2005 Park City Film Music Festival's Gold Medal Award for Excellence for Dogwoman and Magicman and The Sisters O'Malley
  • Winner of the 2000 International Competition for Film and Documentary of the Mediterranean Prize for Best Original Music for Shabbat
  • Recipient of the 2012 Cinema South Film Festival Honorable Mention–Music for Strings
  • Winner of the 2001 Haifa International Children's Theater Festival Outstanding Musician Award for Stumble on To
  • Winner of the 1999 Haifa International Children's Theater Festival Outstanding Musician Award for How to Prepare a Boy
  • Winner of the 1994 Sam Spiegel Film and Television School Outstanding Composer Award for The Price Is Right and Marilyn
  • Winner of the 1986–1987 Tel Aviv University School of Film and Television Award of Appreciation for Music for Grandpapa's Last Magic and Holes in the Hands
  • Recipient of the 1994 Israeli Film Institute Honorable Mention–Music for The Price Is Right
  • Recipient of the 1992 Israeli Film Institute Honorable Mention–Music for Rear Bench
  • Recipient of scholarships and grants including a personal scholarship from Maestro Leonard Bernstein for undergraduate studies at New York University, a special film composer grant and a classical guitar scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, the 2017 Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility Teaching Grant and Certificate, and the 1980 Excellence Award from the Givatayim Conservatory of Music
  • School Name
    New York University
    State or Province
    New York
    Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
    Field of Study
    Date Degree Received
In Their Own Words

"My patron and mentor, the late Maestro Leonard Bernstein, once said, 'If you ask yourself, should I be a composer? the answer can only be no.' You don't choose this profession; it chooses you. I want to help my students to get to the point where they will be able to achieve such a realization."

"We artists must use our influence to fill our world with art and music, and make it a gentler, more cured place, where people would use their ears, eyes, minds, and hearts to overcome their differences and conflicts."

"Music is a natural thing, an authentic creation; it is like water or light. We, the composers, the musicians, are the messengers who have the talent/power/abilities/magic (or whatever you wish to call it) to translate this abstract, natural essence into something concrete, tangible, which anyone could listen to and enjoy on different levels. That’s why we, the musicians, need to be able to connect with the intangible, with the yet unknown, with the mysterious embryo, and bring it to life, give it life, make it breathe, walk, move, and talk in a language others can perceive."

"Music can never be created according to an instruction manual; it can only be created by our ability to connect with that which makes us not technocrats, but social and spiritual beings. We should learn and master the rules of communication, as laid before us by previous generations and cultures, theory of music and history of music. But this is only a part of what we must do. The essential part—finding our real, true, authentic inspiration—is what I will try to open my students’ minds and hearts to."

"In my work as a composer, I have seen how technology has been redefining the entire field of music production. We must acknowledge this development by striking a new balance between technology as a tool and the human touch."

"The issue of copyright is no less important to us as creators of new content. I believe that it's crucial to keep the torch of originality burning and to encourage it by stressing the idea that there will never be a shortage of ideas. It's up to us to be able to find and realize them."