A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Courtney Secoy Cohen has been Principal Librarian with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra since the summer of 2011. Prior to her current position, Ms. Cohen served as Assistant Librarian with the SDSO, Assistant Librarian with the Kansas City Symphony and Assistant Librarian with the Florida West Coast Symphony (now the Sarasota Orchestra). She began her music library career working part-time as needed in the Boston Symphony Orchestra library and the Tanglewood Music Center library. During this time, she also became the first performance librarian for the Boston Conservatory.
An active member of the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association, Ms. Cohen serves as the Pops Resource Database Manager, as a member of the Marcato committee and as a member of the Errata committee. She served as a panelist at the 2010 MOLA conference and recently contributed an article for the upcoming book, The Music Performance Library: Essays from the Professionals, edited by Russ Girsberger and Laurie Lake.
Ms. Cohen is a graduate of Louisiana State University in oboe performance, where she studied with Linda Strommen, and the New England Conservatory of Music in oboe performance, where she studied with Laura Ahlbeck and John Ferrillo. She has performed with many orchestras, including the Kansas City Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Sarasota Opera and the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, among others. Ms. Cohen has also participated as an oboist in several music festivals, including the Tanglewood Music Center, the National Orchestral Institute and the Chautauqua Institution, to name a few.
In her spare time, Courtney Cohen enjoys playing the oboe, English horn and bagpipes, as well as cooking, reading and volunteering in the community with the Junior League. She also enjoys spending time at home with her husband, Principal Percussionist Gregory Cohen, and studying World War II history.
GETTING TO KNOW COURTNEY COHEN…
Q: What are three of your favorite tunes or pieces in your iPod or mp3 or CD collection?
A: I enjoy a wide variety of music, so it's hard to pick three favorite tunes. I really enjoy listening to Harry Connick, Jr., so I listen to his music frequently, especially songs from his albums We Are In Love, Come By Me and Blue Light, Red Light. Also, being the LSU fan that I am, I have to admit I have a soft spot in my heart every time I hear the LSU Fight Song. (And yes, I do have it in my CD collection.)
Q: How did you become interested in the orchestral library field?
A: When I was a graduate student at the New England Conservatory of Music, one of my work study jobs was in the music performance library there. I was trained and gained experience working with the librarian there; with his urging, I began working part-time with the Boston Symphony Orchestra library as needed. I really enjoyed the day-to-day variety of work in this profession, and I knew this was the career for me.
Q: In your spare time, do you also play an instrument?
A: Yes, I play the oboe and English horn. (I also play the bagpipes, much to the chagrin of my husband.)
Q: What are three of your favorite movies?
A: I really enjoy watching classic movies, so three of my favorite movies are An Affair to Remember (1957), The Egg and I (1947) and Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942).
Q: What are your favorite travel destinations?
A: I love traveling anywhere, but my favorite places would have to be Ireland and Scotland. The beauty of the landscape is breathtaking, and the kindness of the people warms your heart.
Q: Can you name some favorite composers and/or musical periods?
A: I love anything composed by Brahms or Shostakovich. I also treasure the times when I get to play or listen to works by J.S. Bach.
Q: What good book have you read most recently?
A: I really enjoyed Laura Hillenbrand's book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption. I also recently finished the biography Agent Zigzag by Ben MacIntyre (about a notorious WWII double agent) that was truly intriguing.
Q: What do you love most about San Diego (other than the weather)?
A: I love the fact that most people you meet are not San Diego natives. It provides for a very diverse city with many interesting people.
Q: What are some of your favorite San Diego restaurants?
A: Some of my favorite restaurants in San Diego are The Loving Hut, Amarin and Bleu Bohème.
Q: Where might you be found on a Saturday night if the Orchestra is not performing?
A: I would either be at home cooking a meal with my husband, volunteering out in the community, attending a fundraising event with the Junior League of San Diego or spending time with my friends.
Q: The non-musical accomplishment you are most proud of is…?
A: My non-musical accomplishment that I am most proud of is marrying my husband, Gregory Cohen, who is the principal percussionist with the orchestra.
Q: What is your favorite San Diego Symphony Orchestra memory?
A: I have so many great SDSO memories, but my favorite so far would be watching my husband dance through the orchestra playing a frame drum, at the request of conductor/composer Tan Dun, during the Summer Pops 2011 performance of the Martial Arts Trilogy.