Tamsin Waley=Cohen



Described by the Guardian as a performer of "fearless intensity", young British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen is one of the ECHO Rising Stars of the 2016/17 season.

The only British artist selected for the prestigious programme of the European Concert Halls Organisation, she will embark on a major tour to Europe’s foremost concert halls, including Musikverein in Vienna, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Barbican in London and Philharmonie in Cologne. The tour will begin with her return to Birmingham Symphony Hall – the venue that nominated her for the programme. Her recital programme will include a new work by Oliver Knussen, written for Tamsin Waley-Cohen and commissioned by the ECHO Rising Stars programme.

One of the Wigmore Hall’s “Emerging Artists” of the 2015/2016 season, she has already performed with major UK orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and this season will see her debut with the Hallé Orchestra, with whom she will perform the Tchaikovsky concerto with Stephen Bell. She will also make her debut with the with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

Internationally, she has performed with the Budapest Philharmonic, Graz Kammerphilharmonie and Chapelle Musicale de Tournai, and was Associate Artist with the Orchestra of the Swan throughout the 2015/16 season.

Tamsin Waley-Cohen is a recording artist for Signum Records. Her most recent release is a recording of American violin concertos by John Adams and Roy Harris, for which she has collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton. Her most recent solo disc ‘SOLI’, explores post-1944 solo repertoire. Tamsin collaborates closely with composer-pianist Huw Watkins, and together with him, she has released discs with works for violin and piano by Hahn and Szymanowski, a disc with works written in the year 1917 and an French-American recital including works by Gershwin, Poulenc, Ives and Ravel.

With her insatiable artistic curiosity, Tamsin Waley-Cohen’s activities span a wide range and include the Artistic Directorship for the Sunday Series at London’s Tricycle Theatre, as well as the Honeymead Festival on Exmoor. She has a strong interest in contemporary music, which has led to strong relationships with composers including Dobrinka Tabakova, Huw Watkins, Torsten Rasch, Joseph Phibbs, and Richard Causton. Together with her sister, the composer Freya Waley-Cohen, and the architects Finbarr O’Dempsey and Andrew Skulina, she is involved in a project called Permutations, exploring the relationship between sound and space. Permutations was unveiled in June as part of Aldeburgh Music’s Open Space artist residency programme and will be recorded for future release on Signum Classics. Other projects this season include a four concert residency at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge.

Tamsin Waley-Cohen was born in London in 1986. She became a Foundation Scholar, studying with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music where she won all available awards, including – twice – the concerto competition, and was their String Player of the Year in 2005. Numerous competition successes include winning the 2005 Royal Overseas League String Prize and the 2007 J&A Beare Bach competition.

Tamsin plays the 1721 ex-Fenyves Stradivarius violin.  



“Oliver Knussen’s eight-minute Reflection (2016), for violin and piano, had its London premiere from Tamsin Waley-Cohen and James Baillieu, superb players both. With its stylistic assurance and fresh-sounding impressionism ... it seemed a piece long present in the canon.”

Paul Driver, The Sunday Times - Mar 2017


“One of this year’s [Rising Stars] artists is the terrific British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen …  In a programme that included a febrile and rhapsodic account of Poulenc’s Violin Sonata, Waley-Cohen gave the London premiere of Oliver Knussen’s Reflection ... this beautifully crafted eight-minute work is made of tiny aural brushstrokes suggesting water: ripples mirroring each other and bursting out in expression and ecstatic high lines.”

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer - Feb 2017


“During the orchestral introduction, the soloist visibly entered into the soundworld, and this was echoed in the later orchestra-only sections, when her body language showed she was living the music with them. In every sense of the word, there was harmony between all players, a great feeling of supporting each other. The whole concerto was a triumph, but special mention goes to her pin-drop cadenza in the first movement, with eloquent silences and an exciting sense of anticipation. Affectionate applause was followed by Waley-Cohen's exquisite encore in the shape of J.S. Bach's Sarabande”

David Mellor, Bachtrack


“Tamsin Waley-Cohen held us rapt with daring and undaunted performances”

Hilary Finch, The Times


“Waley-Cohen had shown what a fine player she was, projecting George Benjamin’s Three Miniatures, Richard Causton’s new Fantasia and Air and Fernyhough’s daunting Intermedio alla Ciaconna with fearless intensity”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian