At 23, jazz pianist Emmet Cohen, a finalist in the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition, plays with the maturity and confidence of a seasoned veteran. With astonishing technique and an innovative harmonic palate, Emmet engenders a deep musical bond with his audience. Cohen has shared the bandstand with a plethora of musical luminaries, including Benny Golson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dave Holland, Larry Correyl, Jimmy Heath, Patti Austin, Maceo Parker, Carmen Bradford, Billy Hart, and many others. He completed a music degree at the University of Miami where he studied with Brian Lynch, Terence Blanchard, Shelly Berg, and Martin Bejerano. Emmet regularly appears as a sideman and leader on both piano and Hammond B3 Organ in New York.
Emmet has been playing piano since he started Suzuki lessons in his native Miami at age 3. He continued studying classical music at a youth keyboard program at the University of Miami, and upon moving to Montclair, NJ at age 10, was accepted into the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, where he majored for seven years in classical piano in the studio of Dr. Peter Vinograde. His interest in jazz gradually intensified over these years, and he was fortunate to be exposed to and mentored by some of the great jazz musicians in the New York metropolitan area such as Bruce Williams, Cecil Brooks III, Dave Stryker, Billy Hart, and Jeremy Manasia.
Since then he has played and performed at some of the top jazz clubs and festivals around the world, including the Monterey Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Bern (Switzerland) Jazz Festival, and River to River Festival (NYC). He has participated in conventions such as Jazz in July and performed at such famed performance spaces as the Kennedy Center, and the “Monk at 92″ Piano Summit at the World Financial Center.
2008 was a rewarding year for Emmet. He won a Downbeat Award as an Outstanding Jazz Soloist, and was later chosen to be the pianist to play in the 2008 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Combo, the 2008 Jazz Band of America (part of the Music for All National Festival), and the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2008 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. Finally, he was selected to be a recipient of the 2009 NFAA Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship, honored with a silver award.
In 2011, Emmet came in first place in the Kathleen T. and Philip B. Phillip’s Piano Competition at the University of West Florida, and also won the audience favorite award. Emmet was also selected as one of five finalists for the prestigious 2011 American Pianist’s Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship which took place in Indianapolis, May, 2011. In June, he received a write-up in Downbeat Magazine for winning Downbeat Student Music awards in the categories, “Best Jazz Soloist” and “Best Jazz Combo” (for the Emmet Cohen Trio).
In September of 2011 Emmet won third prize in the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. Backed by Carl Allen and Rodney Whitaker, he performed a set at the Kennedy Center in front of 2,000 people.
Emmet' debut album, “In the Element” featuring Joe Sanders and Rodney Green, received many positive reviews and high acclaim.