The Cohen Variations

The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.

-Leonard Cohen

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein describes The Cohen Variations, written in 2009 by New York composer Daniel Felsenfeld, as a nocturne- music which evokes the atmosphere of the night and suggests the wildly adventurous harmonies of Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes. (For a particularly magical example, listen to the Nocturne in D-flat Major, Op. 27).

The Cohen Variations are based on Leonard Cohen’s song, Suzanne. The Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist passed away last week at the age of 82. The hauntingly hypnotic ballad was first heard on Judy Collins’ 1966 album, In My Life:

Leonard Cohen’s songs grew out of his poetry. Simone Dinnerstein believes that the inner voices in Felsenfeld’s The Cohen Variations suggest “a feeling of words.” Additionally, listen to the way this new piece pays homage to the atmosphere and circular quality of the original song. The Cohen Variations were included on Dinnerstein’s 2013 album, Night:


  • In My Life, Judy Collins iTunes
  • Night, Simone Dinnerstein, Tift Merritt iTunes

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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