Brad Cohen left Sydney for the UK in 1982, on a music scholarship to the King's School Canterbury. His early years were spent as an organist in Sydney, first at the Garrison Church from the age of 15, then as Organ Scholar at St Andrew's Cathedral.
As an organist - in Sydney, Canterbury and then Oxford - conducting became part of Brad's life. As he explains,
"My evolution towards conducting happened very organically. First I was a boy chorister, then when my voice broke I switched to organ. This led to choral conducting, when my interest in the orchestral repertoire was kindled, and while at Oxford I began to conduct orchestras. This led to post-graduate conducting scholarships, first in Munich (where I studied with Celibidache and Bernstein), then at the Royal College of Music as Opera Conducting Scholar, and finally at the Royal Northern College of Music as a Junior Fellow. The year after leaving music college I was fortunate enough to be employed by Opera North, and then to win the 1994 Leeds Conductor's Competition. This kickstarted my professional conducting career."
Brad's career since 1994 has been distinguished both by its range and its diversity. In 1995 he conducted the premiere of Thomas Adès' Powder her Face, and has conducted at English National Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Australia, and many opera houses around the world, as well as leading orchestras including the London Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Het Gelders Orkest, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
In addition to the mainstream classical and bel canto repertoire, Brad has toured the works of Frank Zappa with the Composer's Ensemble, made opera for TV with his friend and colleague Jonathan Dove, appeared as a conducting mentor on the BBC TV series Maestro!, made numerous recordings, and complemented his conducting work with the creation of opera editions including Les Pêcheurs de perles and Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Between 2015 and the end of 2018, Brad was Artistic Director of West Australian Opera, where he conducted many operas including The Riders, La bohème and Don Giovanni.