Sunderland, United Kingdom
|Died||December 2012 (aged 96)
Leeds, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Violin tutor, author, violinist|
|Known for||Music education, The Eta Cohen Violin Method|
|Spouse(s)||Ephraim Smith (m. 1945–1989)|
|Children||Maureen (b.1946), Hazel (b.1950)|
Eta Cohen (1916 - 20 November, 2012) was a professional English author and violinist.
Cohen was born in Sunderland, to Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. She left school at age 16 and began to teach music in local private schools in Sunderland and Newcastle. At the age of 17 she was asked to teach for the local education authority, leading her to look for a violin method book series to base her teaching on. After failing to find a satisfactory book she decided to begin writing out the lesson she taught to her students. These lessons would eventually become the foundation of her own violin method series.
In 1945, she married Ephraim Smith, a businessman in the cloth industry, whose parents were also Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. Cohen had two daughters, Maureen and Hazel, born in Leeds. She was close to Max Rostal and Carl Flesch in her music career. She died at the age of 96, survived by her daughters, two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter.
Following such early success as a tutor she went in search of a good violin method and, after finding no adequete tutor books available, decided to begin writing out each of her lessons herself for pupils in 1933. These lessons eventually became the foundation for her own series of violin method books.
Cohen's first book, Miss Cohen’s tutorial for beginners, was published by Paxtons in 1940, and a second, The Eta Cohen Violin Method, in 1941. One of the world's best-selling series of instrument tutor books, the sixth edition of The Eta Cohen Violin Method was published in 2012 by Novello & Co.
Her method was based around the idea of teaching the violin incrementally, covering one new idea at a time. Breaking down difficult technical tasks and reconstructing them in easy stages continues to be a hallmark of the method book series. One of Cohen's most notable students, James Murphy, is quoted as describing her as “the Delia Smith of violin methods”, such is the comprehensive yet accessible nature of her teaching methods.
As a performing violinist, she was a prominent member of the Leeds musical community. Her pupils frequently gave concerts and a large number of them have enjoyed successful musical careers. Her list of notable students includes London Sinfonietta manager Michael Vyner, James Murphy, director of the Southbank Sinfonia, violinist and El Sistema adviser Marshall Marcus, Munich Philharmonic concertmaster Julian Shevlin, Hallé concertmaster Lyn Fletcher, Principal Viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra Vicci Wardman, and composer Philip Wilby.
- "A biography of Eta Cohen". The Musicroom blog. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "Eta Cohen obitury". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Eta’s violin books still used today". The Jewish Telegraph. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
- "Eta Cohen: Best-selling violin tutor dies aged 96". The Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Renowned pedagogue Eta Cohen dies". Cyprus News. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "Violin pedagogue Eta Cohen dies". The Strad. Retrieved 13 December 2012.