Alan Gilbert protégé gets his first orchestra

Alan Gilbert protégé gets his first orchestra


norman lebrecht

January 11, 2018

The Ridgefield Symphony, in Connecticut, has named Yuga Cohler, 28, as their next music director, starting in May.

The youngest ever graduate of Juilliard’s conducting program, Cohler was a special favourite in the class of former New York Phil chief Alan Gilbert.

While Gilbert’s name is fading at the NY Phil, his dedicated mentoring is sprouting shoots.


  • Been Here Before says:

    From the beginning of the biography at his web-page:

    “… he came to national attention with his creation of The Great Music Series, a concert series that explores the elements common to massively popular music and works from the classical canon. The first installation of the series, a comparison of the works of Kanye West and Beethoven entitled Yeethoven…”

    Comparing Kanye West and Beethoven? Has the world gone insane or is it just me?

    Apparently, he is also a summa cum laude Harvard computer science graduate.

    • off the podium music podcast says:

      Well said!

    • RW2013 says:

      Indeed. Hideous beyond belief!

      • Max Grimm says:

        Yuga J. Cohler: What I love about computer science and math is the structural and ordered thinking and the level of organization it demands of you. What I love about music is the exact opposite: You can do whatever you want. I think there are people who take conducting as: The composer wrote this, and you have to remain super faithful to the score and every single detail… but if what I wanted to do was mechanically reproduce stuff, then I would just be a software engineer.”

    • Been Here Before says:

      If you dig deeper into his blog, there is a post in which he argues that the meaninglessness of Ariana Grande’s songs makes it absolute music, exactly like the Beethoven Symphonies (there is also a portrait of AG and big B at the top of it).

      I can’t believe that somebody with reasoning skills like this can even get into Harvard and Juilliard. Or perhaps the fellow is just trying to get the people start talking about him by pretending to be an idiot.

    • herrera says:

      There has always existed a class of musically prodigious people who are gifted enough to master many genres of music but not gifted enough to be a master of any particular genre of music, for whom genres of music are but career opportunities rather than a calling.

      Methinks if Yuga Cohler could trade places with Kanye West, he’d drop classical music like a bad habit.

  • Luciano says:

    Whilst the above obversations may be true (and unfortunate), Mr Cohler is actually a very good conductor.

  • In spite of his father says:

    While a nice kid and perhaps a decent conductor, I wonder if he’ll ever be able to escape the horrible shadow of his father. His father is known as a complete sham, an ego maniac, an abusive teacher and someone who regularly crossed lines with his students [redacted]. I feel sorry for the kid and hope he succeeds in spite of his father.

    • Bruce says:

      Well, we can hope. In the meantime, you have done your part to make sure the shadow of his father continues to follow him. Good work.

  • Anonymous says:

    Haters gonna hate. And all of you are wondering why audiences are not flocking to hear your concerts. When was the last time you sold out Lincoln Center a month and a half in advance?

  • The View from America says:

    Well, if Alan Gilbert likes him … he must be phenomenal.