Tom Cohen, 25, who critic Noam Ben Ze'ev called "a virtuosic artist" and "a hypnotizing soloist," began playing the mandolin at the Be'er Sheva municipal conservatory, in the class of Mr. Lev Haimovitz. He completed his military service as an "outstanding musician."

Tom is a graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance where he studied with violinist Prof. Motti Schmitt and specialized in conducting with Mr. Yevgeni Tzirlin. He was the first and only mandolin player ever invited to participate in the Keshet Ayalon master course, which is intended only for violinists.

He has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras, including the Cyprus State Orchestra, the Cottbus (Germany) Opera House orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra-IBA, the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra, the Sinfonietta Be'er Sheva, the Raanana Symphonette and the Israel Stage Orchestra, Holon. He is a member of the Israeli Mandolin Quartet, which won the first prize in the international Plectro Rioja competition held in Spain during the summer of 2003.

In 2004, composer Oded Zehavi was commissioned to write the Arabesque for Solo Mandolin for him and in 2006, composer Ittai Rosenbaum wrote Duet for Tom and Piano. He is the administrative director and soloist of the Emil Aybinder Ensemble, conducted by maestro Emil Aybinder, that specializes in Gypsy and Balkan music and which won the Minister of Science, Culture and Sport's Prize in 2003.

Tom conducts, arranges and plays the Mandolin with the Israel Andalus Orchestra and is head conductor of the Israel Andalus Youth Orchestra

Tom has performed abroad frequently and made many recordings for radio and television. He received scholarships from the Sharet Foundation, Ronen Foundation and Sereni Foundation. The mandolin that Tom plays was built especially for him by Israeli artist Arik Kerman and new instrument is currently being built for, and inspired by him, by internationally-known luthier Boaz Elkayam.

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Tom Cohen