The French conductor and violinist, Patrick Cohën-Akenine, began learning the violin at the age of 4. He obtained the Premier Prix d'Excellence at the Conservatoire National de Région de Rueil-Malmaison, his home town, and then entered the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, in the postgraduate chamber music cycle, where he dedicated himself with passion to the string quartet. He was lucky enough to work with some of the greatest quartets (Amadeus, Alban Berg, Cleveland, Fine-Arts and Guarneri) and went to Hungary to study with Vilmos Tatraï. His training culminated in a Ministry of Culture prize and a special prize at the Concours d'Evian. In 1989, he also obtained several prizes for violin (Concours des jeunes solistes de Douai, Concours Gérard Poulet in Vichy and a first prize at the Concours d'Epernay).
Patrick Cohën-Akenine was also fascinated by early music, and studied baroque violin with Patrick Bismuth at the C.N.S.M. de Paris, where he obtained a Premier Prix in 1996, and perfected his playing with Enrico Gatti. Since then he has given numerous solo and chamber music concerts in France and in the whole world.
Since then, Patrick Cohën-Akenine has given numerous solo and chamber music concerts in Europe, USA and Canada, as well as at the French May in Hong-Kong and the Sydney Festival. After playing with Les Musiciens du Louvre in particular, he was leader for Les Arts Florissants, Les Talens Lyriques, Il Seminario Musicale, Ricercar Consort, Le Poème Harmonique, La Simphonie du Marais and Capriccio Stravagante. From 1994 to 2002, he has been leader for Le Concert Spirituel, a formation that he occasionally conducted. He took part to all Concert Spirituel recordings on the period, including Sonatas and Cantatas by Clérambault. Still as a leader, he recorded about twenty discs with great French formations and with Les Agrémens orchestra in Belgium.
In 2000, Patrick Cohën-Akenine decided to form Les Folies Françoises to tackle a vast Baroque repertoire with a true chamber music approach. It was natural that he should conduct the ensemble in an orchestral formation, performing respectively Bach’s and Vivaldi’s concertos with Enrico Gatti and Anner Bylsma. Between 2000 and 2004, he conducted about a hundred concerts for Les Folies Françoises.
In December 2003, the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie asked Patrick Cohën-Akenine to give a series of concerts, in an attempt to develop “modern” musicians’ abilities to interpret the Baroque repertoire. In May 2004, he coached the Lebanese National Symphony (Beirut), advising musicians on how to interpret M.A. Charpentier’s Te Deum and Beatus Vir. In July 2004, at William Christie’s invitation, he led the Arts Florissants for the Aix-en-Provence Festival production of George Frideric Handel’s Hercules. The piece was later restaged by the Opéra National de Paris (Garnier) in December. In 2005, Gérard Lesne invited him to conduct Il Seminario Musicale; so did Philippe Herreweghe to play J.S. Bach by his side.
In 1996, Patrick Cohën-Akenine introduced Baroque violin classes to the Conservatoire Charles Munch in Paris; he currently teaches at the Ecole Nationale de Musique