Kip Cohen is an American arts and entertainment executive, concert presenter, record company and management executive, and non-profit administrator.
Cohen was born in Cleveland, Ohio and has lived and worked in San Francisco, Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. He graduated from Shaker Heights High School (Shaker Heights, Ohio), and attended Columbia University, New York, NY (liberal arts, music, composer of Varsity Show, “Dig That Treasure”) and Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (fine arts, drama).
Cohen began his career in theatre at the Cleveland Musicarnival and the Westport Country Playhouse in production capacities. He was the Music Director at The Barter Theatre, Abingdon, VA; Production Stage Manager and then Managing Director at The Peninsula Players, Fish Creek, Wisconsin; Production Stage Manager and then Managing Director at The Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, Florida. Cohen subsequently joined the staff of Broadway producer Arthur Cantor in New York City, serving as Casting Director and Production Associate for productions of “The Committee,” and “The Passion of Josef D.” Later, he cast, produced and supervised national touring productions for producer Zev Bufman, including companies of “Porgy & Bess” and “Marat/Sade.”
Cohen formed Sensefex, Inc. with Carnegie Mellon University colleague Joshua White. The company created lighting effects for fashion, industrial shows and nightclubs. Eventually the creative team became The Joshua Light Show, which accompanied hundreds of musical acts at the Fillmore East and elsewhere.
In 1968, Cohen became Managing Director of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East – the iconic music venue in New York City. When it closed in 1971, he was signed to do weekend live radio as a disc jockey at New York City’s WNEW-FM , the Metromedia progressive rock station.
That led to joining Columbia Records under Clive Davis, as VP of Artists and Repertoire (signing Billy Joel); and later A&M Records (Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss) in Hollywood in the same capacity (signing Styx, Pablo Cruise, The Captain & Tennille, and others).
After a brief sabbatical, Cohen joined the administrative staff of The Mirman School in West Los Angeles, where he was the Director of Development. In 1985, he again joined Bill Graham Presents as the Managing Director of the newly refurbished National Historic Landmark Wiltern Theatre, presenting not only contemporary music, but also seasons with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera and UCLA Center for the Arts, as well as numerous film and television originations and broadcasts.
In 1987 Cohen resumed his relationship with musician/philanthropist Herb Alpert and his wife Lani Hall, managing their music careers and also serving as President of The Herb Alpert Foundation, creating numerous local and national programs supporting the arts (including the CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts).
During this time, Cohen forged a partnership for Alpert with Broadway producer Margo Lion and actively participated in projects both on and off Broadway (including the Pulitzer Prize winning “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner; George C. Wolfe’s “Jelly’s Last Jam;” and Arthur Miller’s “Broken Glass.”
In 1999, Cohen was the co-editor and co-author of “The Force of Curiosity,” a book of interviews with the first four years of recipients of the CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts.
Cohen retired briefly in 2005 but later joined SRO Housing Corp’s Los Angeles offices on Skid Row as Director of Special Markets, where he produced an in-house documentary film titled “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”
RCA/NBC Scholarship (Carnegie Mellon); Ford Foundation Fellowship (The Actors’ Workshop, San Francisco, under Jules Irving and Herb Blau); Grammy Award Record of the Year 1976, “Love Will Keep us Together” (The Captain & Tennille).
In addition to dozens of credits on music albums and CDs, Cohen is interviewed and quoted frequently in publications and books in the music world, particularly in connection with his mentors and colleagues Bill Graham and Herb Alpert.
As Co-Editor and Co-Author:
- “The Force of Curiosity, 1994-1998” (1999, Santa Monica, CA CalArts/Alpert Awards in the Arts)
Fillmore East Contribution Detailed In:
- “Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock And Out (2004, New York, NY, Da Capo Press)
- “Live at the Fillmore East: a photographic memoir” (1999, New York, NY, Thunder Mouth Press)
Cohen is married to the former New York actress Lynn Cohen (then professionally named Lynn Carlysle), who is now the Chair of the English Department at The Oakwood School in North Hollywood, CA. Their daughter Alex Cohen is the co-host of KPCC’s weekday morning show “Take Two” in Los Angeles. Musician son Chris Cohen (formerly of Deerhoof, The Curtains, and Cryptacize) is currently touring on his 11th CD (“Overgrown Path” on Captured Tracks).
Cohen was trained and certified by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India as an instructor of Transcendental Meditation in 1970, and has continued in his daily practice of TM since 1968. He currently gives instruction in TM to selected individuals on a private basis. He remains active working with recovering addicts in local programs of Narcotics Anonymous and works as a Recovery Companion for early-stage recovering addicts and alcoholics at various local treatment centers.
- “Kip Cohen – Broadway Theatre Credits”. Playbill.com. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- “Massaging Senses for the the Message; New Mode of Communicating Uses Jarring Combination of Sights and Sounds Multimedia: Massage for the Message”. The New York Times. 1967-09-16. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- “Excerpts From: Multimedia: Massaging Senses For The Message”. ThisAintTheSummerofLove.blogspot.com. 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- Graham, Bill; Greenfield, Robert (2004). Bill Graham presents : my life inside rock and out (Da Capo Press ed.). New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306813491.
- Gruber, photography by Amalie R. Rothschild ; text by Amalie R. Rothschild with Ruth Ellen (1999). Live at the Fillmore East : a photographic memoir. New York, N.Y.: Thunder’s Mouth Press.ISBN 1560252448.
- “A&M Records Family Album”. A&M Records. 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- Werman, Tom. “The Producers: Tom Werman, Chapter One”. popDose.com. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- Willwerth, Clive Davis with James K. (19uu). Clive: inside the record business, by Clive Davis with James Willwerth.. New York, W. Morrow: William Moeeow. ISBN 0688028721.
- “Wiltern Theatre Emerges as an Unlikely Rock Star”. LA Times. 1987-12-29. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- “The Herb Alpert Foundation Announces the Appointment of Rona Sebastian as Its New President”. PR Newswire. 2004-06-30. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- Cohen, Kip (1999). A Force of Curiosity. Santa Monica, CA: CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts. pp. 558.
- “Alex Cohen, Richard Dean”. The New York Times. 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- Kip Cohen at Internet Broadway Database
- Kip Cohen at LinkedIn
- “AT THE STUDIO WITH: Herb Alpert; Tijuana Brass, Right? Don’t Ask”, Donna Perlmutter, The New York Times, May 11, 2005
- Kip Cohen on Janis Joplin’s death, October 5, 1970, NBC Archives
- Kip Cohen collected news articles at The New York Times