“When I was eleven years old I got into music because I wanted to play with my friends. The reason I’m a musician today isn’t because I felt some higher calling to be one, but because playing music with friends was and still the greatest source of joy and satisfaction for me. To this day the driving force behind my music is closeness and connection to others, my contemporaries, my collaborators and my audiences.”
“Israeli composer/bassist/improviser Haggai Cohen-Milo revealed over a set of ridiculously infectious music that he’s in the soul restoration business.”
Graham Pilswarth, The Coast
Haggai Cohen-Milo is a virtuoso of the bass and a pioneer of interdisciplinary improvisation and performance. Undercurrents of folkloric traditions, pervasive and poignant melodies and eclectic rhythms are characteristic to his distinctive style both in his playing and in his compositions.
Haggai draws inspiration from everywhere. His contemporaries within the music world, as well as other art genres, are his greatest source of influence along side the natural world and the animal kingdom. There is beauty in other artistic disciplines that inform and inspire his own work. He advocates collaboration as a way to amplify the best in individuals, especially interdisciplinary partnerships. The right collaborative relationship serves to bring out one’s best work and elevates the final piece or project to a level that wouldn’t be attainable for a single individual. His work developing, teaching, and practicing his MakeSpeak method, a structured approach to interdisciplinary improvisation, aims to make interdisciplinary collaborations more deliberate and aware. As Musical Director and Composer on the piece, Jephta’s Daughter, produced by The State Opera House of Munich premiering July 2015, Haggai is applying the MakeSpeak method as a foundational skill-base for the performances.
In his music you can hear his Middle-Eastern roots and attraction to traditional folkloric genres. Originally from Israel, Haggai moved to the US at an early age to attend the New England Conservatory in Boston and further his musical prowess. Haggai’s playing has captivated audiences in many countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and Asia. He performs extensively both nationally and internationally. He has recorded as a leader, a sideman and a co-leader on over twenty albums working closely with his collaborators, namely the Omer Klein trio, Banda Magda, Bustan Avraham and many others.
Haggai’s compositional work beyond the jazz/world music genres include orchestral scores for two feature films and scores for a variety of ensembles for new dance works, commissions include the Munich Opera (Saar Magal), San Jose Dance Co. (Kara Davis) and more.