Boston’s H+H taps Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen has been named the next artistic director of the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston.

Cohen, who will begin his Boston tenure next season, is a 44-year-old British cellist, harpsichordist and conductor. He also directs the Canadian ensemble Les Violons du Roy and Britain’s Arcangelo, and is an artistic partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The Handel & Haydn Society, an orchestra and chorus that nowadays goes by the nickname H+H, is this country’s oldest permanent musical ensemble; it gave its first performance on Christmas Day in 1815. It presented the US premieres of Handel’s “Messiah” in 1818, Haydn’s “The Creation” in 1819 and Verdi’s Requiem in 1878.

Since the 1960s, H+H has been a leading exponent of historically informed performance in the US.

Cohen, who will be the ensemble’s 15th artistic director, continues a 36-year run of British conductors on its podium, following Harry Christophers (2009-22), Grant Llewellyn (2001-06) and Christopher Hogwood (1986-2001).