Born in Dublin to Irish and German parents, Cora was first given a violin at the age of three. She immediately showed a natural aptitude and love for the instrument. A life in music became her goal and, from the age of thirteen, she studied classical violin intensively with highly respected violinists around Europe, including Rimma Sushanskaya, Joji Hattori, Alexander Arenkov, Arkady Futer, Lara Lev and Vladimir Spivakov.
Aged sixteen, she became the youngest ever winner of the RTE Musician of the Future competition, and The Irish Times chose her to front their TV ad campaign representing the new face of Ireland. Broadcaster Gay Byrne described her as “one of the most extraordinary talents [Ireland] has ever produced”, critic Michael Dervan as “astonishingly talented”, and the readers of Irish music magazine Hot Press voted her one of Ireland’s top ten musicians in 2006. By the time she was twenty, her playing had been broadcast worldwide on radio and TV, she was a laureate of the Sarasate International Violin Competition (to which she returned as a jury member in 2007), and had racked up solo performances in Germany, the UK, Russia, USA, Spain, France and all of Ireland’s major concert venues.
In 2002, Cora Venus was a guest musician on Sinead O’Connor’s album of traditional Irish songs, “Sean Nos Nua,” her first excursion into the truly “non-classical” world, and her first encounter with the viola. After a few months in Vienna among the classical establishment, Cora realised that she needed farther-reaching sources to continue her quest to become as complete a musician as possible. “I wanted to play with anyone and everyone and absorb new things in new ways. I wanted to struggle and have to learn to adapt, musically.” Her dedication to classical music and the continued nurturing of her violinistic skills as strong as ever, she began to branch out by joining experimental electro-folk group Fovea Hex.
For the next few years Cora appeared on over 30 albums of recorded music and in innumerable gigs in bars, theatres, arenae, tents, fields; sang her own songs and learned to use looping pedals, and worked with, to mention just a few, Damien Rice, The Republic of Loose, Kanye West, The Jimmy Cake, Camille O’Sullivan, Julie Feeney. She added the viola to her musical arsenal and became a member of Ensemble ICC, who specialise in new music by Irish composers.
Cora officially joined the eclectic Balkan-jazz group Yurodny in 2008, after a few guest performances in which she subbed for Oleg Ponomarev and / or Kate Ellis. “It was the first time I’d really sweated on stage in years!” she says of her first performances with the group. Yurodny remains one of her main foci. “It’s a privilege to work so closely with some of the finest musicians I have ever known, in a group that has an extraordinary alchemy of cohesiveness and draws from enormously diverse influences.”
In 2009 Cora was classical soloist in the Dublin Philharmonic’s 48-city US tour, performing Inishlacken, Bill Whelan’s concerto for violin & fiddle, and her 2010 performances of Inishlacken, Sarasate’s “Carmen” Fantasy and Chausson’s Poeme with the Dublin Philharmonic in Beijing were broadcast to 200 million listeners. 2010, seven years after she first toured Asia with Nigel Kennedy playing Vivaldi double concertos, brought more performances with Kennedy, including Bach’s Concerto for two violins, the music of Jimi Hendrix, and live performances of the NKQ’s latest record “Shhhh”, in which Cora appeared as guest vocalist in Nick Drake’s River Man.
Her EP 1943, a self-produced collection of arrangements and originals played on violin & viola, was released in 2011 on the boutique Rue Faubourg Music label, and in 2014, she released a new album titled Terminus (Conscientae) an improvised response to Bartók’s sonata for solo violin. The album was recorded as part of Diatribe Records musical project Solo Series Phase II – intended as a wide-lens portrait of Ireland’s new musical terrain.