Just in: Cleveland’s longest-serving clarinet steps downmain
Franklin Cohen has called it quits after 38 seasons. Press release below.
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Orchestra today announced that Franklin Cohen, Principal Clarinet since 1976, will retire from the ensemble in the summer of 2015. After 39 seasons, Mr. Cohen will have had the longest tenure of any solo clarinetist in the orchestra’s history. The title of Principal Clarinet Emeritus will be bestowed on Mr. Cohen next summer upon retiring. He will be the first Cleveland Orchestra musician officially recognized with this honor.
Mr. Cohen joined The Cleveland Orchestra at the invitation of Music Director Lorin Maazel. In 1968, he gained international recognition as the first clarinetist to win the First Prize at the prestigious Munich International Music Competition.
Mr. Cohen is one of the few musicians of his time to combine a world class solo, chamber, and orchestral career. He is widely considered among the great musicians of his generation. Acclaimed for the strength, passion and beauty of his playing, he is one of the most frequent concerto soloists in the history of The Cleveland Orchestra, appearing as soloist at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, Carnegie Hall, and on tours throughout the United States, Asia and Europe to critical acclaim.
Over the span of Mr. Cohen’s career, he has been heard in many thousands of concerts and broadcasts. His commercial recording credits won a Grammy Award and much critical acclaim. His unique, expressive sound and musicianship have brought a distinctive voice to The Cleveland Orchestra for many years. He has earned glowing praise for his poignant musicality and technical mastery. Mr. Cohen has performed with many of the great string quartets of the 20th Century.
He has taught and performed at virtually all the major American music festivals and has served as Department Head at the Cleveland Institute of Music for 39 years.