“During the Brahms Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op.115 time could do nothing but wisely stand still.  This was one of those dreamy, impassioned and achingly beautiful performances that you imagine, but rarely experience.  The main reason, but not the only, was the playing of principal clarinetist Franklin Cohen, one of the most cultivated proponents  of the instrument walking (or sitting on ) the earth. 

Cohen filled every phrase with subtle meaning, lingering slightly to express a poetic point and traversing the range of the clarinet with a liquid sense of line.  There were amazing feats of control throughout, but never to bring attention to the ability.  Cohen heightened Brahms’ ideas through understatement and purposeful intensity.





Weber Concerto November, 2001

 In a night filled with breathtaking artistry, Franklin Cohen’s playing of the solo part in the Weber concerto soared on high.  The concerto is a mini-opera of sorts , with the clarinet as protagonist who explores myriad expressive corners and travels from the depths of the instrument to the stratosphere.

Cohen, the orchestra’s principal clarinetist, avoided the temptation to resort to empty histrionics. He gave full voice to the concerto’s lyrical flights while also sailing dazzlingly through the florid material.  In the slow movement, he was the Callas of clarinetists, spinning mesmerizing lines amid flashes of temperament.  Music-making of such urgency, beauty and virtuosity is uncommon on any instrument.”





“Cohen’s playing of the Weber concerto was, quite simply, a smash hit. The clarinetist graced the piece with his customary interpretive flair, suppleness of tone and typical virtuosity.”





“Franklin Cohen’s mastery of his instrument is complete and inspirational. He evokes a pure sound with magnificent freedom and expression. The spontaneous standing ovation and the multiple curtain calls were evidence of the music’s universal appeal …bravo!”





“The nights delightful dream was principal clarinetist Franklin Cohen’s performance of Aaron Copland’s clarinet Concerto. He brought every moment to life and played the opening phrases with liquid beauty as he transformed the wide leaping technical fields and jazzy riffs into joyful exploits.”





“The real event of the evening was the playing of the young American clarinetist Franklin Cohen. It was an extraordinary experience for the listener in the Tonhalle to hear him modulating his round, full tone throughout all the registers.”

“…One cannot play this most intimate of all Concerto’s technically better, musically more convincing or with more heartfelt expression…”     





“Franklin Cohen thrills the audience with his brilliant playing. Whoever heard him will never forget his name and whoever was not there does not know how the clarinet in the hands of a great artist can sound.”





 “The  Mozart Concerto was a polished gem, elegantly phrased and shaped. Cohen’s mastery of his instrument, well known to Sarasota Music Festival fans, was a paragon of flawless intonation, nuanced roulades and seamless treble to bass transitions.”





Debussy First Rhapsody, Carnegie Hall, Cleveland Orchestra-

“… Franklin Cohen’s dreamy, liquid-toned performance of Debussy’s First Rhapsody for clarinet and orchestra was extraordinary.”





“Cohen molded the poetic phrases with seamless beauty, demonstrating marvels of breath control and leaping about is if catapulted through the air. He tossed off the virtuostic noodlings with utmost grace and charisma. It was a terrific performance! ”





Weber Concerto-

“Cohen, one of the orchestras brightest stars, transformed his instrument into an expressive voice that matched everything a prima donna can do-except pronounce words. He produced beautiful tone that was seamless from top to bottom. He phrased with subtle nuance through a wide dynamic range. He executed trills and ornaments with ease.”





“John Corigliano’s clarinet concerto was given a dazzling performance by principal clarinetist Franklin Cohen …”





…“Mr. James is not the only major talent in Cleveland worth stealing. City Hall should be at the tympanum to pry Franklin Cohen from the Cleveland Orchestra, as he is the much admired first clarinetist. In the LeBron mode, this current campaign should be called “get goin’ Cohen!” Surely the Philharmonic deserves as much mayoral attention as do the Knicks.”


                       quote-mastheads_18 2010




“To label Cohen “clarinetist” doesn’t do him justice. In fact, he switches nimbly among for clarinets, including bass, and with them achieves a mind boggling array of affects-rumbles, squeals, whispers and screams-evoking not only uproarious language of klezmer but even the mellow sound of a tenor saxophone.”




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