Principal clarinet of The Cleveland Orchestra since 1976, Franklin Cohen has distinguished himself as one of the outstanding clarinetists of his generation. His playing has been described as “hypnotic, impeccable, brilliant... with a vocal quality that would be the envy of any singer.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer has described Cohen as, “the Callas of clarinetists, spinning mesmerizing lines amid flashes of temperament. Music-making of such urgency, beauty and virtuously is uncommon on any instrument.”
Franklin first gained widespread international acclaim at the age of 22, when he became the first
clarinetist awarded first prize at the International Munich Competition. Currently, Mr. Cohen has appeared as a soloist in nearly 200 performances at well-known venues including Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall, and Blossom Music Center. He has toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia with The Cleveland Orchestra and has performed alongside with other well-known musicians such as Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohńanyi, Franz Welser-Möst, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leonard Slatkin.
Cohen began his professional career performing with the American Symphony Orchestra when Leopold Stokowski chose him as the principal clarinet. Since then, he has also performed as the principal clarinet with the
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Casals Festival Orchestra. Franklin’s performance portfolio does not end there, he has participated in a number of music festivals including Aspen, Casals, Santa Fe, and Marlboro. He’s been featured alongside with many well-known string quartets including the Cavani, Guarneri, Miami, Tokyo, and has numerous recordings which two have won Grammy Awards in 1996.
Since 1976, Franklin Cohen has been the chair of the clarinet department at the Cleveland Institute of Music and continues to be the head clarinet at CIM. He has given countless master classes and seminars at prestigious universities and conservatories throughout the world. Many of his former students hold esteemed positions throughout the music industry.