Franklin Cohen has distinguished himself as one of the most outstanding clarinetist’s of his generation. His playing has been described as “hypnotic, impeccable, brilliant… with a vocal quality that would be the envy of any singer.” Cohen first gained international recognition and acclaim as the first clarinetist awarded First Prize at the 1968 (ARD) Munich International Music Competition. Since then, Mr. Cohen has enjoyed an illustrious career as soloist, recitalist, recording and chamber artist, pedagogue and celebrated orchestral principal.
Appointed in 1976 with the Cleveland Orchestra, Franklin Cohen is the longest serving principal clarinetist and most frequent soloist in the Cleveland Orchestra’s history. Mr. Cohen has been the featured soloist in over 200 performances throughout the United States, Asia and Europe, appearing with Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kirill Petrenko and countless others. In 2015 Cohen was named Principal Clarinet Emeritus, an honor that was the first of its kind since the orchestra’s founding. Mr. Cohen’s Deutsche Grammophon recording of Debussy’s First clarinet Rhapsody conducted by Pierre Boulez won two Grammy Awards in 1996. His artistry has been a distinguished voice in the Cleveland Orchestra’s recorded legacy. Cohen has collaborated with many of the world’s leading artists including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Emanuel Ax, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Menahem Pressler and Andras Schiff. He has also performed with the Guarneri, Takacs, Tokyo and Emerson string quartets.
In 2012 Franklin Cohen and his daughter Diana co- founded Cleveland’s first international summer chamber music festival , the critically acclaimed ChamberFest Cleveland. Many of Mr. Cohen’s former students occupy prominent positions with leading orchestras and ensembles throughout the world.