Cleveland Orchestra principal clarinet Franklin Cohen will leave the ensemble after 39 seasons next summer, having set a record as the longest-serving solo clarinetist in the orchestra’s history. He will be named Principal Clarinet Emeritus upon his retirement.
The orchestra is planning a special Blossom Festival concert in Cohen’s honor on July 26 under the baton of Jahja Ling.
ChamberFest Cleveland, a chamber music festival founded by Franklin Cohen and his daughter, Diana Cohen, will include a special celebration concert at Harkness Chapel on June 19 as part of its fourth season.
Franklin Cohen was chosen by Leopold Stokowski as principal clarinet of the American Symphony Orchestra while still a student at Juilliard. Appointed to The Cleveland Orchestra by Lorin Maazel in 1976, Cohen was featured in a recording of Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie by The Cleveland Orchestra under Pierre Boulez that won two Grammy awards in 1996.
Cohen has announced his plans to pursue an expanded career as soloist and collaborative artist while continuing as co-artistic director of ChamberFest Cleveland. He looks forward to conducting, and will create a new company to produce custom-made clarinet mouthpieces.