onductor and clarinetist Jonathan Cohler has been hailed as “the preeminent, most-recorded soloist of our time” (Fanfare). As both cla rinetist and conductor, he has received numerous resounding accolades including the Outstanding Recording mark of the American Record Guide, BBC Music Magazine’s Best CDs of The Year selection, and many more.
His most recent CD of works by Mendelssohn will be featured on the cover of Fanfare magazine in January 2024 and includes Tchaikovsky gold-medal violinist Ilya Kaler playing the Violin Concerto in E Minor and multiple-award-winning pianist Rasa Vitkauskaite in the Double Concerto and Capriccio Brillant with the Budapest Ferenc Erkel Chamber Orchestra conducted by Cohler. His CD Cohler plays and conducts Mozart—including Symphony No. 35, overtures to Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute, and the Clarinet Concerto, all in new editions by Cohler—was also featured on the cover of Fanfare and called the new “standard for Mozart.” MusicWeb International lauded the performances as “superlative and Cohler proves to be as gifted a conductor as he is a soloist.” The Boston Globe called his live performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 as “remarkable” and “exciting.” His technical feats on the clarinet have been hailed as “superhuman” and Fanfarehas placed him in the pantheon of legendary musicians: “one thinks of Dinu Lipatti.” Listener Magazine wrote, “Cohler possesses such musical integrity and taste that everything he touches seems like the last word”. Gramophone lauded Mr. Cohler’s expression of “the poetry that lesser artists miss.”
Cohler’s recordings regularly appear at the top of the Amazon classical charts. He teamed up with Vitkauskaite in 2008, and they were rapidly recognized as the leading clarinet-piano duo in the world, now featured on four recordings: Latin Journey (2021), American Tribute (2015), Romanza (2013), and Rhapsodie Française (2008). On Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio, Cohler partnered with the award-winning Claremont Trio. Fanfare also featured Cohler plays & conducts Weber, with the world-renowned Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, on its cover praising Cohler’s “extraordinary musical intelligence and technical wizardry” and dubbing his playing as “supernatural” while it hailed American Tribute as, “one of the best clarinet CDs to come along in some time,” and ranking his recording of the Brahms and Beethoven trios (Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio) the all-time best: “I know of no finer recording of the Beethoven, and this one stands with the best classic versions of the Brahms.” Rhapsodie Française was chosen as Best of the Year by the Buffalo/Toronto classical station 94.5 WNED alongside two CDs featuring legendary artists Pierre Fournier, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Leonid Kogan, and Emil Gilels.
Mr. Cohler maintains a busy international schedule with performances that regularly take him around the Globe to cities in the United States, Belgium, Hungary, Canada, Italy, Spain, Poland, Japan, Taiwan, China, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Cuba. He has performed at many festivals including those of Tanglewood, Aspen, Domaine Forget (Canada), Campos do Jordão (Brazil), Xativa (Spain), Arezzo (Italy), Rockport, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, the Hamptons, and the prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago. He has been a frequently invited performer, adjudicator, and clinician at the International Clarinet Association’s annual ClarinetFest and many other clarinet festivals around the world.
In addition to his work as soloist and conductor, Jonathan Cohler is an active chamber musician, chamber music coach, adjudicator, pedagogue, and publisher. He has collaborated frequently with many well-known musicians and ensembles including Rasa Vitkauskaite, Ilya Kaler, James Buswell, members of the Emerson Quartet, Muir String Quartet, Claremont Trio, Lark Quartet, Arianna String Quartet, Moscow Conservatory Trio, Amadeus Trio, New Jersey Chamber Music Society, Boris Berezovsky, Andres Diaz, Charles Neidich, Randall Hodgkinson, Judith Gordon, Andrew Mark, and Janice Weber.
Cohler is a renowned chamber music coach with many of his groups winning top prizes in the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition of the Chamber Music Foundation of New England among others.
He has adjudicated international competitions in the United States and abroad including the International Clarinet Competition of the European Clarinet Association, Concours de Musique du Canada, the Young Artist Competition of the International Clarinet Association, the Russian American Music Association Competition, and numerous others at festivals and conservatories around the world.
Mr. Cohler is the music director of the Massachusetts Philharmonic Orchestra, and is also in demand as a guest conductor around the world with orchestras such as the renowned Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela. He is founder and director of Boston Clarinet Academy, International Woodwind Festival, and Chamber Music Boston; Vice President and founding board member of the Boston Woodwind Society; and the Massachusetts State Chair of the International Clarinet Association. For many years, he was Assistant Conductor of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of the New England Conservatory, the Music Director of the Brockton Symphony Orchestra, and conductor of the Boston and Empire State Youth Symphony Orchestras.
Mr. Cohler’s students hold positions in major orchestras all around the world and have won top prizes at numerous international competitions including the Concours de Genève, the Young Artists Competition of the International Clarinet Association, the Audi Mozart Competition (Rovereto, Italy), and Jeunesses Musicales. They have received fellowships to festivals such as Tanglewood, Aspen, Pacific Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Verbier, Salzburg, and many others. Mr. Cohler has served on the faculties of the Music Festival of Xativa (Spain), Domaine Forget (Canada), Campos do Jordao (Brazil), and several others. In addition to holding several honorary positions, Mr. Cohler teaches regularly as guest faculty at conservatories and universities around the world such as Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Eastman School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Harvard University, Central Conservatory in Beijing, National Conservatory of Music in Mexico, and University of Chile, to name a few.
Mr. Cohler’s clarinet teachers include legendary Boston Symphony Orchestra clarinetist Pasquale Cardillo, Harold Wright, Karl Leister, Charles Neidich and Frank Martin. He graduated with high honors in physics from Harvard University. He is Professor of Clarinet and Chamber Music at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jonathan Cohler is a Vandoren, Rossi, Royal Global, and Silverstein artist and records exclusively for Ongaku Records. His Facebook page is the #1 classical clarinet page in the world. For more information, see: