J onathan Cohler is recognized throughout the world as “an absolute master of the clarinet” (International Clarinet Association’s Clarinet Magazine). Through his performances around the world and on record, he has thrilled an ever widening audience with his incredible musicianship and total technical command. His technical feats have been hailed as “superhuman” and Fanfare Magazine has placed him in the pantheon of legendary musicians: “one thinks of Dinu Lipatti.”
A highly acclaimed recording artist, his recordings have received numerous accolades and awards including nomination for the INDIE Award, the Outstanding Recording mark of the American Record Guide, BBC Music Magazine’s Best CDs of The Year, and top ratings from magazines, radio stations, and record guides worldwide including Penguin Guide, BBC Music Magazine, MusicWeb International, and Listener Magazine, which 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.”
In recent years, Mr. Cohler has teamed up with multiple-award-winning Lithuanian pianist Rasa Vitkauskaite to form today's leading clarinet-piano duo, which is featured in three recent recordings: American Tribute, Romanza, and Rhapsodie Française. Another recent CD, Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio, features the award winning Claremont Trio. His newest CD Cohler plays & conducts Weber (released August 2016) features Mr. Cohler with the world renowned Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra from Budapest, Hungary. Fanfare Magazine featured the CD on its cover praising his “extraordinary musical intelligence and technical wizardy” 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 they ranked 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’s maintains a busy international schedule with performances this season that take him around the Globe to cities in the United States, Belgium, and Hungary. In past seasons, he has toured the United States, Hungary, Canada, Italy, Spain, Poland, Japan, Taiwan, China, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Cuba, and performed at many festivals including those of Tanglewood, Aspen, Domaine Forget (Canada), Campos do Jordao (Brazil), Xativa (Spain), Arezzo (Italy), Rockport, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons. He has been featured on the prestigious Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, and 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, Jonathan Cohler is an active chamber musician, chamber music coach, adjudicator, conductor, and pedagogue. He collaborates frequently with many well-known musicians and ensembles including Rasa Vitkauskaite, Ilya Kaler, members of the Emerson Quartet, Muir String Quartet, Claremont Trio, Arianna String Quartet, Lark 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 many others at festivals and conservatories around the world.
Mr. Cohler is the Music Director of the Massachusetts Philharmonic Orchestra, and founder and director of both the International Woodwind Festival and the Boston Clarinet Academy. He is also founder and co-director of Chamber Music Boston. For twenty-two years, he was Assistant Conductor of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of the New England Conservatory. For ten years, he was the Music Director of the Brockton Symphony Orchestra, and he also served for several years as conductor with both the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras and the Empire State Youth Orchestra in Albany, New York. He is also in demand as a guest conductor around the world with orchestras such as the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Caracas, Venezuela.
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 is currently on the faculties of the Music Festival of Xativa (Spain), and MasterARezzo (Italy), and he has been guest faculty at Domaine Forget (Canada), Campos do Jordao (Brazil), and several others. In addition to holding several honorary positions, Mr. Cohler has been invited to teach as guest faculty at conservatories and universities around the world such as 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.