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Image courtesy of Kleinhans Music Hall.
Image courtesy of Kleinhans Music Hall.

Top jazz clarinetist Anat Cohen makes Buffalo debut as part of 'Art of Jazz at the Philharmonic' series


Wed, Feb 16th 2022 04:20 pm

Anat Cohen – whom the BPO said is universally hailed as the top jazz clarinetist in the world – will make her long-anticipated Buffalo area debut as part of the “Art of Jazz at the Philharmonic” series at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 6, in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall.

For well over a decade, Cohen has been voted “Clarinetist of the Year” in all major polls by jazz critics and fans alike, and has been named Best Clarinetist by the Jazz Journalists Association every year since 2007. In her first area performance, the three-time Grammy nominee will be performing with her new group, Quartetinho, which expands the deeply rooted Brazilian influences of her music. Featuring Vitor Gonçalves (accordion and piano), Tal Mashiach (bass and seven-string guitar), and James Shipp (percussion and vibraphone), the group brings together virtuosos and Israel, Brazil and the U.S. in an exploration and melding of multiple global influences. 

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Cohen attended the Tel Aviv School for the Arts and the prestigious Thelma Yellin school, where she majored in jazz. After completing her mandatory Israeli military service duty, Cohen was able to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she not only honed her jazz chops, but also expanded her musical horizons – developing a deep love and facility for various Latin music styles.

During her Berklee years, Cohen made a beeline to New York City clubs to soak up a melting pot of jazz. Noted critics Nat Hentoff praised her “bursting sound and infectious beat,” Dan Morgenstern her “gutsy, swinging” style, Ira Gitler her “liquid dexterity and authentic feeling,” and Gary Giddins her musicality “that bristles with invention.” In 2009, Cohen became the first Israeli to headline at the legendary Village Vanguard. Since bursting onto the international jazz scene, she has electrified audiences around the world, For Cohen, performing live is the real thrill: “The music takes off … and the musicians and the audience get caught up in the same musical moment and are really feeling it. That's the best reward of this whole journey.”

With the closure of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for expansion, the museum’s long-running “Art of Jazz” series has found a temporary new home in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall. Produced by series founder Bruce Eaton and Tony Zambito, the rechristened “Art of Jazz at the Philharmonic” series is renowned for presenting an array of the world’s premier jazz artists.

The series will continue with the Ethan Iverson & Tom Harrell Duo on Friday, April 8, with two of modern jazz’s leaders exploring the classic post-war jazz repertoire that made New York City the “Jazz Capital of the World.” It concludes with Grammy Award-winning vocalist Catherine Russell on Friday, May 13. City of Buffalo Common Council Member David Rivera provides support for the series.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 716-885-5000 or by visiting https://kleinhansbuffalo.org/.

A press release noted, “Kleinhans Music Hall is deeply committed to the health and wellness of our audiences, staff, volunteers, performers and community, therefore all patrons over the age of 13 will be required to provide proof of vaccination and identification at the door. In addition to the proof of vaccination, all patrons must wear masks while inside Kleinhans Music Hall.”

Kleinhans Music Hall was built in 1940 thanks to the generosity and vision of Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans, who made their fortune from the clothing store that bore their name, and the stewardship of their charitable dreams by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The hall was designed by the Finnish father-and-son team of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, along with architects F.J. and W.A Kidd. Kleinhans is known for its combination of graceful structural beauty and extraordinary acoustics. In 1989, the hall was designated a National Historic Landmark, the highest designation of significance a site or structure can receive. Today, the hall plays hosts to performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Buffalo Chamber Music Society, the Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Babel series, and touring acts such as Fiona Apple, Cowboy Junkies and Bill Burr. For more information, visit www.kleinhansbuffalo.org.

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