Jonathan Cohler, Rasa Vitkauskaite & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra | Cohler Plays & Conducts Weber

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Cohler Plays & Conducts Weber

by Jonathan Cohler, Rasa Vitkauskaite & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra

Groundbreaking audiophile quality recording features latest research on Weber's clarinet concertos and Concertino plus his famous overtures to Oberon and Der Freischütz. Clarinetist-conductor Cohler redefines these works for a new generation.
Genre: Classical: Concerto
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Clarinet Concertino in E-Flat Major, Op. 26, J. 109: I. Adagio ma non troppo
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
2:22 $0.99
2. Clarinet Concertino in E-Flat Major, Op. 26, J. 109: II. Andante
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
4:59 $0.99
3. Clarinet Concertino in E-Flat Major, Op. 26, J. 109: III. Allegro
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
2:02 $0.99
4. Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 73, J. 114: I. Allegro
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
7:20 $0.99
5. Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 73, J. 114: II. Adagio ma non troppo
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
6:33 $0.99
6. Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 73, J. 114: III. Rondo. Allegretto
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
5:52 $0.99
7. Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74, J. 118: I. Allegro
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
8:03 $0.99
8. Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74, J. 118: II. Romanza. Andante con moto
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
6:36 $0.99
9. Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74, J. 118: III. Alla polacca
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
6:15 $0.99
10. Der Freischütz: Overture
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
9:57 $0.99
11. Oberon: Overture
Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
9:16 $0.99
12. Polonaise Brillante, Op. 72, J. 268, S. 367
Rasa Vitkauskaite, Jonathan Cohler & Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
10:31 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Concertino in E-flat Major, Op. 26, J. 109 (1811)
1...Adagio ma non troppo [2:22]
2...Andante [4:59]
3...Allegro [2:02]

Concerto No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 73, J. 114 (1811)
4...Allegro [7:20]
5...Adagio ma non troppo [6:33]
6...Rondo:Allegretto [5:52]

Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 74, J. 118 (1811)
7...Allegro [8:03]
8...Romanza: Andante con moto [6:36]
9...Alla Polacca [6:15]

Der Freischütz, Op. 77, J. 277 (1821)
10..Overture [9:57]

Oberon, J. 306 (1825-26)
11..Overture [9:16]

12..Polonaise brillante (Weber), Op. 72, J. 268, S. 367
......Rasa Vitkauskaite, piano


Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) was a composer of great importance to the history of music, but more importantly a composer whose music, along with that of Mozart and Brahms, literally gave life to the clarinet. Known as an exacting and brilliant conductor (indeed the founder of modern conducting), the creator of German Romantic Opera, the progenitor of the entire Romantic period, a virtuoso pianist, and the composer of five of the most important works for clarinet, Weber was a rare genius, who, like Mozart, lived a very short life, dying of tuberculosis at the young age of 39.

It may seem odd to pair his clarinet Concertino and two clarinet concertos with two opera overtures and a piano solo work, but on closer examination, you will see how these selections create a concise and representative summary of his important contributions. Beyond the fact that the clarinet and horn sounds were favorites of Weber’s, it was his encounter with perhaps the most important clarinetist of his time that played a large role in determining his ultimate, albeit short, path through life and position in history.The clarinet plays a prominent role in many of Weber’s most significant works, so here I chose the overtures of Der Freischütz, the first German romantic opera, and his last work, Oberon, which premiered in London just a few weeks before he died.

To paint a more complete picture of Weber, however, something from his virtuosic piano output was a must, and the Polonaise brillante, Op. 72 (as arranged by Franz Liszt) fit perfectly for a few reasons. Not only was this a favorite of contemporaries Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, and others, but it also represents some of the best qualities of Weber’s piano music: the elegance, the vocal singing lines, the brilliance, and the polonaise rhythmic character. It also gave me the chance to present my multiple award winning duo partner Lithuanian pianist Rasa Vitkauskaite in her debut recording with orchestra, following closely on her highly acclaimed 2014 solo piano recording debut Reflections (Ongaku 024-124). Add to that the fact that we collaborated with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra in Budapest, and there could not have been a more perfect fit!

As I am busy conducting on the last three pieces, the beautiful clarinet solos in those are played by my good friend Hungarian National Radio Orchestra Principal Clarinetist Gábor Varga.



Jonathan 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 selection, 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 his three most recent recordings: American Tribute, Romanza, and Rhapsodie Française. Another recent CD, Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio, features the award winning Claremont Trio.

Fanfare Magazine hailed his newest CD 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, Italy, Poland, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil. In past seasons, he has toured the United States, Hungary, Spain, Canada, Europe, 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, members of the Emerson Quartet, Muir String Quartet, Claremont Trio, Lark Quartet, Moscow Conservatory Trio, Amadeus Trio, New Jersey Chamber Music Society, Boris Berezovsky, Ilya Kaler, Andres Diaz, Charles Neidich, Randall Hodgkinson, Judith Gordon, Andrew Mark, and Janice Weber.

Jonathan Cohler is also one of the most sought after chamber music coaches in the country. Numerous groups that he has coached have won 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 numerous 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 Artistic Director of the International Woodwind Festival. 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 Symphony 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 is a world renowned teacher. His 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 The Boston Conservatory in Boston, and the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Jonathan Cohler is a Vandoren, Rossi, and Gao artist. For more information, see his web site at


Hailed for “artistry of poetic and observant sensitivity” (Gramophone), internationally acclaimed pianist Rasa Vitkauskaite released her debut solo CD Reflections on Ongaku Records in 2014, featuring works by Beethoven, Ravel, Guastavino and Liebermann. Fanfare Magazine highlighted the release on its cover, praising her “scintillating pianism” and dubbing her “a Beethoven interpreter of penetrating insight.”

Winner of the Grand Prix at the Mendelssohn Cup Piano Competition in Italy, Rasa Vitkauskaite has won top prizes at numerous prestigious international piano competitions including First Prizes at Les Rencontres Internationales des Jeunes Pianistes (Belgium), the competition in Taurisano (Italy), and the Rubinstein Piano Competition (Paris). Recently, she was awarded the Westmont Fellowship at the Montecito International Music Festival in Santa Barbara, California. In 2007, Rasa won a Kathryn Wasserman Davis $10,000 grant that supported her tour promoting peace in Israel. In her native country of Lithuania, Ms. Vitkauskaite has garnered top prizes at six national competitions.

Recent recital tours have taken Ms. Vitkauskaite to China, South Korea, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and across the United States. Her solo engagements include the Kaunas, Latvian and Kaliningrad Philharmonic orchestras, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, I Solisti di Perugia, and the Boston Conservatory Orchestra. She has appeared at festivals in Assisi (Italy), Madrid (Spain), Mexico City, Caracas (Venezuela), Taiyuan (China), Porto (Portugal), and Moscow (Russia).

An avid chamber musician, Ms. Vitkauskaite performs regularly with world-renowned clarinetist Jonathan Cohler. MusicWeb International praised her as “a master” on the duo’s 2014 release of American Tribute (in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013), and as “a brilliant and sympathetic partner” on their 2013 release Romanza, featuring works by Schumann, Prokofiev and Guastavino. American Record Guide singled out her "subtle musicianship and exceptional skill" on Rhapsodie Française, the 2008 debut duo CD with Mr. Cohler.

Ms. Vitkauskaite studied with Jūratė Karosaitė at the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania, from which she graduated with honors. She then won a scholarship to study at the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy, where she studied with Alberto Miodini. Upon graduating, she was awarded the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma with highest grades in music. Subsequently, she completed her Bachelors and Masters Degrees at The Boston Conservatory, where she studied with Michael Lewin and won the H. Wilfred Churchill piano scholarship competition both in 2007 and 2008. She also completed a Graduate Performance Diploma under Randall Hodgkinson.

In addition to her active performing career, Ms. Vitkauskaite is a dedicated teacher and adjudicator. She has many students both at the Concord Conservatory of Music, where she is on the faculty, and in her private studio. She is also the piano faculty at Youth & Muse International Summer Music Festival at the Boston Conservatory. Ms. Vitkauskaite frequently serves as a judge for Massachusetts Music Teachers Association events. Recently, she also judged the Steinway Society Piano Competition. In 2009, she launched a new piano program for inner-city children in Boston after winning a $5000 Fellowes Athenaeum Fund grant.

Ms. Vitkauskaite is the pianist of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.


The Hungarian Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1963 by former students of the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest. The first artistic director of the ensemble was Frigyes Sándor, a renowned professor of the Academy. After his death it was János Rolla, the excellent violinist, who took over the leadership in 1979 as a concert master.

During this nearly half of a century the orchestra have built up an exceptional international reputation which has been underlined by concerts in more than 50 countries, including the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. They regularly give concerts in almost all countries in Europe, and performed among others at the famous festivals of Ascona, Besançon, Edinburgh, Flandria, Helsinki, Luzern, Montreux, Prades, Salzburg, Santander, Moritzburg, and Menton. They have been invited several times to the United States and Japan, and made trips to South America (including highly successful concerts in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo), India, and China as well.

The first official concert of the orchestra was held in Budapest, 18 March 1963. Since then they have played with exceptional soloists like Sviatoslav Richter, Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, David Oistrakh, Henryk Szeryng, Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vadim Repin, Zoltán Kocsis, Maurice André, Martha Argerich, Pierre Fournier, Heinz Holliger, András Schiff,György Pauk, Péter Frankl, Hansjörg Schellenberger, János Starker, Midori, and the Laredo Trio. Their repertory spans almost the entire history of music from Monteverdi, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart to the romantics and to the 20th century composers. The orchestra has recorded more than 200 discs for publishers such as the Sony Classical, the CBS, the Teldec, EMI, Erato, Denon or the Hungarian Hungaroton. The orchestra was awarded the Grand Prix of the French Académie de Disque in Paris on three different occasions and has the “Record of the Year” award in Hungary many times.

The outstanding work of the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra has been rewarded by numerous prizes. In October 2001 they were given the Hungaroton Prize, in August 2003 the city of Sárospatak granted the Orchestra the Pro Urbe Prize, and in the same year Árpád Göncz, President of the Hungarian Republic donated the Diploma of the Hungary in Europe Foundation to the Orchestra. On 25 March 2006, the 125th anniversary of the birth of Béla Bartók, the Orchestra received a Bartók Memorial Statue from the Board of Hungarian Art and the Herendi Porcelain Factory as a recognition of the "worthy continuation of Bartók's legacy". Since 1991 the home of the orchestra has been the very calm and peaceful Óbudai Társaskör

The rich history of nearly fifty years has brought not only extraordinary success, but also new challenges. The orchestra has continuously been seeking new types of co productions with excellent artists from other areas. They played in the theatrical performance of Amadeus, worked with the Ballet of Győr, the Budapest Klezmer Band, the famous jazz band of Roby Lakatos, and played with Ferenc Snétberger guitar player, too. Performing classical music in the traditional way, however, has always remained the main profile of the group, and productions with Emmanuel Pahud, Vadim Gluzman, Denis Matsuev, Gustav Rivinius, Markus Stockhausen, Gábor Boldoczki, Andrea Rost or Steven Isserlis proved to be memorable moments of the past few years.

There has always been efforts in the Orchestra to promote young talents, therefore they regularly perform with young Hungarian composers, and give concerts at universities and elementary schools. In the last three years the Orchestra gave concerts among others in the Alte Oper of Frankfurt, in the Düsseldorf Tonhalle, at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, and in the newly built Opera house of Muscat, Oman. In the Liszt year of 2011 they visited the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and were invited to the very prestigious China-Shanghai International Arts Festival. In 2012 the Orchestra made its first ever trip to Transylvania, and to the birthplace of Mstislav Rostropovich, Baku, Azerbaijan. They also performed in Madrid, at the opening ceremony of both the Liszt year and the Hungarian EU presidency at the Auditorio Nacional, where the concert was visited by Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, and his wife Sofia as well.



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