ARCHIVED: May 30, 2019

ARCHIVED: May 1, 2017

The Venner Clarinet Choir and
The Venner Clarinet Quartet

` May 1, 2017, 4:30 pm Master Class, 6:00 pm Concert
(VCC & Cohen w/ Katie Smith & Curtis Lacey)
60 South High St, Akron, OH 44326

The Venner Clarinet Choir is made up of a dozen professional clarinetists.
Four members of the group make up the Quartet.

See more on the VCC.
The concerts are FREE to the public.

Questions call the sponsor CIC at 330.928.6000.

We attended an amazing concert on May 1st at the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Conducted by Jim Adkins, The Venner Clarinet Choir with guest soloists Franklin Cohen and Benjamin Chen gave the large audience a wonderful night of music. We hope you had the opportunity to attend, especially all clarinetists. The evening ended with Franklin Cohen, Benjamin Chen, and the VCC  performing the Il Convegno by Ponchilli. It is not often that you can attend a free concert and hear Franklin Cohen, principal Bb clarinetist (emeritus), and see Theodore Johnson, principal Eb clarinetist (emeritus), both with The Cleveland Orchestra.

We wish to thank Katie Smith, Kenston High School, and Curtis Lacey, Lake High School, for participating in the Master Class conducted by Franklin Cohen. We hope they enjoyed the experience and the concert.
If you would like to submit items you recorded at the concert, email them to [email protected].

Click here to see pictures from the master class and concert:


FRANKLIN COHEN   Principal Clarinet of The Cleveland Orchestra since 1976, Franklin Cohen has distinguished himself as one of the outstanding clarinetists of his generation.   His playing has been described as “hypnotic, impeccable, brilliant… with a vocal quality that would be the envy of any singer.”   He first gained international recognition and acclaim when, at the age of 22, he became the first clarinetist awarded First Prize at the International Munich Competition (the other first prize that year went to soprano Jessye Norman).   Since then, Mr. Cohen has enjoyed an illustrious career as soloist, recitalist, recording and chamber artist, pedagogue and orchestral principal.

Since his first solo appearance with The Cleveland Orchestra in 1977, Mr. Cohen has been featured as soloist in nearly 200 performances — at Severance Hall, Carnegie Hall, Blossom Music Center, and on tour throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.  In 1992, he recorded the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Orchestra and Christoph von Dohnányi for Decca Records.   Mr. Cohen is also the soloist in Debussy’s First Rhapsody on a Deutsche Grammophon recording conducted by Pierre Boulez that won two Grammy Awards in 1996, and on a Decca recording of the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas with pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy.

With his daughter, violinist Diana Cohen, Franklin Cohen is the co-artistic director of the critically acclaimed ChamberFest Cleveland, the first international summer chamber music festival in Cleveland, which presented its inaugural season in 2012.  ChamberFest’s huge success has led to an expanded vision for growth locally and internationally.

Mr. Cohen’s professional music career was launched when Leopold Stokowski chose him as principal clarinet of the American Symphony Orchestra.

As a recitalist and chamber artist, Mr. Cohen has participated in the Aspen, Blossom, Casals, Marlboro, Santa Fe, and Sarasota music festivals.  He has also been a featured artist with many of the world’s leading chamber groups, including the Emerson, Guarneri, Takács, Tokyo, Miro, Miami, Orion, Shostakovich, Cavani and Ysaÿe string quartets and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.  In addition, Mr. Cohen has collaborated with leading artists including Emanuel Ax, Pinchas Zukerman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jessye Norman, Menahem Pressler and Heidi Grant Murphy, among many others.  Mr. Cohen has given countless master classes and seminars at prestigious universities and conservatories throughout the world.  His former students hold principal positions in major orchestras in North America, Europe, Mexico and Asia.

A passionate advocate of music education, Mr. Cohen founded and funded “The Concert Club”, introducing young musicians to world class artists and performances at Severance Hall.

Mr. Cohen’s children are both members of the Calgary Philharmonic, Diana serves as concertmaster and Alexander is the principal timpanist.

  Benjamin Chen made his American solo debut as a concerto soloist at the Kennedy Center, the result of winning the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute concerto competition. Mr. Chen collaborates with a wide spectrum of chamber ensembles based in Cleveland, including the new music group Ars Futura and the award-winning North Coast Winds, and has given recitals and master classes in concert tours throughout China. Festival appearances include the Pacific Music Festival (Japan), the National Repertory Orchestra (Colorado), ChamberFest Cleveland (Ohio), the Sarasota Music Festival (Florida), the Atlantic Music Festival (Maine), and the orchestral academy at the Centre d’Arts Orford (Canada). A member of the Erie Philharmonic and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Mr. Chen has performed with the New World Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, and The Cleveland Orchestra. Mr. Chen earned degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was a recipient of the Helen Curtis Webster Memorial Award and a winner of the 2012 concerto competition.
His teachers include Richard Hawkins and Franklin Cohen.

  Katie Smith is a senior at Kenston High School and has been playing clarinet and piano since fifth grade. She began clarinet in the school band program and started private lessons her sophomore year. She currently studies clarinet with Jennifer Magistrelli at Aurora School of Music and piano with Dr. Andrew Focks. Katie is a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra as principal clarinetist, participates in various chamber music ensembles, and clarinet quartet and woodwind trio. She is a former member of the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, and participated in the University of Michigan’s MPulse clarinet institute, studying with Dan Gilbert and Ellen Breakfield-Glick. Katie has been a four year member of the Kenston Symphonic Band, served as clarinet section leader for two years, and participated in pit orchestra for four years. This semester, she serves as the piano accompanist for Kenston Chorale. Katie plans to earn a Bachelors of Music in Clarinet Performance with the goal of playing in an orchestra and teaching privately. She hopes to maintain her piano studies alongside her study of clarinet.
  Curtis Lacey is a junior at Lake High School involved in the band program since 5th grade. He has been in marching band as section leader and in three musicals. His teacher is Colleen Tryon. Curtis has participated in OMEA solo and ensemble for 5 years and Akron Youth Philharmonic for 2 years as principal clarinetist.  He was invited to play with the Canton Concert Band and has performed for various Honor Bands such as OSU MS Honor Band and University of Akron Honor Band. He was accepted for Allstate Band which performed at the Cleveland Convention Center. He has had amazing instructors that have encouraged and mentored him since day one, Colleen Tryon, Mark Tryon, Rich Kibler, Jared Cooey, and Joshua Laux. Curtis would like to thank the University of Akron and Dr. Jones for allowing him to perform for this Master Class. It is an honor.


Jazzin' the Falls -- CLINIC / CONCERT / RAFFLE

May 7, 2016, 3:00 - 9:00 PM, Concert at 7:30 PM

MUSICAL HORIZONS presents -- GOLD TONES of Cuyahoga Falls High School
and CLEVELAND JAZZ ORCHESTRA at Cuyahoga Falls High School with special guests


Photos:   View album

 Videos:  View album


The Instrumental Music Patrons (IMP) and Jim Lang, Band Director, of Cuyahoga Falls High School (CFHS) are organizing a Jazz Clinic on May 7th. Go to for more information and to purchase tickets through PayPal. Tickets are also available at Central Instrument Company (CIC), 739 Portage Trail, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221. Limited tickets will be available May 7th at the event.

The event is open to Students and Adults wishing to participate. Diner can be purchased. The concert is open to all participants and the public. Spread the word. It will be very exciting.

Special guest artists are Wayne Bergeron and Rusty Higgins. You can do a search and check out YouTube for information on these two great musicians. The Musical Horizons of CFHS will also present the Gold Tones of Cuyahoga Falls High School and the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra.

The IMP of CFHS is holding a RAFFLE to benefit the CFHS Music Program. Their website will have all the details. They will sell tickets and they will also be available at CIC. Prizes include a Yamaha Trumpet model that Wayne Bergeron uses which he will sign, a Kenny G Soprano Saxophone designed by and signed by Kenny G, an Apple Watch, Indian Tickets, and more. Information has been sent to many band directors in Northeastern Ohio. Students contact your band director for details.  CLICK HERE to view the announcement. Tickets are available through the IMP of Cuyahoga Falls High School for students/adults to attend the clinic starting at 3:00 PM and for the public to attend the concert at 7:30 PM. For those attending the concert only you may want to get your concert tickets in advance to assure availability. Tickets will be on sale the night of the concert for available seating. If you have questions, go to or call the sponsor, Central Instrument Company at 330.928.6000 or 1.800.442.6000.

The RESERVATION FORM sent to local band directors is available by clicking here. Adults and students wishing to attend can print off this STUDENT RESERVATION FORM. Return it along with payment to Cuyahoga Falls High School, Attention: IMP-Musical Horizons 2016, 2300 Fourth Street, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221.


We have uploaded an album containing pictures and videos to Google+. You should be able to download or tag a picture. Thanks again to all participants. Click on the link below, click on Photos, then click on the Clarinet Symposium album:

The Clarinet Symposium was a resounding success. Thank you to everyone who helped -- Highland High Schools and Foundation, Staff of CIC, Exhibitors, The Venner Clarinet Choir, and more, with special thanks to James Adkins who tried to keep the day organized. What a pleasure to meet Mr. Stanley Drucker and Ms. Naomi Drucker. A special thank you to Theodore Johnson who did an amazing job as conductor with a very long full day of activities. Check back in a couple weeks as we add links to pictures and video from the day. If you would like to add personal comments or pictures and video, email them to [email protected] and we will post them to this symposium page. Thanks also to the many participants, the professional clarinetists that allowed us to watch their critiques, the All-Stars and Highland students, and all the clarinetists who played in the final Mass Clarinet Choir. What a special day! Also thank you to James Stahl, owner of Central Instrument Company. He was the person responsible for the vision of the day and bringing in the people responsible for the first class learning experience. You may want to friend "Jim Stahl" on Facebook. You will find some comments and pictures of the symposium activities.

Taken by Mr. Rick Druesedow:

    Cleveland Plain Dealer:



Welcome to the Clarinet Symposium! We are proud to present two of the world's greatest living legends of the clarinet, Theodore Johnson with The Cleveland Orchestra (retired) and Stanley Drucker with The New York Philharmonic (retired). Tom Reed, Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at Ashland University will present a bass clarinet class. This is an educational event, not just listening to clarinet performances. All participants will rehearse twice and perform in a master clarinet choir conducted by Theodore Johnson. There will also be a master class on the Fundamentals of Clarinet and a master class where you will listen to conservatory students who are on the cuff of starting their professional careers. (Click here to see our poster)

I invite you to look over our website and then sign up on our secured site. We ask that you fill out our short questionnaire. Complete all three steps below. After you register, you can print out your receipt to use as identification on May 10, 2014. You will also receive an email acknowledgement. We will send you a reminder a couple days before the symposium. The registration fee will include lunch and dinner and is non-refundable.

We have secured a group rate at the Doubletree Hotel in Fairlawn, Ohio, for any out-of-towners. The deadline to make a reservation at the hotel is April 18, 2014. (Click here for the hotel information.)

Remember to bring your instrument and a music stand, both clearly labeled.

Here is the current Agenda for May 10, 2014.  (Click here)

The Clarinet Symposium will be held at Highland High School, 4150 Ridge Road, Medina, Ohio 44256.  (Click here for directions) 

Thank you for checking us out.  We believe this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and very rewarding.


Jim Stahl

Theodore Johnson
(click for bio)

Stanley Drucker
(click for bio)

Tom Reed
(click for bio)

Sponsors:         Clarinet Students of Highland High and Middle Schools
                          Highland Schools Foundation
                          Central Instrument Company, Inc.

Exhibitors will display and sell reeds, mouthpieces, ligatures, and a variety of accessories including a selection of clarinet music. New step-up and professional clarinets will also be on display for those who are shopping for a new instrument.

Supported by
World Clarinet Alliance  
We hope you will join us!

Register by completing the following steps:

STEP 1  Click on this link and fill out our registration form.

STEP 2  Add Register for Clarinet Symposium to the cart by clicking on the picture of the poster below to add to your cart.  This will take you to another screen. Click on update the cart. This again will take you to another screen. Click on checkout.

At this time you will provide your personal information and submit payment for the registration fee. 
Please print the confirmation for admission on May 10, 2014.

STEP 3  You will also receive a confirmation email that you can print and bring on May 10, 2014. 

You will need to bring your instrument and a music stand with your name clearly labeled.