Anat Cohen Kicks off NPR's 2015 Toast of the Nation

By 
Rob Hayes
December 21, 2015
Press release
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Anat Cohen
Image Credit Augusta Sagnelli

Clarinetist, tenor saxophonist, and Berklee alumna Anat Cohen will kick off National Public Radio’s annual Toast of the Nation coast-to-coast radio broadcast this New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2015, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Cohen’s concerta rebroadcast of her acclaimed 2009 New Year’s Eve performance at the Berklee Performance Centerwill begin the evening’s festivities, which will be heard New Year’s Eve on more than 200 NPR affiliate stations, NPR Worldwide, Sirius XM Radio, and streaming on wbgo.org. Toast of the Nation begins with Cohen’s quartet and will move across the country, hour by hour, with live concert recordings from trombone superstar Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, the late Clark Terry, Snarky Puppy, a tribute to the late Allen Toussaint, and the great Dianne Reeves.

Entrancing audiences on both clarinet and saxophone, Anat Cohen, a 1999 Berklee graduate, is one of jazz’s brightest stars. Her quartet on this 2009 concert recording features Jason Lindner on piano, Joe Martin on bass, and Daniel Freedman on drums. The concert, presented by Berklee as part of the First Night celebration in Boston, Massachusetts, was produced for broadcast by WGBH in Boston and hosted by Eric Jackson of WGBH’s Eric in the Evening. Toast of the Nation is produced by NPR Music and WBGO in Newark, New Jersey.

A native of Tel Aviv, Israel, Anat Cohen was introduced to music early by her talented brothers and began her clarinet studies at age 12. She learned to play the tenor saxophone at 16, graduated as a jazz major from the prestigious Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, played tenor saxophone in the Israeli Air Force Band, matriculated to Berklee, and, upon graduation in 1999, began playing in New York with various Brazilian ensembles. After playing before countless audiences in the city—including becoming the first female reed player and the first Israeli to headline at the Village Vanguard—Cohen established herself as one of the primary talents of her generation, both on the tenor saxophone and clarinet.

Cohen's 2007 releases, Noir and Poetica, prompted the Washington Post to call her “one of the brightest, most original young instrumentalists in jazz.” The Jazz Journalists Association named Cohen Clarinetist of the Year in both 2007 and 2008—the first time in the history of the awards that an artist has earned top clarinet honors two years in a row. She has subsequently been named the top clarinetist in both the DownBeat readers’ and critics' polls multiple years in a row. Her latest album, 2015’s Luminosa, features singing, dancing originals, interpretations of Brazilian classics by the likes of Milton Nascimento, and even sees Anat re-imagine electronica as acoustica with an ingenious arrangement of a Flying Lotus tune.

NPR Music collaborates with NPR’s newsmagazines, public radio member stations, and the passionate NPR community to celebrate great music in every genre. Visit NPRMusic.org to find signature programs such as Tiny Desk Concerts, Live In Concert webcasts, First Listen album streams, Songs We Love premieres, and a collection of holiday specials from NPR member stations.