Paul Cohen is one of America's most sought-after saxophonists for orchestral and chamber concerts and solo recitals. He has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Richmond Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New York Virtuosi, Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony, and the Philharmonia Virtuosi. His many solo orchestra performances include works by Debussy, Creston, Ibert, Glazunov, Martin, Loeffler, Husa, Dahl, Still, Villa-Lobos, Tomasi, and Cowell. He has also performed with a broad range of orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera (NYC) American Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, New Jersey Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Long Island Philharmonic, Group for Contemporary Music, Greenwich Symphony, Charleston Symphony, New York Solisti, and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra.
He has recorded three albums with the Cleveland Symphonic Winds under the direction of Frederick Fennell and a compact disk of the music of Villa-Lobos with the Quintet of the Americas as well as recordings with the Saxophone Sinfonia, Philharmonia Virtuosi, New York Solisti, Paul Winter Consort, North-South Consonance, and the New Sousa Band. His most recent recordings include Quiet City, a chamber music CD including premiere recordings of works by Ornstein, Lunde and Harltey, as well as Breathing Lessons, a CD of new works for saxophone quartet. Earlier recordings include an environmental-jazz CD of solo improvisations, the newly discovered classical saxophone concerto of the 19th-century American composer Caryl Florio, and his solo CD, Vintage Saxophones Revisited, featuring the premiere recording of Cowell's Hymn and Fuguing Tune #18. Recent recordings include works for saxophone and orchestra by Bernhard Heiden, Maurice Whitney, Alfred Reed, and Sabine Pautza and a solo work by Robert Martin. A specialist on the soprano saxophone, he is the founder and leader of the New Hudson Quartet, which has performed concertos of Calvin Hampton and Nicolas Flagello, and recently released two CDs of American music, Quartet at the Crossroads, and Breathing Lessons on the Parma and Naxos labels. In 2012 he will be featured on a CD of the saxophone music of Henry Cowell and Percy Grainger, and his solo CD, American Images, will include performances of works by Alec Wilder, Steve Cohen, Rodney Rogers, Percy Grainger, and Robert Sibbing.
Dr. Cohen holds MM and DMA degrees from Manhattan School of Music. His teachers have included Galan Kral, Joe Allard, and Sigurd Rascher. He has published more than 100 articles on the history and literature of the saxophone in music journals such as the Saxophone Journal, Instrumentalist, CBDNA Notes, Clarinet and Saxophone Society Magazine of Great Britain, The Grainger Society Journal, and the Saxophone Symposium, and since 1985 a feature column, “Vintage Saxophones Revisited,” for the Saxophone Journal.
Combining his musicological pursuits with performing activities, Dr. Cohen has rediscovered and performed lost saxophone literature, including solo works for saxophone and orchestra by Loeffler, Florio and Dahl (for winds), as well as rare chamber works by Grainger, Ornstein, Sousa, Cowell, Siegmeister, and Loeffler. As arranger he has written The Renaissance Book, a collection of Renaissance songs and dances for saxophone quartet (Galaxy Music); Four Piano Blues of Copland for saxophone quartet (Boosey and Hawkes); and, as editor, has prepared the ossia passages for the Concerto for Saxophone by Ross Lee Finney (Peters Music). His company, To the Fore Publishers, publishes his arrangements and settings for saxophone ensemble as well as original, historical, and contemporary saxophone works from selected composers. Dr. Cohen frequently presents lectures on the saxophone, illustrating his talks with rare instruments, manuscripts, and archival material from his extensive private collection.
Dr. Cohen’s recent concerts included Escapades by John Williams (alto saxophone) with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, Elegy for 9/11 by Bernard Hoffer (tenor saxophone) with the Princeton Brass Band, and the premiere performance of the Concerto for Soprano Saxophone by Lewis Porter with the Rutgers Symphonic Band. As an Artist in Residency at the Royal College of Music and Dance in Cardiff, Wales, Dr. Cohen performed the European premiere of Judith Hidgon’s Concerto for Soprano Saxophone. Other recent performances have been at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, the Metrolpolitan Museum of Art, the 92nd Street Y, and Merkin Hall with such groups as the New York Philharmonic, New Hudson Saxophone Quartet and the Manhattan Sinfonietta. Cohen recorded Constantinides’ Gift to Music with the North/South Consonance, a contemporary chamber ensemble. Cohen continues to champion the original 1949 version of Ingolf Dahl’s Saxophone Concerto, a lost composition about which he has written extensively. Performing on the soprano, alto and tenor saxophones Dr. Cohen recently performed concertos by Karl Husa, Jennifer Higdon, Walter Hartley, Darius Milhaud, Bernard Hoffer, and William Latham with ensembles in the New York Area.
The Presser Music Company recently published his arrangement for saxophone choir of Variations on America by Charles Ives and the Schumann setting of Billing's When Jesus Wept. Boosey and Hawkes just issued Cohen’s saxophone quartet arrangements of music by Aaron Copland, including Four Piano Blues, Simple Gifts, and Our Town. He also publishes a specialized technique book titled The Altissimo Primer.