Anat Cohen Jazzes Up the Season


by Bri Kilroy

Although it’s just now December, Christmas music began subtly sneaking onto the radio before Halloween and November’s arrival opened the gates to its dominance over a number of stations; so we’ve been hearing it for a while. The introduction of St. Cecilia Music Center’s (SCMC) Spectacular Jazz Series brings some refreshing variety to the season, starting with an expressive performance by Anat Cohen and her quartet.

This clarinet and saxophone genius serenades audience members with her blend of modern and traditional jazz that energizes the room with world-beat infused music.

“Some people think jazz is unapproachable,” said Cathy Holbrook, Executive Director at SCMC. “But Anat Cohen’s personal style creates a rhythmic and melodic evening for audience members of all ages and musical tastes.”

Cohen’s expertise is demonstrated on sensational woodwind instruments, the saxophone and clarinet. The Jazz Journalist Association has applauded her skill eight years in a row by voting her Clarinetist of the Year, earning her further accolade throughout her music career.

You can get an idea of the enjoyment Cohen’s music brings to your ears through performance videos on and her CDs, but nothing matches the concert experience audience members receive in SCMC’s Royce Auditorium. Every seat in the concert hall is first-class and the room’s acoustics showcase every instrument performing at its best, captivating you to the high quality music emitted by Cohen as her bandmates attribute piano, bass and drum.

Holbrook, who owns a few copies of Cohen’s CDs, expressed the musician’s talent as a great bandleader and the Royce Auditorium’s intimate setting complements her interactive stage presence. “The caliber of musicians in the series is really high,” said Holbrook. “They are the very top musicians of the jazz world.”

Cohen’s performance kicks off the SCMC’ Spectacular Jazz Series December 10 with her program titled Celebrando Brasil: From Rio to Minas. Artists Cyrille Aimée and Jack DeJohnette follow with performances in March and April. All have the opportunity to attend a pre-concert reception for an additional $15, which covers the dinner part of the show with heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer provided by Saugatuck Brewing Company.

Each phenomenal performance is followed by a post-concert reception for every ticket holder. Audience members can top off the evening with dessert, a nightcap and a chance to meet the artist they were just dazzled by.

Leave it to Anat Cohen to jazz up your holiday season at SCMC’s Spectacular Jazz Series. You won’t hear Jingle Bells, but you’ll be tapping your feet nonetheless.

  • What: Spectacular Jazz Series: Anat Cohen
  • Where: St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave. NE
  • When: December 10, 7:30 pm (pre-concert reception at 6:30 pm)
  • Tickets: $38 and $43 (subscriptions to full series is $102 and $134)


Bri Kilroy is a Grand Valley and AmeriCorps alumna who learned to type through vigorous Mavis Beacon trainings. She also passes as an artist, illustrator and author of this bio.




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