Anat Cohen, the Israeli-born clarinet virtuoso, will premier a new concerto, Triple Helix, at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on Jan. 12. The piece, composed by Oded Lev-Ari for Cohen and her Tentet, whose last album was Happy Song, will also have a showing at Chicago’s Symphony Center on Feb. 1. Lev-Ari wrote the piece on a commission from Carnegie Hall and the Symphony Center.
“The concerto wasn’t designed as a feature for Anat as a soloist with just an ensemble backdrop,” Lev-Ari, who will conduct the piece, says in a press release. “I wrote it for her as the leader of an organic, interactive band, the Tentet, and the way they play together live. It’s a three-movement piece—medium tempo, slow, and then fast—and it’s concise in the writing. But I composed the concerto like a tailor leaving a lot of slack in a suit—we can really let it out, if we want to. We could easily double the length of the piece with the improvisations.”
Cohen and Lev-Ari have known each other since high school. “Oded knows my playing as well as anyone, and he never reaches for the obvious, so there’s an edge of surprise to whatever he does,” Cohen says in the release. “Oded also leaves space for improvisation, making the most of the Tentet, which is game for anything.”
The Tentet includes Christopher Hoffmann (cello), Nadje Noordhuis (trumpet and flugelhorn), Nick Finzer (trombone), Owen Broder (baritone sax and bass clarinet), James Shipp (vibraphone and percussion), Vitor Gonçalves (piano and accordion), Sheryl Bailey (guitar), Tal Mashiach (double-bass), and Anthony Pinciotti (drums).
Cohen will record Triple Helix for Anzic Records after the Zankel Hall performance. “For Anat, it’s the most technically demanding thing I’ve ever written for her, really giving her something to sink her teeth into, knowing what’s in her fingers and what she’s capable of on the clarinet,” Lev-Ari says in the release. “Triple Helix starts with a clarinet trill, hinting a bit at Rhapsody in Blue. I originally imagined weaving some of what’s in the air around jazz at the moment—classical and contemporary sounds, Americana lyricism, Latin and Middle Eastern rhythms—into a piece for the concert hall, inspired by what Gershwin did with Rhapsody in Blue in the 1920s.”
Cohen and her Tentet will tour Triple Helix in April—in Italy and Switzerland—and in May in the U.S.
Tour dates are below.
January 12, 9 p.m.: New York, NY – Carnegie’s Zankel Hall
February 1, 8 p.m.: Chicago, IL – Symphony Center (double-bill with the Joshua Redman Quartet)
April 21: Umbria, Italy – Umbria Jazz
April 23-27: Bern, Switzerland – Jazzfestival Bern
April 29: Basel, Switzerland – Volkshaus Basel
April 30: Verona, Italy – Teatro Ristori
May 17: Edmonds, WA – Edmonds Center for the Arts
May 18: Bellingham, WA – Mount Baker Theatre
May 19: San Francisco, CA – SFJAZZ
May 20: Santa Cruz, CA – Kuumbwa Jazz Club