Interview: Anat Cohen

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Thursday June 13, 2013


Interview: Anat Cohen
By: Ron Netsky

When Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen steps out of her Brooklyn home, she finds herself between two worlds. Cohen resides in Williamsburg, a vital neighborhood in the New York jazz scene. But Williamsburg is also a center of Hasidic Judaism in the United States.

“I live right on the border,” says Cohen. “I make a left turn, I’m in 18th-century Lithuania; if I make a right turn everybody also wears black but they’re more computer hackers and hipsters. One day I feel like making a left and one day I feel like making a right, and I don’t think one is better than the other.”

Born in Israel, Cohen attended a musical conservatory in Tel Aviv along with her two brothers, soprano saxophonist Yuval and trumpeter Avishai, in the late 1980’s. The siblings, who sometimes play and record as the 3 Cohens, also attended a school of the arts.

At that time Israel was not exactly a hotbed of hot jazz. There were only a couple of places in Tel Aviv where you could hear the music. But the Cohens were hooked. “When you go to school with other people who do what you do, your friends become other musicians and you hang out and immerse in it 24/7,” Cohen says.

To read the full interview click here