Jonathan Hulting-Cohen (Saxophonist, The Moanin' Frogs, University of Massachusetts Amherst, New England Saxophone Festival & Competition)
Classical saxophonist Jonathan Hulting-Cohen’s performances as soloist and chamber musician have been considered “adroit” (ModernJazz.gr), “impressive,” (Schenectady Daily Gazette), and “fun to watch” (Oregon Arts Watch). From a musical family in Philadelphia, Jonathan’s early training was as a concert violinist, Irish fiddler, and classical singer. He picked up the saxophone at age 12, continuing his classical training while studying the foundations of jazz. Early performances included a debut at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts at age 17 performing Alexandre Glazounov’s Concerto in Eb. At 21 he performed Luciano Berio’s Chemins IV and Roger Boutry’s Divertimento with the Philadelphia Classical Symphony.
Jonathan’s concerto engagements include standard repertoire and world premieres. In addition to the Philadelphia Classical Symphony, he has performed with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra (MI) and Sequoia Symphony Orchestra (CA), as well as the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band, and Concert Choir. Among those concerti have been RUSH, the 2018 Grammy-winning work by Kenneth Fuchs, John Williams’ classical-jazz crossover concerto, Escapades, and others by Biedenbender, Lennon, Colgrass, Hartley, and Chatman. In 2017 he premiered Guggenheim-winning composer Felipe Salles’ double concerto, Sagrada Familia, with Dutch saxophone virtuoso, Arno Bornkamp. His world premiere recording of Stacy Garrop’s Quicksilver with the UMass Amherst Wind Ensemble was released on MSR Classics in 2020.
As a soloist, Jonathan placed in the 2018 Classics Alive Competition, was twice a finalist in the Astral Artists Competition, and was a semi-finalist in the North American Saxophone Alliance Solo Competition. In recitals, he performs traditional and contemporary repertoire. In 2017, he toured Echoes of American Jazz, a program featuring classical works by jazz composers David Liebman, David Amram, Stephen Rush, and Jackson Berkey, which he presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He built upon this repertoire through six commissions that connect classical aesthetics with jazz and folk in his 2018 tour. Notable among this repertoire are seven-time Downbeat Magazine International Critics’ Poll Alto Saxophonist of the Year, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s jazz-influenced duet, I Choose You, and Annika Socolofsky’s Norwegian folk-influenced Rise for alto saxophone and bowed piano. innova Recordings published his album of this repertoire in 2021.
Jonathan also enjoys a vibrant chamber music profile. He has performed at Chamber Music Northwest and at Carnegie Hall in the 21st Century Ensemble. He is co-founder of The Moanin’ Frogs, an internationally recognized saxophone sextet performing entertaining arrangements of masterpieces and new commissions from a wide range of styles. They earned notoriety as winners of the Senior Winds Division at the 2018 M-Prize Competition. The Admiral Launch Duo, co-founded by Jonathan and harpist Jennifer Ellis, have commissioned and premiered 10 new works for harp and saxophone nationwide, and released their debut album, Launch, on Albany Records in 2018. He recorded the saxophone quartets of Emily Koh with New Thread Quartet in 2020 (innova Recordings), and joined the group in 2022. He also enjoys many fruitful collaborations with colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Jonathan trained at the University of Michigan under Donald Sinta. He is Associate Professor of Saxophone at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, co-director of the New England Saxophone Festival & Competition, and is co-chair of the NASA Committee on Gender Equity.