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Nell Shaw Cohen

Brooklyn, NY            

Composer, librettist, and multimedia artist Nell Shaw Cohen (b. 1988) evokes visual art, natural landscapes, and the lives of mavericks and artists in her lyrically expressive works ranging from orchestral tone poems to mobile apps. She has been commissioned by Houston Grand Opera to write a chamber opera (premiere 2021) with librettist Megan Cohen for HGOco’s Song of Houston initiative. Her chamber opera Mabel’s Call (2017) received readings in New York City and New Mexico and in 2018, the University of New Mexico will workshop the full score with Cohen in residence. Her monodrama The Coming of Spring (2014) was given a workshop staging in NYC. Cohen is an alumna of the Composers & the Voice fellowship with American Opera Projects and the Composer-Librettist Studio at New Dramatists.

Cohen’s residencies have included Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, NYU Symphony, and a Page 73 Yale Summer Residency with playwright Mashuq Mushtaq Deen. She’s presented concerts with the Parrish Art Museum, Harwood Museum, and Peabody Essex Museum, and received commissions from Montage Music Society, Boston GuitarFest, and WordSong, et al. As Founder & Director of LandscapeMusic.org, Cohen advocates for music inspired by landscape, nature, and place. Cohen studied at New York University (M.M.) and New England Conservatory (B.M.) with Herschel Garfein, Michael Gandolfi, Julia Wolfe, Missy Mazzoli, John Mallia, et al. As a student, her honors included the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award, NEC’s Chadwick Medal, and the Presser Scholar Award.

Articles by Nell Shaw Cohen:

Articles December 17 2015 | By Nell Shaw Cohen
Creating Points of Entry Into Opera Through Video

Opera videos provided the “way in” I needed to become a fan, which led me to pursue live opera performances and eventually to compose opera myself. Now I’m looking for...

Articles December 10 2015 | By Nell Shaw Cohen
We Need More (On-Demand) Films of New Operas

Imagine the possible impact of a subscription streaming service that included a substantial library of contemporary operas. How might such a service expand audiences for new opera? Further the artistic...

Articles December 3 2015 | By Nell Shaw Cohen
How Landscape Music Evokes the Natural World

A musical idea can be a highly effective conduit for communicating, understanding, and encapsulating human experiences of the natural world.

Articles November 19 2015 | By Nell Shaw Cohen
Why Landscape Music is More Important Than Ever

The potential for music as a catalyst for learning about nature has not yet been fully realized and may in fact depend on unconventional approaches and innovative thinking.

Articles November 12 2015 | By Nell Shaw Cohen
Music Inspired by Visual Art

A distinction needs to be made between music that uses a work of visual art as a source of inspiration and music that has been envisioned expressly for the purpose...

Articles November 5 2015 | By Nell Shaw Cohen
New Music for Learning

Has an experience with music ever helped you to better understand or appreciate an idea, a realm of knowledge outside of music itself, or some other aspect of life? Have...