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Nell Shaw Cohen

Brooklyn, NY      

Composer, librettist, and multimedia artist Nell Shaw Cohen (b. 1988) evokes visual art and natural landscapes with works ranging from orchestral tone poems to iPad apps. She’s a 2015-17 Composers & the Voice Fellow with American Opera Projects, a participant in the 2017 New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, and recent Artist-in-Residence at The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. She is currently developing “Mabel’s Call,” a chamber opera inspired by the life of early 20th century arts promoter and writer Mabel Dodge Luhan.

In 2014, her monodrama "The Coming of Spring" was given a workshop staging in NYC and she was Composer-in-Residence with the New York University Symphony. She has presented work at the Parrish Art Museum, Harwood Museum of Art, and Peabody Essex Museum, and received commissions from Boston GuitarFest and WordSong, et al. As director of, a publication and composers network, she advocates for music inspired by nature. Cohen (M.M. New York University, B.M. New England Conservatory) has studied with Herschel Garfein, Michael Gandolfi, Missy Mazzoli, and Julia Wolfe, among others.

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...