Biography

Brooklyn-based composer & multimedia artist Nell Shaw Cohen (b. 1988), a native of San Francisco, CA and Sag Harbor, NY, writes lyrically expressive, visually evocative music for chamber ensembles, orchestra, solo voice, choir, wind ensemble, and rock band. The JACK Quartet, WordSong, and members of The Chelsea Symphony and A Far Cry, among many others, have performed her music in museums, concert halls, theaters, festivals, and salons. An avid composer of vocal music, Cohen has been named a 2015-17 Composers & the Voice Fellow by American Opera Projects.

Cohen was 2013-14 Composer-in-Residence for the New York University Symphony, which commissioned and premiered her tone poem Point Reyes from Chimney Rock at the Skirball Center. Her multimedia concerts combining visual art with video and music have been featured at the Parrish Art Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and New England Conservatory.

Cohen has also designed and developed unique media projects, including interactive installation for web and iPad app Explore John Muir’s Yosemite, and produced more than 60 videos on multidisciplinary arts topics. The Boston Globe described her project Beyond the Notes: Music Inspired by Art as “far more extensive than the usual site devoted to an event or artwork…[with] loads of information connecting the music and art.” Cohen has received several grants from NEC and NYU for her digital media.

As a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Scholar, Cohen completed a Master of Music (GPA 4.0) at NYU, where she studied with Herschel Garfein, Missy Mazzoli, and Julia Wolfe. Cohen received her Bachelor of Music with Honors (GPA 3.99) from New England Conservatory, where she studied with Michael Gandolfi and John Mallia was awarded the Presser Scholar Award and Chadwick Medal.

As founder of Landscape Music, an online publication and affiliated Composers Network, Nell advocates for music inspired by nature, landscape, and place.

Photos

Nell Shaw Cohen in a garden
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(Photo: Burt Cohen)

Nell Shaw Cohen at piano
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(Photo: Burt Cohen)

Nell Shaw Cohen at Point Reyes
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Cohen at Point Reyes National Seashore. (Photo: Burt Cohen)

Nell Shaw Cohen with camera
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Cohen filming The Faraway Nearby: Georgia O'Keeffe and the New Mexico Landscape on Location in Ranchos de Taos, NM. (Photo: Burt Cohen)

String quartet onstage with video projection
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Members of A Far Cry Rehearsing The Course of Empire at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. (Photo: Nell Shaw Cohen)

Nell Shaw Cohen with wind quintet
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Cohen with The Chelsea Quintet after the performance of Watercolors at the Parrish Art Museum. (Photo: Kevin Crossley)

Cohen at graduation, wearing medal
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Cohen Receiving the George Whitefield Chadwick Medal from New England Conservatory. (Photo: Jeff Thiebauth)

© 2015 Nell Shaw Cohen. All rights reserved.
Send questions and comments to nell@nellshawcohen.com