Biography

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Brooklyn-based composer, librettist, and 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, and voice. Cohen is a 2015-17 Composers & the Voice Fellow with American Opera Projects and the recipient of an Artist Residency Grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. In 2016, her chamber opera-in-progress Mabel’s Call has been featured at the Harwood Museum of Art and on AOP’s Six Scenes opera showcase.

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

The JACK Quartet, WordSong, and members of The Chelsea Symphony and A Far Cry, among many others, have performed Cohen's music in museums, concert halls, theaters, festivals, and salons. Cohen was 2013-14 Composer-in-Residence with the New York University Symphony, which commissioned and premiered her tone poem Point Reyes from Chimney Rock at the Skirball Center. Her chamber monodrama The Coming of Spring received a workshop staging in NYC in 2014. 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 projects and earned an Advanced Certificate from NYU in educational 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.

Cohen publishes her music under Faraway Nearby (ASCAP). Scores are available for perusal and purchase upon request.

Photos

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Nell Shaw Cohen with camera
Filming The Faraway Nearby: Georgia O'Keeffe and the New Mexico Landscape in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, 2010. (Photo: Burt Cohen.)

Nell Shaw Cohen at Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore, California, 2014. (Photo: Burt Cohen.)

Nell Shaw Cohen at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico
Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, 2016. (Photo: Burt Cohen.)

Nell Shaw Cohen with wind quintet
With The Chelsea Quintet after the performance of Watercolors at the Parrish Art Museum, 2012. (Photo: Kevin Crossley)

Cohen at graduation, wearing medal
Receiving the George Whitefield Chadwick Medal from New England Conservatory, 2012. (Photo: Jeff Thiebauth)

© 2016 Nell Shaw Cohen. All rights reserved.
Send questions and comments to nell@nellshawcohen.com