New Videos: “Refuge” Premiere and Landscape Music Interview

Posted in Landscape Music, new recordings on November 7th, 2016 by Nell

The concert I curated for the Parrish Art Museum last September featured NYC-based chamber quartet Cadillac Moon Ensemble in a program of music written by members of the Landscape Music Composers Network celebrating the National Park Service centennial. It was tremendously gratifying to see a year’s planning come to fruition and to receive such a great audience turnout and response.

Nell in The East Hampton StarWe received coverage in several publications, including The East Hampton Star, which featured an article about my work on the front page of their Arts & Living section.

This event included the World Premiere of my wildlife conservation suite, Refuge, written for Cadillac Moon Ensemble. You can now watch the performance online!

I also had the opportunity to sit down with three fellow composers, who traveled from all around the country to participate in this event. We had a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation about the processes, goals, and challenges of writing music inspired by nature.

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New videos “California Zephyr,” “Horizon,” and upcoming premiere in Boston

Posted in art and music, new recordings, performances on May 27th, 2014 by Nell

California Zephyr – Video and Music Online

This video and music piece inspired by a cross-country train trip, created for the NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble, was given an excellent premiere performance with video projection on April 28 in the Frederick Loewe Theatre at NYU. Now you can watch the video online with live musical recording. I hope you enjoy it!

Horizon: New York #1 & #2 – Dance & Music Films Online


The audience at my April 29th recital saw the world premiere screening of version #1 of Horizon: New York, a short film I created featuring wonderful dancer-choreographer Callie Lyons and cellist Fjóla Evans. There are actually two versions of the video, shot in two different locations in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Bridge Park and Prospect Park), both of which are now available for viewing online.

Premiere of Commissioned Work at Boston GuitarFest

When guitarist Devin Ulibarri – who I previously collaborated with in 2011 on Triptych – asked me to write a piece for him and flutist Alicia Mielke relating to Boston GuitarFest’s theme of “American Odyssey,” I gravitated towards the woodblock prints and ink and watercolor paintings of the Japanese-American artist Chiura Obata (1885-1975).

Devin and Alicia will premiere my Obata-inspired composition Dai-Shizen (Great Nature) at the Emerging Artists concert on the 9th annual Boston GuitarFest on Saturday, June 28 at 3:00pm in New England Conservatory’s Jordan HallVisit the Boston GuitarFest website to learn more about the concert.

The Coming of Spring: Success

Thank you to everyone who came out to see my recital and the staged workshop production of one-act monodrama The Coming of Spring on April 29. This was an extremely special evening for me and the audience response was very rewarding!

The performance was well documented and I’ll be sharing video and audio excerpts with you in the near future.

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Video of “The Winding Path” Performed by JACK Quartet

Posted in new recordings, performances on May 10th, 2013 by Nell
The acclaimed JACK Quartet gave an awesome premiere of my string quartet The Winding Path on April 23 at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village, New York City, along with nine fantastic works by my colleagues at New York University. See my previous post for more on this performance and my piece.
Enjoy the video!

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Recording of “Symphony No. 1”

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4th, 2013 by Nell

I was honored to be selected for the New York University Orchestra composer reading and recording session on November 19. The student orchestra had a brief rehearsal and run-through of the second movement of my Symphony No. 1, led by David Rosenmeyer, conductor.

You can listen to the recording on my website, alongside the reading of the first movement of the symphony from last spring by the New England Conservatory Philharmonia.

Listen to Symphony No. 1, first and second movements

Two more movements of this four-movement symphony have not yet been recorded.

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Reading of “The Sphinx and the Milky Way” for orchestra

Posted in art and music, performances on May 6th, 2011 by Nell
Charles Burchfield, The Sphinx and the Milky Way (1946)

Charles Burchfield, The Sphinx and the Milky Way, 1946. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY.

My tone poem for orchestra, The Sphinx and the Milky Way, received a reading on May 2nd, 2011 by the New England Conservatory Philharmonia under the baton of Andres Lopera, who is studying with Hugh Wolff. This piece, like my wind quintet Watercolors, was inspired by the paintings of Charles Burchfield.

Listen to an mp3 of the reading (duration ca. 5 minutes).

Please keep in mind that this is a reading, not a rehearsed performance.

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“Triptych” recording online

Posted in performances on May 6th, 2011 by Nell

Triptych for solo guitar (see this blog post for more about the piece) received a wonderful premiere performance by Devin Ulibarri on April 26th at Tuesday Night New Music. The recording of this piece is now online for your listening pleasure!

I – listen to mp3
II – listen to mp3
III – listen to mp3
(Total duration: ca. 7 mins)

Devin Ulibarri performs "Triptych"

Devin Ulibarri performs "Triptych"

Nell and Devin Ulibarri

Nell and Devin Ulibarri

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“The Faraway Nearby” premiere and recording session

Posted in The Faraway Nearby on November 13th, 2010 by Nell

** UPDATE: The Faraway Nearby is now available for viewing online!! Please visit thefaraway.org **

The live performance at Tuesday Night New Music

The premiere at Tuesday Night New Music

The Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe and the New Mexico Landscape has just received a very successful premiere screening with musical performance at New England Conservatory on the Tuesday Night New Music on a Wednesday concert on November 10. The piece was performed by a group of NEC students: Lisa Husseini (flute), Christopher Mothersole (clarinet), Wesley Chu (piano), Samantha Bennett (violin), and Marza Wilks (cello).

The ensemble performed  in front of a video projection, listening to a click track on headphones. I programmed the click to match the tempo of the mock-up MIDI track which the video was edited to, so the music in the performance was timed precisely to every cut in the video.

Although we’d rehearsed the music extensively beforehand, this was actually the first time that I’d heard/seen a performance of the music together with the video.

The ensemble with Nell after the performance

Nell with the ensemble

I was excited to discover that being to able to hear and see the musicians really lent a live energy to the video. This gave it the feeling of a true multimedia performance, not just a film screening. I hope to be able to organize repeat performances of this piece with live performers.

Today we went into the studio to record the score that will appear on the online version of the video and future screenings at venues that aren’t able to accomodate a live ensemble. The group knows the piece very well by now, so there was little need for rehearsal or fine-tuning in the studio, and things went very smoothly.

Now it’s left to choose the best take, to mix and master the score, and to adjust the video as needed so that the music and imagery is perfectly in synch.

In the studio

In the studio

Over the coming months I will be approaching galleries and museums, film festivals, and music ensembles with the aim of securing further screenings and performances outside of NEC. If you know of a venue, festival or ensemble that might be interested in this piece (10 minutes duration), either as a video with recorded music or with a live ensemble, please contact me at nell@nellshawcohen.com

** UPDATE: The Faraway Nearby is now available for viewing online!! Please visit thefaraway.org **

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