Nell Shaw Cohen is a composer, librettist, and multimedia artist based in Brooklyn. She evokes landscapes, visual art, and the lives of mavericks in lyrical works for the stage, concert hall, and digital media.

Upcoming Engagements
  • Houston Grand Opera, HGOco Song of Houston chamber opera commission for Turn and Burn, a “feminist rodeo opera” with librettist Megan Cohen (Spring 2021).
  • Skylark Vocal Ensemble, commission for choral work inspired by Victorian visual artists (Spring 2019).
  • Montage Music Society, commission for Transforming Forest, a piano trio inspired by the land art installations of Andy Goldsworthy (Spring 2019).
  • University of New Mexico, UNM Opera Theatre, Guest Artist residency and Workshop Production of chamber opera Mabel’s Call (Fall 2018).
  • Director of Landscape Music: Rivers & Trails national concert series with the Landscape Music Composers Network (Fall 2018).
Recent Engagements
  • Fort Worth Opera Frontiers showcase, featured excerpts from opera Mabel’s Call.
  • American Opera Projects, Composers & the Voice fellowship.
  • Nautilus Music-Theater, Composer-Librettist Studio at New Dramatists.
  • Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Artist-in-Residence.
  • The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Artist-in-Residence.
  • New Dramatists, five-day workshop of music-theater work Fallen Star with playwright Mashuq Mushtaq Deen.
  • Page 73 Yale Summer Residency and New York Theatre Workshop, Guest Artist in theater workshops.
Mailing List

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Featuring Upcoming Events

Friday, November 2, 2018 at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 7:30pm
SUnday, November 4, 2018 at 2:00pm

Mabel’s Call at University of New Mexico Opera Theatre
Keller Hall, UNM, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Event Website
Workshop production of Mabel’s Call, Nell’s 85-minute chamber opera, featuring six soloists, chorus, and a seven-piece chamber ensemble. Stage Direction and Production by Leslie Umphrey and Sam Shepperson and Music Direction by Dr. Kristin Ditlow. Free pre-performance symposium with author Lois Rudnick one hour before each performance. Nell will be a Guest Artist in residency with UNM Opera Theatre during Fall 2018.

Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 7:30pm

Juventas New Music Ensemble presents Landscape Music: Rivers & Trails 
First Church Boston, Boston, MA
Event Website

Juventas New Music Ensemble performs the co-premiere of Retrace, Nell’s work for flute, violin, and cello inspired by the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Part of Landscape Music: Rivers & Trailsa nationwide initiative coordinated by the Landscape Music Composers Network to commemorate the 50th Anniversaries of the National Trails System Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

See the complete list of upcoming events.

Featured Works


A chamber opera in one act, set in New Mexico, inspired by the life of Mabel Dodge Luhan: an early 20th century writer, philanthropist, and international icon of the avant-garde. Learn more.

REFUGE (2016)

A narrative suite for chamber ensemble following the conservation stories of three wild animals and their habitats in national parks. Composed in commemoration of the centennial of the National Park Service. Learn more.


A monodrama for tenor and chamber ensemble based on the writings and paintings of Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967). Learn more.


An orchestral tone poem inspired by the coastal landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area and a woodblock print by contemporary artist Tom Killion. Learn more.


A work for solo piano written during an Artist Residency at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming, and inspired by the landscape of Brush Creek Ranch. Learn more.