Nell Shaw Cohen is a composer, librettist, and multimedia artist based in New York City. She evokes visual art, natural landscapes, and the lives of mavericks and artists in lyrical works from orchestral tone poems to mobile apps.

Upcoming Engagements
  • Houston Grand Opera, HGOco Song of Houston chamber opera commission for a “feminist rodeo opera” with librettist Megan Cohen (Spring 2021).
  • University of New Mexico, UNM Opera Theatre, Composer-in-Residence and workshop production of chamber opera Mabel’s Call (Fall 2018).
  • Montage Music Society, commission for a piano trio inspired by the installations of Andy Goldsworthy (Spring 2019).
  • 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.
  • Composer for play The Betterment Society by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, developed through Page 73 Yale Summer Residency and New York Theatre Workshop.
Mailing List

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Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 7:30pm

Into nowhere
Northwest Florida State College, Niceville, Florida (event page)
The Bold City Contemporary Ensemble performs works selected from their annual Call for Scores, including the first movement of Nell’s Into nowhere for flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello. Free admission; no tickets required.

Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 7:00pm

Human Child Lullaby and Sorting Photos
London House, Goodenough College, Bloomsbury, London UK (presenter website)
An evening of arias and songs, including two of Nell’s works written with playwright and librettist Edward Einhorn, featuring students from Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

See more 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.