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).
  • Fort Worth Opera, Frontiers new works showcase featuring excerpt from chamber opera Mabel’s Call (May 2-3, 2018).
  • University of New Mexico, UNM Opera Theatre, Composer-in-Residence and workshop production of chamber opera Mabel’s Call and  (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
  • 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.
  • 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

Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 3:00pm

Fallen Star at New Dramatists (event website)
424 W 44th Street, New York, New York
Workshop of Fallen Star, a music-theater collaboration with playwright Mashuq Mushtaq Deen. Featuring Charity Wicks, music director; Cori Ellison, dramaturg; and performances by Camille Harris, Blake Friedman, and Nicole Mitchell. Free admission, RSVP online.

Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 7:30pm

Mabel’s Call at Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers (event website)
Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St, Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers showcase offers audiences a first look at the developmental processes for operas. A 20-minute excerpt of Nell’s chamber opera Mabel’s Call will be featured in a concert reading with piano accompaniment. Tickets are $10, purchase online.

See more 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.