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).
  • Skylark Vocal Ensemble, commission for choral work inspired by Victorian visual artists (Spring 2019).
  • 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 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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Upcoming Events

Friday, November 2, 2018
Saturday, November 3, 2018
SUnday, November 4, 2018

Mabel’s Call at University of New Mexico Opera Theatre
Keller Hall, UNM, Albuquerque, New Mexico (presenter website)
Full-length workshop production of Nell’s 85-minute chamber opera Mabel’s Call, featuring six soloists, chorus, and a seven-piece chamber ensemble. Stage direction by Leslie Umphrey and music direction by Kristin Ditlow. Performances times and tickets TBA.

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.