Sauntering Songs (2022)

Cantata for 2 sopranos, 2 mezzo-sopranos, 2 tenors, baritone, bass-baritone, and SATB chamber choir, with flute, guitar (electric, acoustic, and classical), piano, and cello. 62 minutes.

Commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble.

Photograph of dirt path through grassy hills, a figure walking in the distance

A love letter to wanderlust, this World Premiere commission weaves together art songs, choral music, and literature into an expansive cantata on the theme of walking.

Influences from rock, folk, and musical theater shine in a lyrical and evocative score by composer/librettist Nell Shaw Cohen, marrying the voices of three-time GRAMMY®-nominee Skylark with an instrumental quartet comprised of guitarist James Moore and musicians from Juventas New Music Ensemble.

From Walt Whitman to the present day, Sauntering Songs celebrates diverse characters who search for freedom and fulfillment through subversive journeys on foot.


Music & Libretto by Nell Shaw Cohen
With texts by John Clare, Megan Cohen, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, John Francis, John Muir, Nan Shepherd, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Woolf.

Dramaturg: Megan Cohen (Website)
Sensitivity Consultant for song “Best Friend”: Laura Elliott (Twitter)
Sensitivity Consultant for song “Rare Bird”: Dr. Kassandra Ford (Website)

Photograph of Skylark Vocal Ensemble, wearing black and dark plum concert dress, standing in a semicircle and smiling toward the camera in a grassy outdoor setting
Skylark Vocal Ensemble
Juventas New Music Ensemble in concert dress, standing under a tree and holding their instruments as they face the camera
Juventas New Music Ensemble
Black and white photograph of James Moore, looking towards the camera
James Moore, Guitar
Upcoming Performances

Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 7:00pm EDT
Falmouth Academy, Falmouth, MA
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Friday, April 21, 2023 at 7:00pm EDT
Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, MA
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Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 7:00pm EDT
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Newburyport, MA
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This score will become available for purchase on April 24, 2023. If you’d like to be notified at that time, please inquire with Nell Shaw Cohen at