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.

Continue reading “Sauntering Songs (2022)”

Woman Walking (2020)

Soprano and piano. 5 mins.

Commissioned by Laura Strickling for The 40@40 Project.

Lyrics by Megan Cohen.

Perusal Score

View perusal score.

Performance score available for purchase. Please direct inquiries to Nell Shaw Cohen at

Program Note

A portrait of a solitary woman and present-day flâneuse as she saunters on city streets, taking it all in and going nowhere in particular. Inspired in part by Rebecca Solnit’s cultural history of walking, Wanderlust.

Related Content

Performance History
  • Laura Strickling, soprano and Daniel Schlosberg, piano; University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 3/2/22.
  • Laura Strickling, soprano and Daniel Schlosberg, piano; Thirsty Ears Festival, Chicago, IL, 8/14/22.
  • Laura Strickling, soprano and Daniel Schlosberg, piano; Baltimore Lieder Weekend, Baltimore, MD, 10/21/22.

Turn and Burn (2020)

Opera in one act for 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, baritone, and bass-baritone, with electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, drum set, 2 violins, viola, cello, and double bass. 71 mins.

Libretto by Megan Cohen. Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera for HGOco’s “Song of Houston” initiative. Recipient of OPERA America Commissioning Grant for Female Composers.

Barrel racer in black and white

In Turn and Burn, small-town barrel racing champion Shayla Taylor and ambitious executive Jamie Hernandez aim for a big win at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. When an accident threatens Shayla’s career-defining race, the women discover each other’s strength in adversity. Set in a colorful world of bucking broncs and carnival rides, composer Nell Shaw Cohen and librettist Megan Cohen’s original story informed by interviews with rodeo athletes offers a feminist perspective on contemporary rodeo culture.

Performance History

Workshop at Houston Grand Opera, Houston, TX, Geoffrey Loff, Conductor; 12/09/19.

World Premiere production originally scheduled for February 2021, postponed (due to COVID-19) to 2023 .