List of Works

Unless otherwise indicated, the following works are published by Faraway Nearby (ASCAP). Scores are available for perusal and purchase on request. Please direct inquiries to Nell Shaw Cohen at nell@nellshawcohen.com.

1. Vocal Music

  • SAUNTERING SONGS (in development) – Concert-length cantata for eight vocal soloists, SATB choir, flute, guitar, piano, and cello.
  • THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS (in development) – Opera in one act for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, child soprano, SSA choir, and chamber ensemble.
  • 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.
  • IT’S A LONG WAY (2020) – SATB choir. 2 ½ mins.
  • WOMAN WALKING (2020) – Soprano and piano. 5 mins.
  • FALLEN STAR (2017, arr. 2020) – Baritone and piano. 6 ½ minutes.
  • NEXT RODEO (2020) – Voice and country band. 3 ½ mins.
  • BLUE SHADOWS, SILVER SUNLIGHT (2019) – SATB choir. 9 mins.
  • TRANSFORM THE WORLD WITH BEAUTY (2019) – SATB vocal ensemble. 11 mins.
  • MABEL’S CALL (2018) – Opera for 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass-baritone, and optional SATB chorus, with flute, oboe, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, and double bass. 90 mins.
  • COME TO THE EDGE (2017/18) – Voice and acoustic guitar. 4 mins.
  • COMPOSER-LIBRETTIST STUDIO WORKS (2017) – Songs and scenes for 5 voices and piano. 27 minutes.
  • LEAD ON AND UP (2016) – Mezzo-soprano and piano. 5 mins.
  • SORTING PHOTOS (2016) – Soprano and piano. 5 mins.
  • WHAT IF? (2015) – Bass-baritone and piano. 3 mins.
  • BURY ME (2015) – Baritone and piano. 4 mins.
  • DEAR MRS. CARR (2015) – Tenor and piano. 5 mins.
  • THE COMING OF SPRING (2014) – Monodrama for tenor with flute/piccolo, oboe/English horn, clarinet/bass clarinet, horn, bassoon, and piano. 36 mins.
  • CRESCENT MEADOW (2014) – SATB choir. 4 ½ mins.
  • I LIKE TO PLAY WITH HIM (2011) – Soprano and piano. 4 mins.
  • I DREAM’D IN A DREAM (2011) – SATB choir or vocal ensemble. 11 mins.
  • TO CREATE ONE’S OWN WORLD (2009) – Soprano, flute, bass clarinet, and marimba. 5 ½ mins.
  • REVEALED IN STONE (2009) – Tenor and piano. 11 mins.
    Arrangement for tenor and flute (alto flute), oboe (English horn), clarinet (bass clarinet), horn, bassoon, percussion, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass. 11 mins.
  • SONGS FOR BARITONE (2008) – Baritone and piano.  7 mins.
  • FORMING DESIRES (2008) – Mezzo-soprano, clarinet, horn, and cello. 8 mins.
  • MEMORY (2007) – Soprano, alto, tenor bass. 12 ½ mins.

2. Chamber Music (Instrumental)

  • BREATH OF THE MEADOW, HEART OF THE WOODLAND (2021) – Flute, clarinet, horn, percussion, violin, viola, and cello. 5 ½ minutes.
  • A SEA OTTER IN THE KELP FOREST, A PORCUPINE IN THE HEMLOCK TREES, and A HONEY BEE IN THE WILDFLOWERS (2021) – Harp. 9 minutes. (Published by Presser; forthcoming)
  • SPIRAL TEMPLE (2021) – 2 trumpets, horn, tenor trombone, bass trombone, and tuba. 8 mins.
  • TRANSFORMING FOREST (2018) – Violin, cello, and piano. 12 ½ mins.
  • RETRACE (2018) – Flute, violin, and cello. 7 ½ mins.
  • WALKS AT BRUSH CREEK (2017) – Piano. 9 mins.
  • REFUGE (2016) – Flute (piccolo), percussion, violin, and cello. 16 ½ mins.
  • WANDERLUST (2015) – Guitar quartet. 13 ½ mins.
  • DAI-SHIZEN (GREAT NATURE) (2014) – Flute and guitar. 10 ½ mins.
  • CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR (2014) – Video with music for piccolo, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello, and bass. 8 mins.
  • THE WINDING PATH (2013) – String quartet. 7 mins.
  • HORIZON (2013) – Cello. 7 1/2 mins.
  • THREE DECORATIONS (2013) – Percussion trio. 5 mins.
  • SEXTET (2012) – Oboe, bassoon, trumpet, harpsichord, violin, and viola. 8 ½ mins.
  • SAN MARCO (2012) – Trumpet with digital samples and live processing. 3 mins.
  • PLACES IN THE BAY AREA (2012/13) – Flute (piccolo) and piano (2012). 8 mins.
  • SETSUGEKKA (2011) – Violin and piano. 5 ½ mins.
  • WATERCOLORS (2011) – Flute (piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn. 15 mins.
  • TRIPTYCH (2011) – Guitar. 7 mins.
  • INTO NOWHERE (2010) – Flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello. 19 mins.
  • TREES (2009/10) – Four C flutes, alto flute, and bass flute. 7 mins.
    Arrangement for two oboes and harpsichord. 7 mins.
  • DUET (2009) – Flute and bassoon. 7 ½ mins.
  • NINE MUSES (2009) – Miniatures for solo flute, violin, and harp. 13 ½ minutes.
  • THE COURSE OF EMPIRE (2008) – String quartet. 15 mins.
  • THE PROMISE (2008) – Trumpet, 2 violins, viola, and cello. 11 mins.
  • TIME-LAPSE (2007) – English horn, clarinet, viola, and cello. 4 mins.

3. Large Ensemble

  • POINT REYES FROM CHIMNEY ROCK (2014) – Orchestra (piccolo, flute, 2 oboes, clarinet in Bb, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, 3 percussion, harp, strings). 7 mins.
  • SYMPHONY NO. 1 (2012) – Orchestra (piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets in Bb, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, strings). 17 ½ mins.
  • THE SPHINX AND THE MILKY WAY (2011) – Orchestra. 5 mins.
  • FANTASY FOR WINDS (2010) – Wind ensemble (piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet in Bb, bass clarinet, 2 bassoon, 4 horn, 2 trumpet, 3 trombone, tuba, timpani, 3 percussion, piano). 6 mins.
  • FROM THE FARAWAY NEARBY (2009) – Orchestra (piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet in Bb, bass clarinet, bassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, strings). 6 mins.

4. Multimedia

Breath of the Meadow, Heart of the Woodland (2021)

Flute, clarinet, horn, percussion, violin, viola, and cello. 5 ½ minutes.

Commissioned by American Wild Ensemble, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Landscape Music, and Michigan Technological University Department of Visual and Performing Arts to commemorate the 2022 bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted.

Score

This score will become available for purchase on January 1, 2023. If you’d like to be notified at that time, please inquire with Nell Shaw Cohen at nell@nellshawcohen.com.

Program Note

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted described urban parks as “the lungs of the city.” My music responds to Olmsted & Calvert Vaux’s expression of this metaphor through the iconic meadows and woodlands of New York City’s Prospect Park (1867) and Central Park (1858).

A lyrical theme, accompanied by sustained chords held against the flow of undulating triplets, opens and closes the piece. This music evokes the parks’ meadows, where the human body and the body of the landscape are connected through shared “breath.” Stepping off a busy sidewalk into these wide open spaces, the sensation of my lungs filling with fresh air feels like the echo of a gentle breeze blowing through treetops and grasses.

A middle section of syncopated rhythms and sinuous counterpoint recalls the parks’ winding woodland interiors, which reflect the “heart” of both visitor and landscape. These woodlands are spaces for contemplation and intimate conversation, where dense forest gives cover to an enigmatic network of footpaths.

Even as I cherish these two parks, I find their present-day terrain obfuscates a complex history. Seneca Village (1825-1857) was a vibrant Black community, which New York City’s government forcibly vacated in order to build Central Park. Both parks continue to occupy Lenapehoking: the unceded homeland of the Lenape.

The concept of parks as “lungs” may have come from Olmsted’s work in public health during the Civil War. Yet this idea feels strikingly poignant in our own time of pandemic and climate crisis, and has given inspiration and impetus to my music.

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Performance History
  • Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, 10/09/22.
  • American Wild Ensemble (Emlyn Johnson, flute, Ellen Breakfield-Glick, clarinet, Joel Ockerman, horn, Lauren Cauley, violin, Molly Goldman, viola, Daniel Ketter, cello, Colleen Bernstein, percussion), Highland Park, Rochester, NY, 8/07/22.
  • Juventas New Music Ensemble (Wei Zhao, flute, Wolcott Humphrey, clarinet, Anne Howarth, horn, Jesse MacDonald, violin, Lu Yu, viola, Minjin Chung, cello, Tom Schmidt, percussion), Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, Brookline, MA, 6/04/22.
  • American Wild Ensemble (Emlyn Johnson, flute, Ellen Breakfield-Glick, clarinet, Joel Ockerman, horn, Lauren Cauley, violin, Molly Goldman, viola, Daniel Ketter, cello, Colleen Bernstein, percussion), CCNY Spitzer School of Architecture, New York, NY, 5/28/22.
  • American Wild Ensemble (Emlyn Johnson, flute, Ellen Breakfield-Glick, clarinet, Joel Ockerman, horn, Lauren Cauley, violin, Molly Goldman, viola, Daniel Ketter, cello, Colleen Bernstein, percussion), Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, 5/28/22.
  • Juventas New Music Ensemble (Wei Zhao, flute, Wolcott Humphrey, clarinet, Anne Howarth, horn, Ryan Shannon, violin, Lu Yu, viola, Minjin Chung, cello, Tom Schmidt, percussion), Multicultural Arts Center. East Cambridge, MA, 3/26/22.

It’s a Long Way (2020)

SATB choir. 2 1/2 mins.

Commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble.

Hear Skylark Vocal Ensemble’s brand new studio recording of It’s a Long Way, featured as the title track of their newest album! Available for purchase directly from Skylark and streaming on SpotifyApple Music, and Amazon Music.

Watch a concert film of It’s a Long Way performed by Skylark Vocal Ensemble.

Listen to the World Premiere virtual quartet recording, made for educational use by Skylark Vocal Ensemble:

Watch a performance by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Southeastern District (SEMMEA) Senior Festival Choir of 2021:

Perusal Score

View the perusal score.

Performance score is available for purchase. Please direct inquiries to Nell Shaw Cohen at nell@nellshawcohen.com.

Continue reading “It’s a Long Way (2020)”

Fallen Star (2017/arr. 2020)

Baritone and piano. 6 1/2 mins.

Lyrics by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen.

Perusal Score

View perusal score.

Performance score available for purchase. Please direct inquiries to Nell Shaw Cohen at nell@nellshawcohen.com.

Also available as part of NewMusicShelf Anthology of New Music: Trans & Nonbinary Voices, Vol. 1.

Program Note

Fallen Star was written in 2017 within the New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, an intensive laboratory for 36-hour music-theater collaborations, co-directed by Ben Krywosz and Roger Ames of Nautilus Music-Theater. Mashuq Mushtaq Deen and I created Fallen Star in response to a prompt from baritone Joshua Hinck to write a song with themes from Classical mythology and supporting roles for soprano and mezzo. In doing so, Deen also incorporated our shared love of the American West, and the transcendent night skies of Northern New Mexico, into his brilliant lyric. This was our first of several collaborations as composer and lyricist. I recently created this new arrangement of Fallen Star, adapting the characters of Venus and Callisto into a work for a solo performer, and hope it may reach new audiences in this form.

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Performance History

Nashua Pride Festival, Melina Jaharis, mezzo-soprano. Nashua Community Music School, Nashua, NH, 6/25/22.

New Dramatists, arrangement for three voices presented as part of music-theater workshop. Blake Friedman, Nicole Mitchell, and Camille Harris, vocalists, with Charity Wicks, piano. New York NY, 4/19/18.

New Dramatists, arrangement for three voices presented as part of public working session at culmination of the New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio. Joshua Hinck, Mallory Hawks, and Lucia Rodrique, vocalists, with Roger Ames, piano. New York NY, 02/03/17.

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 nell@nellshawcohen.com.

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.

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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 .