List of Works

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

Jump to:
1. Vocal Music
2. Chamber Music (Instrumental)
3. Large Ensemble
4. Multimedia

1. Vocal Music

NEW! Seeking repertoire for your choir or vocal ensemble? Check out my programming guide for choral directors.

  • THE FIRE TOWER (2023) – An opera in one act for soprano, mezzo-soprano, and piano. 24 mins.
  • SAUNTERING SONGS (2023) – Cantata for eight vocal soloists, SATB choir, flute, guitar (electric, acoustic, and classical), piano, and cello. 62 mins. Selections available for standalone performance:
  • 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/arr. 2022) – Soprano and piano (or mezzo-soprano, piano, and cello). 5 mins.
  • FALLEN STAR (2017, arr. 2020, 2022) – Baritone and piano (available in other transpositions and arrangements). 6 ½ minutes.
  • NEXT RODEO (2020) – Voice and country band. 3 ½ mins.
  • BLUE SHADOWS, SILVER SUNLIGHT (2019) – SATB choir. 9 mins. Selections available for standalone performance:
    • WINTER BRANCHES – SATB choir, 3 mins.
    • A WINTER BLUE JAY – SATB choir, 3 ½ mins.
    • A WINTER RIDE – SATB choir, 2 ½ mins.
  • TRANSFORM THE WORLD WITH BEAUTY (2019) – SATB vocal ensemble. 11 mins. Selections available for standalone performance:
    • MY FIRST CAMERA – SATB choir, 3 ½ mins.
    • IN AN ARTIST’S STUDIO – SSAA choir, 3 mins.
    • TRANSFORM THE WORLD WITH BEAUTY – SATB choir, 4 ½ mins.
  • MABEL’S CALL (2018) – Opera for 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass-baritone, and 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. Not available for purchase.
  • COMPOSER-LIBRETTIST STUDIO WORKS (2017) – Songs and scenes for 5 voices and piano. 27 minutes. Not available for purchase.
  • 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. Not available for purchase.
  • TO CREATE ONE’S OWN WORLD (2009) – Soprano, flute, bass clarinet, and marimba. 5 ½ mins. Not available for purchase.
  • 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. Not available for purchase.

2. Chamber Music (Instrumental)

  • LAMENT FOR THE LAND (2023) – Flute, violin, and cello. 4 minutes.
  • SUNBEAMS (2023) – Flute, violin, and cello. 2 ½ minutes.
  • BREATH OF THE MEADOW, HEART OF THE WOODLAND (2021) – Flute, clarinet, horn, percussion, violin, viola, and cello. 5 ½ minutes.
  • SYMBIOSIS (2021) – Harp. 9 minutes. Published by Presser (forthcoming). Not yet available for purchase.
  • 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. Selection available for standalone performance:
  • 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. Not available for purchase.
  • 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. Not available for purchase.
  • 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. Not available for purchase.
  • TIME-LAPSE (2007) – English horn, clarinet, viola, and cello. 4 mins. Not available for purchase.

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. Not available for purchase.
  • 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

The Fire Tower (2023)

An opera in one act for soprano, mezzo-soprano, and piano. 24 mins.

Black & white photograph of a fire tower on a mountain summit

Two intrepid women develop a bond of friendship during a trek deep into the wilderness. June, a first-time fire lookout, is radically reinventing herself following the unexpected death of her life partner. Ray is an experienced mule packer with a life-long love for the land, who struggles with hopelessness in the face of ecological crises.

Accompanied by pack mules, Ray guides June to her seasonal post at a rustic fire tower on a mountain summit in a non-motorized wilderness. During their journey the women are awed by vast landscapes, find moments of levity, and share their experiences with grief.

Set against a backdrop of climate crisis in the American West, The Fire Tower is an intimate portrait of two people in a pivotal moment searching for purpose.

Music & libretto by Nell Shaw Cohen.

Perusal Score

Available for workshop productions. Perusal score provided on request. Please direct inquiries to Nell Shaw Cohen at nell@nellshawcohen.com.

Upcoming Performances

Friday, November 17 & Sunday, November 19, 2023
UTSA Lyric Theatre – The Fire Tower
The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
UTSA Lyric Theatre presents a fully staged workshop production of The Fire Tower on an evening of short one-act operas titled Epigrams.
Get Tickets

Where the Buffalo Roam (2016/arr. 2023)

Flute, violin, and cello. 6 ½ mins.

A new arrangement of a selection from wildlife conservation suite Refuge.

Live recording of the World Premiere by Juventas New Music Ensemble (Nicholas Southwick, flute; Ryan Shannon, violin; and Matthew Smith, cello):

Perusal Score

View perusal score.

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

Program Note

“Where the Buffalo Roam” is a newly arranged selection from  Refuge: a narrative suite following the conservation stories of wild animals in National Parks. Each of these species offers a different perspective from which to reflect upon the National Park Service’s role in wildlife conservation and the diversity and fragility of life on Earth. I composed the piece for World Premiere by Cadillac Moon Ensemble at the Parrish Art Museum in 2016, in commemoration of the centennial year of the National Park Service.

Appearing on the official arrowhead emblem of the National Park Service and the seal of the Department of the Interior, the American bison (commonly known as the “buffalo”) is this country’s symbol for conservation and national parks. Designated as the first national mammal of the United States, bison also have an iconic cultural importance for America, rooted in their centrality to indigenous peoples and their role in early pioneer culture.

Bison have one of the most successful and controversial narratives of wildlife conservation, steeped in a history of tensions between violence and protection, oppression and collaboration, loss and triumph, and private and public interests. Through the story of the American bison, we find many key thematic threads of the greater American experience.

In “Where the Buffalo Roam,” I sought to create a highly condensed musical narrative depicting moments from the history of the bison in Yellowstone National Park. This piece is built around a quotation from the nostalgic pioneer song, “Home On the Range” (“Oh, give me a home where the Buffalo roam”), which was written in the 1870s by Brewster Higley and popularized by Bing Crosby and Gene Autry, among others. Through my piece, I transform a snippet of this sentimental tune through three sections to evoke a condensed glimpse of the bison’s history.

In the first section, Wild, I utilize glassy sul tasto strings and a quiet, gently rhythmic texture to envision the bison in its prehistoric state: balanced, roaming free, hunted and venerated by the Great Plains tribes. The arrival of homesick pioneers soon gives way to the second section, Hunted: aggressive scalar runs suggest the mass hunting of bison by pioneers and the U.S. Army. The near-extinction of the bison is conveyed by a sudden thinning of texture to a series of soft, eerie chords. Out of this nadir builds Renewed, culminating in a final, full expression of the “Home In the Range” melody. This ending suggests a hopeful vision for bison’s flourishing today in Yellowstone and a future in which we might someday live in balance with wild nature.

Related Content
Performance History
  • Juventas New Music Ensemble, The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, 7/16/23.

Visit the Refuge page for the performance history of this selection as part of the complete suite in its original scoring for quartet.

Lament for the Land (2023)

Flute, violin, and cello. 4 mins.

Live recording of the World Premiere by Juventas New Music Ensemble (Nicholas Southwick, flute; Ryan Shannon, violin; and Matthew Smith, cello):

Perusal Score

View perusal score.

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

Program Note

Lament for the Land expresses the grief many of us feel over humanity’s broken relationship with our environment, and the hopeful yearning for a healed Earth that guides our actions. Adapted from music originally composed for an opera with libretto by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen.

Related Content
Performance History
  • Juventas New Music Ensemble, The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, 7/16/23.

Sunbeams (2023)

Flute, violin, and cello. 2 ½ mins.

Live recording of the World Premiere by Juventas New Music Ensemble (Nicholas Southwick, flute; Ryan Shannon, violin; and Matthew Smith, cello):

Perusal Score

View perusal score.

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

Program Note

A miniature inspired by Edvard Munch’s 1912 painting “The Sun,” this World Premiere was composed for World Premiere at The Clark Art Institute’s Community Day.

Related Content
Performance History
  • Juventas New Music Ensemble, The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, 7/16/23.

Trespassing (2023)

Tenor, flute, and piano. 4 mins.

Selection from Sauntering Songs: a concert-length cantata on the theme of walking, commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble.

Lyrics by Nell Shaw Cohen.

Watercolor painting of British countryside behind stone wall with gate.
“Trespassing” by Nell Shaw Cohen, 2023. Watercolor on paper.
Perusal Score

View perusal score.

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

Program Note

A man rambles through a countryside of contested ownership, reclaiming his ancestral landscape.

“Trespassing” is a selection from Sauntering Songs: a concert-length cantata on the theme of walking, commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble. My lyrics for this song were inuenced by historical and contemporary “right to roam” movements in Britain (captured in Ewan MacColl’s folk song “Manchester Rambler”); as well as Raja Shehadeh’s book Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape, a heartbreaking tribute to the Arab sarha (which means “to roam freely, at will, without restraint”).

This song is dedicated to walkers whose homelands have become someone else’s property.

Performance History

Visit the Sauntering Songs page for performance history.

Rare Bird (2023)

Tenor, baritone, electric guitar, and piano. 4 1/2 mins.

Selection from Sauntering Songs: a concert-length cantata on the theme of walking, commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble.

Lyrics by Nell Shaw Cohen.

Sensitivity Consultant: Dr. Kassandra Ford (Website).

Watercolor painting of an Indigo Bunting perched on a branch with yellow background
Painting by Nell Shaw Cohen
Perusal Score

View perusal score.

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

Program Note

Two friends stroll in a suburb, identifying birds together.

“Rare Bird” is a selection from Sauntering Songs: a concert-length cantata on the theme of walking, commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble. The lyrical works of author, poet, and wildlife biologist J. Drew Lanham were the animating inspiration behind this duet, including my use of the title phrase; alongside essays by Carolyn Finney and Evelyn C. White, among others, about their experiences of being Black outdoors.

This duet is dedicated to walkers for whom being outdoors alone isn’t always safe.

Performance History

Visit the Sauntering Songs page for performance history.