Composer/vocalist Gerald Cohen is equally at home in the composition of chamber music, choral music, opera, and liturgical music, for all of which he has won awards and praise, and for which Gramophone Magazine noted his “linguistic fluidity and melodic gift”. Cohen’s compositions are published by Oxford University Press, G. Schirmer/AMP and Transcontinental Music Publications. A CD of his compositions, entitled Generations, is on the Composers Recordings, Inc. label, and includes chamber, choral and solo vocal works, including performances by the composer.
His operas Sarah and Hagar, a two-act opera based on the story from the book of Genesis, and Seed, a one-act opera about love and choices for a post-apocalyptic Adam and Eve, have been performed in concert form. His recent two-act opera Steal a Pencil for Me, based on a true concentration camp love story, had its semi-staged concert premiere in New York in April 2013.
Recent honors in composition include an Artist Residency in American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program, the 2008 Borromeo String Quartet Award of the Aaron Copland House, a 2007 Aaron Copland Award, the Westchester Prize for New Work, the American Composers Forum Faith Partners residency, and the Cantors Assembly’s Max Wohlberg Award for distinguished achievement in the field of Jewish composition.
Cohen has received commissioning grants from Meet the Composer/National Endowment for the Arts and from the New York State Council on the Arts/Westchester Arts Council; residencies at The MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Yaddo; as well as Yale University’s Sudler Prize for outstanding achievement in the creative arts.
Cohen’s music has been commissioned by chamber ensembles including the Cassatt String Quartet, the Verdehr Trio, the Franciscan String Quartet, Chesapeake Chamber Music, the Degas String Quartet (with trombonist Haim Avitsur), the Wave Hill Trio, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Brass Quintet; by choruses including the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Canticum Novum Singers, the Syracuse Children’s Chorus, St. Bartholomew’s Church (New York, NY), the Zamir Chorale of Boston, and the Usdan Center Chorus; by the Cantors Assembly of America, the Westchester Youth Symphony, and by the Battery Dance Company, which performed his Songs of Tagore on tours of India and Eastern Europe.
His music has also been performed by the Borromeo String Quartet, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Westchester Philharmonic, the Riverside Symphony, the Plymouth Music Series Orchestra, the New York Concert Singers, Princeton Pro Musica, and many other ensembles and soloists.
Cohen received a B.A in music from Yale University and a D.M.A in composition from Columbia University. He is Cantor at Shaarei Tikvah Congregation in Scarsdale, N.Y. and is on the faculties of the cantorial schools of The Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College.
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