New York City native Michael Cohen has a diverse and expansive career as a composer. His many compositions include works for chamber ensemble, musical theater, opera, and television. He attended the High School of Music and Art and the Dalcroze School of Music, graduated cum laude from Brandeis University, and studied composition with Harold Shapero and Irving Fine.

Following his discharge from the United States Army, Cohen held positions as Music Director on the flagship of the Norwegian American line, Associate Music Director at Atlanta’s Music Under the Stars, Dance Composer and Arranger at Tamiment resort, and Music Director at Green Mansions, a venue which produced weekly live theater events. During his time at Green Mansions, Cohen hired the yet undiscovered Madeline Kahn and a long friendship developed. He composed several songs for Madeline, including Das Chicago Song, which she sang for her Broadway debut in New Faces of 1968 and later for an audition with Mel Brooks for a role in Blazing Saddles. In 1969, Cohen established the music department at Grey Advertising in New York City, and over a period of 30 years as Senior Vice President, Director of Music, produced and composed thousands of commercials, winning multiple Clio awards.

In 1981, he teamed up with librettist Linsey Abrams to write Rappacinni’s Daughter, a two-act opera based on Natheniel Hawthorne’s short story Rappacinni’s Daughter. A finalist in the New York City Opera competition, it was later developed at the Eugene O’Neill Center, and at Minnesota Opera. Cohen and writer Enid Futterman collaborated on Yours, Anne, a music-theater piece based on The Diary of Anne Frank. Yours, Anne has been performed in many U.S. cities, as well as in England, Holland, Brazil, and Japan. The success of the musical resulted in two commissioned works– the song cycle I Am Anne Frank, performed by Andrea Marcovicci and the American Symphony Orchestra for the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards at Lincoln Center, and I Remember, a chamber work which premiered at the US Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Cohen scored and arranged A Passover Seder, a 1995 PBS television program presented by author and Nobel Laureate, Elie Weisel. He has received numerous commissions from the Concert Artists Guild, Serenata, Music Amici, the Manhattan Brass Quintet, and the trio Windsong. His composition, To Be A Child, was premiered at the Copland Heritage Society’s official opening of the Aaron Copland home to the public. Cohen has served as a board member for the Concert Artists Guild, The Center for Contemporary Opera, and The American Society for Jewish Music. He is a member of ASCAP.

Albums

Piano Spectrums

Release Date: April 8, 2022
Catalog Number: NV6413
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Piano
Acclaimed pianist Anna Kislitsyna stuns on PIANO SPECTRUMS, a profoundly emotive selection of aesthetic contemporary pieces – and a world-class interpretation ranging from tender filigree to unbridled, seething virtuosity. Ten contemporary composers share their works on this album with an eclectic program, both in terms of styles and subject matters. All the more outstanding, then, is how Kislitsyna scintillates with her wonderful, singing touch and musical sensitivity, effortlessly unifying ten unique voices into an album that is greater than the sum of its parts.
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A Song For Silenced Voices

Release Date: February 4, 2022
Catalog Number: NV6405
21st Century
Chamber
Solo Instrumental
Piano
String Quartet
Voice
New York City native Michael Cohen surprises with a formidable cross section of his oeuvre, the splendidly and mysteriously named A SONG FOR SILENCED VOICES. Narrowly skirting traditional notions of (a)tonality, this selection of works leaps to and fro between collected serenity and impassioned melodicism. The setups are as diverse as the music: A SONG FOR SILENCED VOICES includes a string quartet, an excerpt of Cohen's opera Rappaccini's Daughter, a Prelude for Piano, a chamber/vocal work titled I Remember based on works from his musical Yours, Anne, as well as the album's namesake piece, which happens to be not a song, but a duo for cello and piano.
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Moto Eterno

Release Date: March 26, 2021
Catalog Number: NV6341
21st Century
Chamber
Piano Trio
Ten international composers showcase their respective styles on MOTO ETERNO, the latest installment of NAVONA's successful MOTO chamber music series. Like the previous MOTO releases, MOTO ETERNO is the result of a wide-ranging Call For Scores and a scrupulous selection process. Acclaimed piano trio Trio Casals (Ovidiu Marinescu, cello; Alexandr Kislitsyn, violin; Anna Kislitsyna, piano), masterfully perform their favorite picks.
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