Choral Music

Compositions with chorus and instrumental accompaniment.

Click on a title below for more information.

Unless otherwise noted, all scores (and parts) are available by contacting me directly
at gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com.


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Commissioned for American Composers Forum’s Faith Partners residency

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Adonai Ro’i was originally written, on the loss of a dear friend, as a solo a cappella melody.  I am a cantor, and a dear friend and congregant died of cancer at the age of 42 in 1989.  Her husband asked me to sing at her funeral, and I decided to write a setting of Psalm 23, which is traditionally sung at Jewish funerals and memorial services.  This was indeed one of those cases of a piece of music just writing itself, in the course of perhaps 30 minutes, as I was filled with the emotions of my friend’s death.

As I started singing the piece at other services, I received a very strong response to it, and decided to make a piano accompaniment.  This was published in 1995, and soon was used by cantors all over the country, as well as in churches and other services and concerts.  It is a very curious thing for a composer:  I write many pieces of music of all kinds, and it is hard to know exactly why one particular piece captures people’s emotions so strongly, but that is what happened with this particular piece.

I was soon asked by the Zamir Chorale of Boston to write a version for SATB chorus, and that version has also been widely performed.  I have also arranged it for solo voice and orchestra, and chorus and orchestra; these versions have been performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony.

I just have to assume that the piece somehow taps into the strong emotions that I felt as I was writing it (I had also lost my father about 8 years before, so I am sure that loss is present as well), and that this then communicates itself to performers, listeners, and mourners.  Six years ago, I had the sad but powerful experience of singing the piece at my mother’s funeral.

I am grateful that this piece has become a way for so many to express deep and delicate feelings.  I hope that, if it is a piece that is meaningful to you, that you will feel free to contact me about your experience with it.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

by Eric Haines Hebrew liturgy provides blessings for every major event in the Jewish life cycle. Blessings for children, weddings, the Kaddish, the Kol Nidre and the Song of Solomon have inspired composers to write works that deserve a place on the concert stage. The Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival ended its three-concert season on Tuesday […]

Sheila Steinman Wallace

by Sheila Steinman Wallace In one of the most cohesive and moving concerts I have heard from this community chorus, Voces Novae presented “Choral Portraits: Gerald Cohen, Eleanor Daley and Eric Whitacre” on Sunday, March 7. … Gerald Cohen’s “Adonai Ro’i” (Psalm 23) has long been a personal favorite. The chorus and soloist Sarah Nettleton […]

“The loveliest setting of the 23rd Psalm that I know of is by Gerald Cohen. It is available in both solo and choral versions from Transcontinental Music. I have performed this many times in many different contexts and it never fails to get a reaction from someone — “Who wrote that piece????” — because it is so incredibly beautiful. Trust me, you’ll love it!”

Cantor Anna Ott
Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple
New Brunswick, NJ
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Commissioned for American Composers Forum’s Faith Partners residency

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Commissioned by The New York Virtuoso Singers, Harold Rosenbaum, cond., as a winner of the Westchester Prize for New Works
***Note: Final movement of this piece, The ocean of peace lies ahead of me, is published by G. Schirmer/AMP

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Commissioned by Cantabile Chamber Chorale

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  1. **Bless Adonai who spins day into dusk
  2. The heavens express your fire

Commissioned by the Horace Mann School, Bronx, NY 

**published by Transcontinental Music Publications

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Commissioned by Temple Shaaray Tefila, New York

Published by Oxford University Press

The Louisville Courier-Journal

by Andrew Adler For Frank A. Heller III, every concert describes a small journey of inner space. Voces Novae, the chorus he trains and nurtures season after season, looks first to the spirit present within each of its singers, and by extension his audiences. It’s no exaggeration to call Heller’s perspective a pan-theistic, summoning faiths […]

Sheila Steinman Wallace

by Sheila Steinman Wallace In one of the most cohesive and moving concerts I have heard from this community chorus, Voces Novae presented “Choral Portraits: Gerald Cohen, Eleanor Daley and Eric Whitacre” on Sunday, March 7. … Gerald Cohen’s “Adonai Ro’i” (Psalm 23) has long been a personal favorite. The chorus and soloist Sarah Nettleton […]

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A setting of the weekday evening service, for cantor, chorus, clarinet and piano
Commissioned by the Cantors Assembly

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Commissioned for American Composers Forum’s Faith Partners residency

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Commissioned by the Cantors Assembly for HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir

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Commissioned by Congregation B’nai Israel, Sylvania, OH

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Commissioned by Cantabile Chamber Chorus

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Commissioned by the Connecticut Hebrew Chorale

Published by Oxford University Press

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Commissioned by the Canticum Novum Singers

Published by Transcontinental Music Publications

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Poem by Walt Whitman
Children’s Aid Society Chorus Commission Award 2007

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Commissioned by Zemer Chai, Washington, D.C.

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Commissioned for American Composers Forum’s Faith Partners residency

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Commissioned by the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts

Published by Oxford University Press

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Text by Elie Wiesel
Commissioned by Kol Dodi Community Chorus

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Commissioned by Temple Beth Shalom, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

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Arrangement for SATB chorus, clarinet, cello and piano (1999)
Commissioned by the Syracuse Children’s Chorus, Barbara Tagg, cond., with an award  from the Commissioning Music/USA program

The Louisville Courier-Journal

by Andrew Adler For Frank A. Heller III, every concert describes a small journey of inner space. Voces Novae, the chorus he trains and nurtures season after season, looks first to the spirit present within each of its singers, and by extension his audiences. It’s no exaggeration to call Heller’s perspective a pan-theistic, summoning faiths […]

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

by Eric Haines Hebrew liturgy provides blessings for every major event in the Jewish life cycle. Blessings for children, weddings, the Kaddish, the Kol Nidre and the Song of Solomon have inspired composers to write works that deserve a place on the concert stage. The Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival ended its three-concert season on Tuesday […]

Sheila Steinman Wallace

by Sheila Steinman Wallace In one of the most cohesive and moving concerts I have heard from this community chorus, Voces Novae presented “Choral Portraits: Gerald Cohen, Eleanor Daley and Eric Whitacre” on Sunday, March 7. … Gerald Cohen’s “Adonai Ro’i” (Psalm 23) has long been a personal favorite. The chorus and soloist Sarah Nettleton […]

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Commissioned by Ohef Sholom Temple, Norfolk, VA

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Published by Oxford University Press

Arrangement for treble voices (2 part) and orchestra (2000)

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Commissioned by Baltimore Hebrew Congregation