Gerald Cohen
Cassatt Quartet
Catalog Number: 
#1 090
new classical
Release Date: 
Jul 7, 2023
1 CD
One Sheet: 

For over a decade, the Cassatt String Quartet has collaborated  with the composer Gerald Cohen.On July 21, 2023, innova Recordings releases “Voyagers” (innova 090); music by Gerald Cohen performed by the Cassatt String Quartet and guest artists. 

“Telling stories through music is central to all I do as a composer and performer – most explicitly in my operas and vocal works, but also in purely instrumental works such as those on this album,” said Gerald Cohen. “This album is the culmination of the voyage I have taken with the Cassatt String Quartet during the past decade. I will always be grateful for the collaboration with these wonderful colleagues.”

The title work is inspired by the Voyager spacecraft that carried the Golden Record, an audio time capsule intended to give extra-terrestrial beings an impression of human culture on Planet Earth. The performance also features Narek Arutyunian on clarinet and bass clarinet.

Playing for Our Lives is a contemporary memorial and tribute to the musical life ofthe Nazi concentration camp Terezín (Theresienstadt), near Prague. The work uses elements from from the Yiddish folk song Beryozkele, Hans Krasa’s opera Brundibar, and Verdi’s Requiem. Both Voyagers and Playing for Our Lives were written for the Cassatt String Quartet. The album concludes with Preludes and Debka, featuring trombonist Colin Williams.

Composer Gerald Cohen has been praised for his “linguistic fluidity and melodic gift,” (Gramophone Magazine); his music “is filled with vibrant melody, rhythmic clarity, drive and compositional mastery” (Gapplegate Review). His past discography includes Generations (New World Records, 2001) and Sea of Reeds (Navona, 2014). In addition to Voyagers (innova, 2023), a studio recording of the opera Steal a Pencil for Me is being released in 2024.

Cohen is a noted synagogue cantor and baritone; his experience as a singer informs his dramatic, lyrical compositions. His opera Steal a Pencil for Me received its world premiere production by Opera Colorado in January 2018, and his chamber and choral works have been performed in important venues in the United States and internationally. Recognition of Cohen's body of work includes commissioning grants from Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and American Composers Forum.

Hailed for its “mighty rapport and relentless commitment,” the Cassatt String Quartet has performed to critical acclaim across the world since its founding in 1985, with appearances at Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Tanglewood Music Center, the Kennedy Center, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Centro National de las Artes, Maeda Hall, and Beijing’s Central Conservatory. The group’s discography includes over forty recordings, including three discs that were named “10 Best Classical Recordings” in The New Yorker. The CSQ, comprised of Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins; Rosemary Nelis, viola; and Gwen Krosnick, cello, is named for the American Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.

Violinists Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violist Ah Ling Neu, and cellist Elizabeth Anderson are the members of the CSQ performing on the Voyagers album.



"an impressive reading of Gerald Cohen’s now eerie, now lyrical, now dissonant, now melodic three-part miniature music poem Voyagers"


"Cohen’s music is captivating and quite moving. The music moves beautifully with the borrowed tunes aiding in an expanded lyrical style."


"This is contemporary music at its best. The composer created this music in response to the world he lives in. He used the language of his time. And he did so in a way that connects with contemporary audiences. And it's well-crafted, ensuring this music continues to connect with future audiences."


"Cohen’s vision is one of fluid and melodic gestures, and the Cassatt String Quartet’s skill and experience illuminate his dramatic appeal that’s even more exciting thanks to the winds and brass."