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Reviews

A Swingin’ Christmas

“Latecomers rushed to their seats between the numbers, just in time for a specially commissioned Steve Cohen masterpiece–‘A Klezmer Nutcracker: Three Miniatures for Orchestra.’ Growing up, my favorite version of the holiday classic, ‘Nutcracker,’ was from the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as interpretation in classical music when I was 10, but knew that felt right to me–pacing, dynamic, build—everything. When I heard Cohen’s arrangement, I had the same feeling of ‘right!’ The miniatures included Klezmerized versions of ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,’ ‘Arabian Dance,’ and ‘Trepak,’ and held the audience rapt from the opening notes. Students of Carnegie’s history recall that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducted the first concert held there in 1891, which happened during the time he was writing ‘The Nutcracker.’ History has come full oval, as no one could call that peregrination a circle!”
— Sheri Rase, Q-onStage 

“There were many gems that were embraced by the audience such as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker performed as a Klezmer piece brilliantly arranged by Steve Cohen.”
— Magda Katz, Times Square Chronicles

Kiki Baby

Honorable Mention for Outstanding Orchestration: 2011 New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF)

“Directed with panache by [Lonny] Price and Matt Cowart, and featuring lively orchestrations by Michael Starobin and Steve Cohen (played by a six-member combo under the fine musical direction of Mark Hartman), the production is performed by a first-rate cast.”
— Lisa Jo Sagolla, Back Stage 

“The score, too, is an accomplishment, bouncy and infectious, but possessing throbbing undercurrents in Michael Starobin and Steve Cohen’s orchestration (which includes an accordion and euphonium) that more intimately express the unsettling populist sound Kurt Weill created for Bertolt Brecht.”
— Matthew Murray, Talkin’ Broadway 

Langston in Harlem

“This is the kind of a show where every musical number is a winner, a gorgeous melding of strong, rich voices, evocative lyrics and intricate melodies all backed up by an orchestra (orchestrated by Steve Cohen and under the direction of John DiPinto) which is at once joyful, lively, raucous, smoky and seductive.”
— Karen Tortora-Lee, The Happiest Medium 

“Musical director John DiPinto confidently leads the smoking six-piece band through Steve Cohen’s colorful orchestrations.”
— Eric Haagensen, Back Stage 

Overture to Nabucco

“Cohen’s transcription of Verdi’s Overture to ‘Nabucco’ for saxophone choir is an arrangement that truly captures the orchestral sound from the wide span of the saxophone choir (one sopranino, pairs of sopranos, altos, tenors and baritones, plus bass and contrabass), as well as the operatic flair of the original score. …This work is not often programmed orchestrally, but should be in the library of any saxophone choir; it’s great programming, and an equally great opportunity for ensemble growth.”
— David Demsey, Saxophone Journal 

Spittin’ Image

“…orchestrated with savvy by Steve Cohen…”
— Alvin Klein, New York Times 


Testimonials

“Steve Cohen does beautiful score preparation in a timely manner. His expert knowledge leads to excellent results, and in the process he is a pleasure to work with. I couldn’t recommend anyone more highly!”
Ellen Mandel, composer

“Steve is the utmost professional in his music services. He is an accomplished composer as well. We worked together in my company’s representation of publishing rights for Ed Kleban’s A CLASS ACT. As some people say, a good movie score should be there but not overpower the film - Steve is the kind of professional you can work with who checks his ego at the door and gets the job at hand done and not just done, but, you’ll never have to revisit the work for anything that may have been missed the first time. Timely, thorough and professional work can be expected from Steven.”
— Vincent Scuderi

“Steve arranged and orchestrated some music for performance by the New York Choral Society and did a fine job. I would certainly hire him again for similar work.”
John Daly Goodwin, Music Director (ret’d), New York Choral Society

“Whenever I see Steve’s excellent work as a composer and arranger I always know I’m in good hands. His depth of knowledge and sensitivities to text and the needs of singers is always apparent. I think this also influenced by the fact that Steve is also an excellent singer. Another of Steve’s skills is musical transcription, which is an art he practices with care. As a composer and arranger, I always learn something from looking at his scores.”
Elliot Z. Levine, singer, Western Wind Vocal Ensemble

“Steve wrote a series of gorgeous, violinistically literate arrangements that I had the pleasure of playing for the recording sessions. Steve wrote idiomatic, technically challenging romantic interpretations of classic Cole Porter and other Songbook songs for a former subway violinist, and the result was a gorgeous, passionate recording! Great changes, Steve!”
Jon Burr, Bassist for hire, composer, teacher, music copyist

“I first met Steve while we were both in the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. Later, I followed his career as a composer and particularly an orchestrator with great interest.

Having attended KIKI BABY and SPITTIN’ IMAGE, I am quite impressed with Steve’s musicianship and ability to bring a composer’s voice to exciting life through orchestration. He is capable of also successfully orchestrating for both small and larger pit bands.

 Steve has earned an excellent reputation for his dedication to his craft. He is honest, intelligent, and has integrity.”
Douglas J. Cohen, composer

“Steve worked as the copyist, transcriber, and co-orchestrator on our musical, “The Legend of Pearl Hart” through the years of its development through its 2-week Equity Showcase in NYC, and beyond. His dedication to the project was fierce, at times stronger than my own, and his professionalism and flexibility remarkable. A very patient and hard-working man whose talents extend far beyond what he did for us. Work with this man!”
Rich Look, composer

“How do you convey deep appreciation for talented creative work. You check off all the expletives, but that just can’t get the level of satisfaction and confidence across. Steve Cohen is a talented composer, whose depth of musical knowledge has so informed my work along the years that gratitude seems a mild response. When Steve returns your music, it will be in as professional and crisp a form as exists. I cannot recommend him highly enough.”
Elliott Baker, composer

“Steve Cohen is an exceptional musician. I have collaborated with him many times and his work always meets the highest standards of professionalism and artistry.”

— Grant Sturiale, composer