Allen Cohen’s music for orchestra, solo instruments, chamber groups, and voice has been performed around the world and recorded on commercial compact discs. Currently he is Professor of Music at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he teaches composition, theory, and other music courses, and conducts the College Chorus. He has also taught at Hunter College, New York University, and Manhattanville College. He has received a Meet the Composer grant and many ASCAP awards.
The co-author of Writing Musical Theater (with Steven L. Rosenhaus), and the author of Howard Hanson in Theory and Practice and the children’s humor book That’s So Funny I Forgot to Laugh! (which has sold more than half a million copies), he has also had articles published in The New York Times and The Baker Street Journal, and has presented papers on music theory and musical theater at conferences in New York City, Hawaii, and Germany.
He wrote the scores for the independent films Her Biggest Fan, shown on the A&E cable TV network; A Tasty Kind of Love, on home video; and the Ringling Brothers film Gunther Gebel-Williams, the Man and the Legend (with Bob Liebert), shown on local TV stations across the country. He also wrote the “Philip Alien theme” for the United Artists film Flicks. He wrote book, lyrics, and music for the musical The Medicine Show and the children’s musical Letters from Einstein, and songs for the off-Broadway revue The Present Tense. He has also composed music for many commercials and several off-Broadway plays; written and arranged dance music for five Broadway musicals; conducted many theatrical productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, and elsewhere; and performed extensively as a pianist.
“The hallmarks of my music are melody, energy, concision, and intensity of emotional expression. I am influenced by both the art music of many centuries and the popular music of today and yesterday. I am a modern American Romantic; I believe strongly that art is sterile if it does not communicate, and shallow if it is not well constructed—that music should be both accessible and skillfully crafted—and I try to achieve both goals when I compose.”
"I cannot conceive of music that expresses absolutely nothing."
"Nothing is more odious than music without hidden meaning."