Beyond the Notes

Welcome to Beyond the Notes: unique online multimedia experiences exploring the visual, literary, and performing arts.

Bringing "program notes" into the 21st century, Beyond the Notes delves beneath the surface of works of art with the belief that educational materials can be artistic, just as art can provide powerful opportunities for learning and exploring ideas.

Projects created for Beyond the Notes:

  • Reveal surprising connections between artistic disciplines, and between art and ideas.
  • Facilitate discovery by providing user-friendly introductions to a range of arts and culture topics, many of which may be under-represented on other websites.
  • Foster appreciation of the work of living artists through materials providing context for their art, as well as interactive platforms for experiencing the art itself.
  • Innovate and experiment with arts appreciation materials that are truly creative in their own right.

The material on this website is created by Nell Shaw Cohen (, a composer and multimedia artist-producer based in New York City.

NEW! Explore John Muir's Yosemite

This multimedia installation for web and iPad app illustrates the writings of naturalist and conservationist John Muir through interactive photography and music, offering an engaging new interpretation of Muir's vision of nature. Explore ten sites in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks with Muir as your guide.

John Heiss on Charles Ives

This web-native or "connected" documentary explores the work of early 20th century American composer Charles Ives through the eyes of John Heiss: a composer, musician, scholar, conductor, and professor based on Boston, MA.


Beyond the Notes' repository for a variety of arts appreciation materials. Explore arts and culture topics ranging from Medieval music to Modern Dance through beginner-friendly videos, essays, performance and exhibit reviews, and subject guides.

YouTube Channel

All videos produced by Beyond the Notes and Nell Shaw Cohen are posted to YouTube. Nell's channel currently boasts more than 60 videos and over 34,000 views.

Music Inspired by Art

Discover artworks by Thomas Cole, Charles Burchfield, Michelangelo, Hiroshige, Medieval triptychs, and Georgia O'Keeffe through a thematic program of chamber music composed by Nell Shaw Cohen. This unique multimedia website offers 24 pages, 47 audio clips, 33 videos, and 29 images illuminating art, music, and the connections between them.

"Far more extensive than the usual site devoted to an event or artwork, [Beyond the Notes] contains...loads of information connecting the music and art."

David Weininger, The Boston Globe (read full article)

The Marin Headlands in Fog

An experimental multimedia installation for the web. Explore the atmospheric coastal landscape of the Marin Headlands of the San Francisco Bay Area through music and video.