Beyond the Notes

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

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

Projects created for Beyond the Notes aim to:

  • Reveal surprising connections between artistic disciplines.
  • 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 the creation of web installations providing context for the art, as well as interactive platforms to experience the art itself.
  • Innovate and experiment with creating arts appreciation materials that move away from the pedantic and towards the creative.

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

Music Inspired by Art

Discover the works of visual artists Thomas Cole, Charles Burchfield, Michelangelo, Hiroshige, Medieval triptychs, and Georgia O'Keeffe through this program of chamber music composed by Nell Shaw Cohen. Each piece on the program has a separate section exploring the artwork, the music, and illuminating the connections between them. The site contains 24 pages, 47 audio clips, 33 videos, and 29 images.

"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)

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.

The Marin Headlands in Fog

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


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 stand-alone videos produced by Beyond the Notes are being posted to YouTube. Visit Nell's channel for an overview.