Steven Mark Kohn

Composer and Lyricist

Riders of the Purple Sage, the Opera

Music by Craig Bohmler, Libretto by Steven Mark Kohn

World Premier by Arizona Opera 2017

I, for one, hope the chance to hear it again happens very soon. Riders is a fascinating work that deserves to be heard often. At the end of the evening the sound of the applause and the cheers for this important new work was deafening. Opera Today March 7, 2017

A Western novel might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of opera, but The Arizona Opera’s spectacular production of Riders of the Purple Sage made it seem as natural and beautiful as a Grand Canyon sunset.  Stage Directions March 8, 2017
How momentous it is that an opera as monumental and well-crafted as Craig Bohmler's RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE can now lay claim to a rightful place in the canon of works about the American West. After limited performances in Tucson and at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, one can only hope that RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE becomes a featured program in venues throughout the country.
Broadway World/Opera World March 6, 2017

This engaging production, with stage direction by Fenlon Lamb, is built on sturdy bones: iconic hero-and-villain characters, a suspenseful story and a score that’s studded with soaring, hummable melodies
Arizona Republic, Feb 27, 2017

The audience sat in the darkened Tucson Music Hall in a state of amazement. Amazed that the little company they've come to rely on to bring them opera's golden oldies alongside newer or never-before-seen-in-Arizona works had taken this mighty leap and that what they saw and heard was a pretty terrific piece of music theater.
Arizona Daily Star Feb 26, 2017

After a lush overture that sounded like the score from a vintage Hollywood film, first-nighters (a third of whom had never attended an opera before) were dazzled by Riders of the Purple Sage.

Echo Magazine 2017

Art Songs

“Steven Mark Kohn has created a wonderful set of folk song arrangements that are fully concert-worthy….any of the songs would be a good choice and as a set, they would provide a fine group for any recital program.” American Folk Set Book 1, Journal of Singing March 2003

“Steven Mark Kohn is an inspired arranger of folk songs…the piano parts create mood, illustrate and give variety to the verses…this is a wonderful set.” American Folk Set Book 3, Journal of Singing March 2008

“Most popular with the audience was Daniels' final set, a selection of American folk songs in arrangements by Steven Mark Kohn. Everything here was simply beautiful.” Gay City News on David Daniels’

Carnegie Hall Recital 2002

“…the most beautifully rendered selections of traditional American folk songs ever heard on stage.” Classical 96.3 FM, Toronto on David Daniel’s Thomson Hall Recital, February 2004

“The final set consisted of four marvelous American folk-song settings by Steven Mark Kohn, in which quietly expressive piano parts and Daniels’s sensitivity found ways to vary the simple light words (of, say, “On the other shore”) in telling ways.”  Washington Post  2016

“Steven Mark Kohn is excellent. His folk song arrangements are fabulous - each song telling a real story.” Stephanie Blythe

“Richard Ollarsaba’s performance of Steven Mark Kohn’s “The War Prayer” was mesmerizing. The singer showed the poise and communicative power of a seasoned artist, singing with commanding, stentorian tone and delivering all the passion, tenderness and biting irony of Mark Twain’s antiwar text.”

Chicago Classical Review 2015

“...dynamic and well-crafted…a thrilling theater piece and a strong addition to American art song repertoire, in which Kohn has successfully fused his compositional voice with Twain’s epic poem.”
Review of "The War Prayer" Journal of Singing 2019

“Bombast abounds and so will audience laughter…Kohn has the musical setting just right…baritones should have a field day with this aria…it should win over any American Audience.” Review of The Senator's Stump Speech, Journal of Singing March 2008

" It is a beautiful work for a medium voice",  Review of Lullabies and Dreams, Journal of Singing, 2014

Closing the program were Steven Mark Kohn's arrangements of folk songs, delivering some of the most touching moments in the entire evening. Veterans of performing Kohn's settings, these two told stunning stories with an authoritative presence that seemed to speak to Brits and North Americans alike.

Schmopera review of David Daniels and Martin Katz, Wigmore Hall Recital, London, March 22, 2017

On the Other Shore

(CD of American Folk Song Settings, Andrew Garland; Baritone, Donna Loewy; Piano)

“[these folk song settings] boast a settled, reassuring beauty and a superb level of craftsmanship…and he demonstrates comparable skill both in understated simplicity and theatrical flamboyance, depending on what the given song and text require…amazing versatility…” Journal of Singing Jan/Feb 2009

Hymn for String Orchestra

(Recorded by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra)

 “…what has become San Jose Chamber Orchestra’s signature work: Steven Mark Kohn’s immensely effective “Hymn for String Orchestra”…in all it’s celestial serenity…but Kohn goes further, building up tensions within, before relenting in a pastoral finale.” (San Francisco Bay Area Music Observer)

The Quiltmaker’s Gift

(Stage Musical, Music by Craig Bohmler, Lyrics by Steven Mark Kohn)

“….Outstanding was the contemporary fairy tale, The Quiltmaker’s Gift, partly because of Alan J. Prewitt’s script,  but it’s theater art shone from every pore. The lyrical and contemporary music was written and performed on keyboard by Scottsdale’s Craig Bohmler. Exceptionally witty, charming lyrics were by Steven Mark Kohn of Cleveland. Both provided stellar material…” The Arizona Republic, July 2002

“… a delightful little message play… a sprightly score, that will entertain children and adults alike…” Los Angeles Times, December 2003

“…the play is an elegant charmer…held even the youngest in the audience in its grip throughout…”, El Dorado Hills CA. December 2005

“The whimsical details in this musical fable will capture the attention of a younger audience, but adults will smile along… well-written songs by lyricist Steven Mark Kohn and composer Craig Bohmler…an engaging afternoon of theater.” Vital Source Magazine, Milwaukee, November 2007

“As I said above, if I had children in my life I would eagerly bring them to this delightful show. If you have children in your life, well, you know what my advice is. And I promise, you’ll have a great time as well.”

The Telegraph 2014

“Shows with simple life lessons are some of the best ones to introduce children to live theatre. The Quiltmaker's Gift manages to add in a fun, musical score with colorful characters, and the Theater Works production turns the whole event into a fun-filled holiday treat for children, families, and theatergoers of all ages.” Talkin Broadway 2014