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The San Juan Islands



(and... speaker. essayist. activist. naturalist photo-blogger. fun person.)
 

"[Shapiro's music is] enough to give one hope for the contemporary music scene."

—All Music Guide

 
Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian
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island sunset

Alex Shapiro's unique music career is a happy, multifaceted one, in which she spends her time:

Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian

Composing a lot of music (mostly for chamber ensembles and symphonic wind bands, often with electronics) composing

Speaking at events and residencies speaking

Participating on advocacy boards and committees participating

Writing articles and essays writing

and

Photo-blogging wildlife from the remote island on which she creates! blog

 

 

Get a sense of Alex, as she responds to the question, "What kind of composer are you?" in this 50-second excerpt from a 2010 interview:

 

Perhaps the best way to get to know Alex's music, is to get to know Alex through the personal offerings on her blog, Notes from the Kelp. Thousands of visitors join her on explorations of the San Juan Islands and beyond, using Alex's award-winning essays, photographs and music (and her sense of humor) as their guide. blog

Scroll down this page to share life through Alex's eyes-- and ears.


     
San Juan Islands and Mt. Baker from puddle jumper

 

What Alex is up to right now:
 
 
The latest CD releases
     

German pianist Susanne Kessel has released the first 2-CD set of her five-year project, 250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven, on Obst. You can read more about the project below, and more about the CD, here iTunes link

Listen to an excerpt:

hear

250 Pieces for Beethoven, Vol. 1 CD

     

The DePauw University Band, conducted by Craig Paré, has released their 2016 CD titled Everything Beautiful, which includes two of Alex's electroacoustic symphonic band pieces: LIQUID COMPASS, and TIGHT SQUEEZE. Click here for more info!

Listen to an excerpt from LIQUID COMPASS:

hear

 

Listen to an excerpt from TIGHT SQUEEZE:

hear

Everything Beautiful CD

     

Italian clarinetist Gianluca Campagnolo has made a beautiful recording of Alex's work for solo clarinet and electronics, WATER CROSSING. The track appears on Campagnolo's 2015 CD, Atmospheres, and is also available on iTunes. iTunes link

Listen to an excerpt:

hear

Atmospheres CD

The latest commissions and premieres
     

Solo piano:

Michael Tierra is both a professional pianist and a renowned professional herbalist. What better way to embrace both worlds, than to commission a suite of solo piano pieces to explore the unique traits of healing plants? Exploring the balance between pain and joy on this fragile planet, the resulting 20 minute piece, titled, ARCANA, premiered in Santa Cruz, California on March 20, 2016, on a program comprised entirely of Alex's chamber works.

Tierra has commissioned an additional version of the piece that will pair the sonorities of live piano with evocative textures and sounds on a prerecorded accompaniment track, for an electroacoustic experience that Tierra will premiere in Santa Cruz, CA. in the spring of 2017.

Michael Tierra

You can learn more about ARCANA here. score info
     

 

Electroacoustic sextet:

Alex's unusual piece for low winds, TRAIN OF THOUGHT, was commissioned by Paul Kile for the Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project, and premiered in Edina, Minnesota on May 22, 2016. Click the title to read the story behind the music. It gives new meaning to the term, "audio track"!

Kile joins conductor Adam Campagna and several other participants in a consortium that has commissioned Alex to create a version of the piece for full symphonic wind band, premiering in the spring of 2017.

TRAIN OF THOUGHT score cover

Cochran Chamber Winds

Enjoy the demo recording!

hear
     

Electroacoustic wind band:

One year after leading a consortium of seven schools that commissioned Alex's now-familiar 12-tone Afro-Cuban-grooved TIGHT SQUEEZE (just like Schoenberg!), Composers & Schools in Concert partnered again with Alex on a new piece with an emphasis on visual multimedia, titled LIGHTS OUT. A consortium of 19 schools around the U.S. interacted with Alex via Skype, as she solicited creative visual ideas from the musicians for their Spring 2015 premieres, as well as for inclusion in the published score to inspire other bands. Wanna get a sense of what they all came up with? Click here! read

In February 2016, Alex delivered a third CSIC-led electroacoustic wind band piece for an 18-member consortium, and the new work, titled MOMENT, premiered throughout Spring 2016 around the U.S. You can read about the enivronmental awareness behind the very emotional music here: read

And, March 2016 brought with it an unusual minimalist piece for musicians of all ages titled ROCK MUSIC, commissioned by Patrick Marsh Middle School Band and its adventurous conductor Chris Gleason. The piece, which addresses glacial melting and climate change and includes many extended techniques not heard on the demo below, premiered in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on May 10, 2016. You can read about it-- and see a video!-- here: read

LIGHTS OUT score cover

MOMENT score cover

ROCK MUSIC score cover

Listen to LIGHTS OUT:
hear
Listen to MOMENT:
hear
Listen to ROCK MUSIC:
hear
If you're interested in participating in future consortia, please contact Alex's agent Mark Walker:
mark@themarkwalkeragency.com
; 318-381-3560.
     

Choral:

Alex was asked by conductor Joseph Ohrt to compose a short movement for SSAA choir and piano that West Choir premiered at the 2016 Eastern Division ACDA conference in Boston on February 10. The piece, BECAUSE I AM, is part of a suite of nine such others composed by women, that comprises the collective work titled, BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN.

Central Bucks

ACDA Eastern

Listen to the premiere performance:

hear
     

Flute and guitar:

When the guitar and flute pair that is Bas Duo were looking for something new and quirky to add to their repertoire, they found it in Alex's piece SLIP, originally composed for harpsichord and violin, which Alex has adapted for Bas Duo's 2016-2017 concerts in a new version titled, SLIPPERY, which the duo premiered in New Jersey on May 15, 2016.

Bas Duo

     

And of course, more electroacoustic wind band:

In addition to their involvement in the 20-school consortium for Alex's 2015 electroacoustic wind band piece, LIGHTS OUT, the students at Edina High will be getting a new Shapiro EA band piece of their own for the 2017-2018 season.

Edina High School

     
gull toes
The latest interviews
     

January 25, 2016, on San Juan Island, WA: Alex spent the better part of an afternoon chatting about the business and philosophical aspects of a happy composing career, with composer and The Portfolio Composer podcast host Garrett Hope (pictured at right). Their wide-ranging conversation is posted in two March 2016 parts, and you can hear it here. listen

Alex Shapiro and Garrett Hope
The Portfolio Composer

Part 1
hear Part 1
Part 2
hear Part 2
April 15, 2016, from San Juan Island, WA: Alex was the inaugural guest for composer Dennis Tobenski's new series, Music Publishing Podcast. Despite some technical issues with a Hangout connection that apparently had Alex reaching for her snorkel, she and Dennis had an excellent conversation about the business of being a busy composer. You can stream it in the background while doing something mindless above the mean tide line, by clicking here. listen Music Publishing Podcast
 
The latest article
     

Alex was asked to contribute her thoughts to NewMusicBox's April 2016 series about music and money, and delivered a piece titled Let's Make a List, that many college professors are already making required reading for their composition students. In it, Alex offers a detailed road map to point music-makers toward the many revenue streams that can be generated from their copyrights. You can read the essay-- and add to the comment thread with your own suggestions-- by clicking here. read

ACDA Eastern

The latest appearances
     

November 4-6, 2016, in Friday Harbor: Alex will be handling the Q&A sessions with the Friday Harbor Film Festival audiences for four screenings of two documentary films in which she and her music appear: SHINING NIGHT, and IN SEARCH OF THE GREAT SONG, both directed by Michael Stillwater. For information, click here!more info

Friday Harbor Film Festival
     

April 24, 2016, in Los Angeles: Alex (pictured on the left) was back in the saddle at the Los Angeles Composer Salon series that she co-founded in 2000 with composer Kubilay Uner (pictured second from right). She co-moderated the celebratory 60th event at Tuttomedia Studios in Venice, CA. with Giovanna Imbesi, pictured at right, and a stellar lineup of guests including L-R: Billy Childs, Gloria Cheng, and Deborah Lurie.

L.A. Composer Salon

L.A. Composer Salon

     

April 28-30, 2016, in Hollywood: The 11th annual ASCAP EXPO brings artists from every genre together for an inspiring conference of workshops, panels, performances and networking at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Alex gave a lively presentation on a panel about creative uses of multimedia in concert music, titled "Seeing Music: Multimedia Concerts for a Visual World." Picture L-r: Composer Veronika Krausas, Alex, visualists Candace Reckinger and Michael Patterson, and ASCAP VP of Concert Music Cia Toscanini.

ASCAP EXPO

ASCAP EXPO

     

May 18, 2016, in Washington, D.C.: Alex returned to Capitol Hill where each spring, members of the Board of Directors of ASCAP and writer members who are strong copyright advocates meet with Senators, members of Congress, and their aides, to keep the message of fair compensation for music creators front and center. The Songwriter Equity Act is among the topics at the core of ASCAP's discussions on Capitol Hill. Over the years Alex has spoken with many Representatives, including Joaquin Castro (D-TX), pictured here with Alex and ASCAP board President and Chairman Paul Williams.

ASCAP Lobbying in Washington, D.C.

The latest residencies
     
July 23-24, 2016, in Vancouver, B.C.: Alex was the guest composer at the 4th Annual UBC Wind Conducting Symposium, held at The University of British Columbia School of Music. Conductor and host Rob Taylor chose electroacoustic wind band music as the focus for the Symposium, and Alex gave an in-depth presentation on conducting and producing electroacoustic music and multimedia concerts. To top it off, Rob set up an "electroacoustic petting zoo," allowing any of the 45 conductors in attendance to come up to the podium, don a set of headphones, get comfortable with a click track, and conduct one of Alex's wind band pieces! UBC Wind Conducting Symposium
August 2-11, 2016: Alex joined composer and Festival founder Anne Guzzo to be the Composer-in-Residence for the inaugural year of The Wyoming Festival. Bringing visiting composers together with world-class performers including violinist Holly Mulcahy, the Festival included two concerts held in Grand Teton National Park at the Craig Thomas Visitor Center Auditorium, and the UW-NPS AMK Ranch research station. The Wyoming Festival
November 11-13, 2016: Alex was the Composer-in-Residence at University of Montana, in Missoula, and her visit included two concerts featuring three of her recent wind band works: ROCK MUSIC, MOMENT, and LIQUID COMPASS, conducted by James Smart and Parker Bixby. For more info, click HERE. University of Montana
December 6, 2016: Alex comes to Chicago to work with the musicians at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. In addition to lectures and private lessons all day, the evening will include a concert conducted by Stephen Squires that will include three of Alex's wind band works: BENEATH, LIQUID COMPASS, and LIGHTS OUT. In Chicago, and want to come? Click HERE. Roosevelt University
December 7-8, 2016: Alex will be a guest speaker and engage with the composition students at Columbia College. Columbia College
February 25-26, 2017: Alex returns to The University of Hawai'i at Manoa, to work with composition students as well as with Jeffrey Boeckman and the University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble, which will perform two of Alex's works: HOMECOMING, and MOMENT. Click HERE for more info. University of Hawai'i
 
The latest workshop
     

September 9, 2015, in Nashville, TN: Alex and attorney and publisher Jim Kendrick gave another in their ASCAP Composer Career Workshop series, this time at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. The 4-hour in-depth seminar on business skills for music-makers is free and open to the public, and if you'd like one to come to your area, drop Alex an email. It's fun, too! For details about this latest workshop, please click here. more info

ASCAP workshop

Trevacca Nazarene University

     
Orca whale and gull
The latest documentary appearance
     

From her San Juan Island home, Alex talks about her musical life amidst nature among the opening scenes of director Michael Stillwater's 2015 documentary, In Search of the Great Song, winner of the award for Best Documentary from the 2016 Moondance International Film Festival in Boulder, CO. Alex is also the first interview seen in Shining Night, Stillwater's 2012 documentary about composer Morten Lauridsen, and jokes that the director is not allowed to make a film that does not include her at the very start.

In Search of the Great Song

You can enjoy previews of both beautiful documentaries here. previews
 
The latest publications
     

Over the past decade, Susanne Kessel has recorded and toured with two of Alex's short solo piano works, FOR MY FATHER, and SLOWLY, SEARCHING. On October 6 2014, Kessel once again recorded a new short work of Alex's, CHORD HISTORY, on the gorgeous Steinway at WDR Radio in Cologne, Germany, for a CD released on Obst in July 2016.

The piece is a small part of Kessel's wide-ranging 2014-2020 CD project and tour, 250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven, celebrating the upcoming 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, with whom Kessel shares a Bonn, Germany heritage (though definitely not his reportedly sour personality). It's included in Volume 1, a 152 page book of the first 25 pieces in the series, published by Editions Musica Ferrum.

250 Pieces for Beethoven

You can learn more about CHORD HISTORY here. score info
     

June, September, 2014: Alex's brain is about 8,000 words lighter: she's written an extensive two-part article echoing the clinic presentations on new media in the band world that she gave at The 2013 Midwest Clinic and the 2014 Texas Music Educators Association Conference. The essay, titled The e-Frontier: Music, Multimedia, Education, and Audiences in the Digital World, appears in the June and September 2014 issues of the magazine of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, WASBE World.

WASBE World

Read the full article, offered with the kind permission of WASBE.


     

Two of Alex's electroacoustic wind band pieces, PAPER CUT, and TIGHT SQUEEZE, are featured in the educational book/CD series, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Volume 10, edited by Eugene Migliaro Corporon and released by GIA Publications December 2014.

Teaching Music Through Performance

You can learn more about this book/CD set here. info
 
The newest appointments
     

March, 2015: Alex was elected to the Board of Directors of ASCAP, to serve as the Symphonic & Concert writer representative. She began serving in this capacity in April 2014 when she was elected by the board to fill the mid-term vacancy of the seat previously held for over twenty years by the late, esteemed composer Stephen Paulus.

ASCAP

July, 2015: New Music USA is a major national arts advocacy organization which provides over $1 million each year in grant support for the creation and performance of new work and community building throughout the country. Alex was an inaugural co-chair of its Program Council, an advisory committee of people working in the field, and continues to serve as a member. New Music USA
October, 2015: Alex is very pleased to serve as a member of the Columbia College Chicago Music Department Advisory Panel, exploring what contemporary education should offer to students to best prepare them for productive, happy careers. Columbia College
December, 2015: Composers Now is an important organization that celebrates the diverse music of living composers, and Alex is delighted to have joined its Distinguished Mentors Council. Click here to learn about the February 2016 Festival, as well as other upcoming events across New York City throughout the year! Composers Now
December, 2015: Alex was elected to the Board of Directors of The ASCAP Foundation, which provides funding for a remarkably broad scope of composers and performers working in nearly every genre. Click here to peruse the site! The ASCAP Foundation
     

 

To see Alex's recent travels, visit Event Archive Archive
     
musical sea creature

 

Full streams of some recent premieres:
LIQUID COMPASS

May 10, 2014: Commemorating the 140th anniversary of Carthage College's wind band, LIQUID COMPASS takes the musicians and the audience on a journey across the sea, and spans the mystical and the triumphant. The piece migrates to different places, but never loses its bearings in pursuit of a musical true north.

Featuring the live resonance of water dripping into metal bowls, this piece is not only electro-acoustic, but electro-aquatic! LIQUID COMPASS allows electricity and water to mix safely! Liquid Compass

Liquid Compass poster

Enjoy the Carthage College Band's recording, conducted by James Ripley (full piece; 9:00):

hear 

     
San Juan Island, from above
REMEMBRANCE

August, 2013: REMEMBRANCE, Alex's emotional work for string orchestra, was very beautifully brought to an audience for the first time on August 6, 2013 in Washington D.C., by the U.S. Army Strings conducted by Major Tod. A. Addison. Click here if you'd like to read about the evolution of the piece. read

The U.S. Army Strings
     
a fox digging lounge chill music.
KETTLE BREW

February 8, 2013: KETTLE BREW was premiered by its co-composer David Jarvis at Washington State University, during Alex's visit as the guest composer for WSU's Festival of Contemporary Art Music. The electroacoustic piece is the result of a very fun collaboration that brings the words "funk timpani" and "lounge chill" together for [we're guessing] the first time. Click here to read the story of how this happened. read

David Jarvis

Shapiro and Jarvis

     
an endless summer sunset at 48.5 degrees lat.

 

Listen to excerpts from other Shapiro premieres:
 
PERPETUAL SPARK

February, 2012: PERPETUAL SPARK, Alex's latest chamber sextet, was heard in six Chicago-area concerts throughout February and into March, premiered by familiar partners to her musical crimes, Fifth House Ensemble,which recorded the work fall 2013 for their 2014 CD, Excelsior, produced by Judith Sherman, on Cedille Records. Featured as WQXR's Q2 Album of the Week in New York City, and one of Rhapsody's Top Ten Classical Albums for Sept. 2014, the track and what WQXR calls its "luminous energy" has been getting wide airplay across the U.S.

Dedicated to the late Mara Bershad, this piece for flute/piccolo, violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano, originally came to life as SPARK for solo piano, premiered by Teresa McCollough at Roulette in New York City in November 2011. You can enjoy Teresa's performance of SPARK at the 22-minute mark of the first stream, along with all the concert selections, from the archival page made available by Roulette, here. read

Excelsior CD
Earlier in the piece:
hear
Listen to excerpts of PERPETUAL SPARK from Fifth House Ensemble's live premiere performance at the Chicago Cultural Center:
A bit later in the piece:
hear

UNABASHEDLY MORE

 
   

Read about
UNABASHEDLY MORE
read

Flute/piccolo, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano. Performed live in New York City April 2011, by Lunatics at Large.

Unabashedly More Listen to excerpts  
Earlier in the piece
hear
Later in the piece
hear
     

 

IMMERSION

 

Want to hear exactly how Alex's island environment influences her music? Click on the excerpts, or listen to it stream in its entirety, below.
Immersion

Read about
IMMERSION
read

Symphony for winds, percussion and digital audio. Live premiere February 2011 in Minneapolis by the University of Minnesota Symphonic Band, Jerry Luckhardt, conductor.

Listen to excerpts  
Mov't 1: Depth
hear
Mov't 2: Surface
hear
Mov't 3: Beneath, clip 1
hear
Mov't 3: Beneath, clip 2
hear


February 15, 2012:
For a three-hour broadcast devoted to her music, Alex joined Marvin Rosen for his radio show out of Princeton University, Classical Discoveries, during which they broadcast all of IMMERSION, and spoke about how the piece came into existence.

Enjoy the live premiere performance, February 16, 2011, by the University of Minnesota Symphonic Wind Band, Jerry Luckhardt, conductor. Recorded by Minnesota Public Radio; Produced by Alex Shapiro.

Listen to Alex describe IMMERSION, and hear the full symphony:


hear  
 
MPR stream
 

 

For info about other performances, visit Concerts Concerts

 

 

     
Alex Shap..gurgle..iro

 

Recordings of Alex's music:
     
 
Shapiro chamber music collection

Notes from the Kelp CD

 

Now in its second pressing, the Innova Recordings release of Alex's album, Notes from the Kelp, is a collection of eight of Alex's representative chamber works. To read about the music and hear excerpts, click here more

 

Add some algae to your life and buy a copy:

buy  

Or, download and enjoy all the tracks right now:

iTunes link
eMusic link
Complete discography
 

 

Click on any CD for more information.

 

Clariphonia
New American Piano Music
Hammers & Sticks
Coast to Coast
Californian Concert
New American
Piano Music:
Sonata for Piano
Music for
Hammers & Sticks:
At the Abyss
Californian
Concert:
For My Father
Above and Beyond
Beck and Call
Solo Rumores
Everything Beautiful
Delicate Balance
Above and Beyond:
Bioplasm

Beck and Call:
Of Breath & Touch
Deep
Solo Rumores:
Luvina

DePauw University:
Liquid Compass
Tight Squeeze
Delicate Balance:
Water Crossing

La Discordantia
60 x 60
Jenni Scott
Trumpet Colors
Excelsior
La Discordantia:
Slip
60 x 60 2005:
Unhinged
Jenni Scott:
Shiny Kiss
Trio Chromos:
Elegy
Excelsior:
Perpetual Spark
Below
The Dreams of Birds
Garrison Festival
An Robert Schumann
250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven, Vol. 1
Below: Music for Low Flutes:
Below
The Dreams of Birds:
Intermezzo
Garrison Piano Competition:
Scherzo
An Robert Schumann:
Slowly, searching
250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven:
Chord History
Alex Shapiro
Midwest Clinic 2011
Atmospheres
Midwest Clinic 2013
Saxtronic Soundscape
Alex Shapiro:
Notes from the Kelp
Midwest Clinic:
Paper Cut
Atmospheres:
Water Crossing
Midwest Clinic:
Tight Squeeze
Saxtronic Soundscape:
Desert Tide

 

To listen to these CDs, please visit Recordings Recordings

To purchase these CDs, please visit Purchase Purchase

     
cormorants at the ferry dock

 

Where Alex's music can be heard live:

 

Below is an incomplete sampling of current concerts. Click on any title for more information.

 

  2016  
  Jan 15 Of Breath and Touch (bassoon and piano)
Los Angeles, California
  Jan 24 Immersion (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  Feb 6 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Mechanicsville, Virginia
  Feb 7 Because I Am (SSAA choir and piano Pre-PREMIERE!)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  Feb 7 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  Feb 11 Because I Am (SSAA choir and piano PREMIERE!)
Boston, Massachusetts
  Feb 12 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Cullowhee, North Carolina
  Feb 17 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  Feb 20 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Hot Springs, Arkansas
  Feb 21 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Astoria, Oregon
  Feb 21 Intermezzo (clarinet, piano)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  Feb 22 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Boulder, Colorado
  Feb 24 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Reno, Nevada
  Feb 26 Spark (solo piano)
Coral Gables, Florida
  Mar 1 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Munnsville, New York
  Mar 7 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Faribault, Minnesota
  Mar 7 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Fayetteville, Arkansas
  Mar 10 Liquid Compass (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
New London, Connecticut
  Mar 10 Water Crossing (clarinet, prerecorded soundscape)
Columbus, Ohio
  Mar 13 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Greencastle, Illinois
  Mar 14 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Endwell, New York
  Mar 19 Tight Squeeze, and Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Lancaster, California
  Mar 19 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  Mar 20 All-Shapiro Chamber Music Concert: 7 works, including Arcana (PREMIERE!)
Santa Cruz, California
  Mar 21 Music for Two Big Instruments (tuba, piano)
Tempe, Arizona
  Mar 22 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Owatonna, Minnesota
  Mar 23 Luvina (solo piano)
Guanajuato, Mexico
  Apr 14 Homecoming (concert wind band)
Ithaca, New York
  Apr 17 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
San Antonio, Texas
  Apr 19 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Storrs, Connecticut
  Apr 21 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Lincoln, Nebraska
  Apr 21 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
San Marcos, Texas
  Apr 21 Immersion (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Marshall, Minnesota
  Apr 22 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Mankato, Minnesota
  Apr 22 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper, with ballet!)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  Apr 23 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper, with ballet!)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  Apr 24 Immersion (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Whitewater, Wisconsin
  Apr 24 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Brookings, South Dakota
  Apr 24 Liquid Compass (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Greencastle, Indiana
  Apr 26 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Atglen, Pennsylvania
  Apr 27 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Memphis, Tennessee
  Apr 28 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
  Apr 29 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper, with ballet!)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  Apr 29 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Athens, Georgia
  Apr 30 All-Shapiro Wind Band Concert: Lights Out, Tight Squeeze, Liquid Compass, and Homecoming
Laval, France
  Apr 30 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper, with ballet!)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  May 1 All-Shapiro Wind Band Concert: Lights Out, Tight Squeeze, Liquid Compass, and Homecoming
Laval, France
  May 1 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Fayetteville, Arkansas
  May 1 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper, with ballet!)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  May 2 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Laramie, Wyoming
  May 3 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Ames, Iowa
  May 3 Tight Squeeze; Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Loganville, Georgia
  May 3 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Elk Grove, California
  May 4 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  May 4 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Elk Grove, California
  May 5 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Jensen Beach, Florida
  May 6 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Jacksonville, Florida
  May 6 Immersion (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Kansas City, Missouri
  May 7 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Jeju, South Korea
  May 7 Immersion (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Kansas City, Missouri
  May 7 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Edwards, Colorado
  May 10 Rock Music (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, rocks-- PREMIERE!)
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
  May 10 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Springdale, Arkansas
  May 11 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Loveland, Ohio
  May 11 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Muscoda, Wisconsin
  May 11 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Union City, California
  May 11 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Ferndale, Michigan
  May 11 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Spanish Fork, Utah
  May 12 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Fountain, Colorado
  May 12 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Del Rio, Texas
  May 12 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Gilford, New Hampshire
  May 13 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Des Moines, Iowa
  May 15 Slippery (flute, guitar-- PREMIERE!)
Allendale, New Jersey
  May 16 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Des Moines, Iowa
  May 16 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Leander, Texas
  May 16 Rock Music (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, rocks)
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
  May 18 Vista (violin, prerecorded soundscape)
Mannheim, Germany
  May 19 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Buckley, Washington
  May 19 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Atglen, Pennsylvania
  May 22 Train of Thought (sextet for low winds, prerecorded soundscape-- PREMIERE!)
Edina, Minnesota
  May 25 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Burien, Washington
  May 26 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
West Orange, New Jersey
  June 2 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
San Diego, California
  June 18 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  June 23 Below (electric guitar, prerecorded soundscape)
San Diego, California
  June 24 Below (electric guitar, prerecorded soundscape)
San Diego, California
  June 25 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape-- CONSORTIUM PREMIERE!)
Los Altos, California
  June 26 Below (electric guitar, prerecorded soundscape)
San Diego, California
  June 30 Below (electric guitar, prerecorded soundscape)
San Diego, California
  July 1 Elegy (violin, cello, piano)
Friday Harbor, Washington
  July 3 Below (electric guitar, prerecorded soundscape)
San Diego, California
  July 3-10 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Melbourne and Sydney, Australia
  July 4 Intermezzo (bass flute, harp)
Maccagno, Italy
  July 22 Intermezzo (bass flute, harp)
New Bern, North Carolina
  July 23 Intermezzo (bass flute, harp)
Greenville, North Carolina
  July 30 Intermezzo (bass flute, harp)
Rockville, Maryland
  July 31 Intermezzo (bass flute, harp)
Baltimore, Maryland
  Aug 9 Introspection (string quintet-- pre-PREMIERE!)
Moose, Wyoming
  Aug 10 Intermezzo (bass flute, harp)
Pasadena, California
  Aug 10 Introspection (string quintet-- PREMIERE!)
Grand Teton, Wyoming
  Sept 2 Vista (violin, prerecorded soundscape)
Boise, Idaho
  Sept 3 Vista (violin, prerecorded soundscape)
Boise, Idaho
  Sept 6 Desert Tide (soprano saxophone, prerecorded soundscape)
Hastings, Nebraska
  Sept 7 Re:pair (violin, flute)
Los Angeles, California
  Sept 9 Vista (violin, prerecorded soundscape)
Water Mill, New York
  Sept 14 Re:pair (violin, flute)
Los Angeles, California
  Oct 1 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
San Diego, California
  Oct 11 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Longmont, Colorado
  Oct 13 Immersion (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Storrs, Connecticut
  Oct 17 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  Oct 19 Liquid Compass (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Irvine, California
  Oct 25 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Walworth, Wisconsin
  Oct 25 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
San Antonio, Texas
  Oct 27 Shiny Kiss (solo flute)
Bellingham, Washington
  Oct 28 Evensong Suite (flute, clarinet, bassoon, piano)
York, Pennsylvania
  Nov 1 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Jordan, Minnesota
  Nov 3 Spark (solo piano)
San Francisco, California
  Nov 4 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Everett, Washington
  Nov 9 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  Nov 11 Rock Music and Moment (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Missoula, Montana
  Nov 12 Beneath (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Houghton, Michigan
  Nov 13 Liquid Compass (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Missoula, Montana
  Nov 13 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Lake Jackson, Texas
  Nov 13 Spark (solo piano)
Northbrook, Illinois
  Nov 15 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Coppell, Texas
  Nov 16 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Denver, Colorado
  Nov 17 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Atlanta, Georgia
  Nov 20 Liquid Compass (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
  Nov 30 Liquid Compass (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Eugene, Oregon
  Nov 30 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Lewisville, North Carolina
  Dec 1 Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  Dec 2 Moment (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Tacoma, Washington
  Dec 3 Homecoming (concert wind band)
Martigny, Switzerland
  Dec 4 Rock Music (symphonic wind band, prerecorded soundscape, rocks)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  Dec 5 Re:pair (oboe, English horn)
Rochester, New York
  Dec 6 Liquid Compass, Beneath, and Lights Out (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Chicago, Illinois
  Dec 8 Tight Squeeze (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Orem, Utah
  Dec 8 Beneath (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Glassboro, New Jersey
  2017  
  Jan 8 Intermezzo (solo piano)
Princeton, New Jersey
  Jan 27 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Wollbach, Germany
  Jan 28 Paper Cut (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape, printer paper)
Wollbach, Germany
  Feb 8 Beneath (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
  Feb 26 Moment, and Homecoming (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Honolulu, Hawai'i
  Mar 11 Re:pair (oboe, clarinet)
Fullerton, California
  Mar 12 Re:pair (oboe, clarinet)
Riverside, California
  Apr 1 Elegiac (clarinet, cello, piano)
Friday Harbor, Washington
  May 6 Immersion (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Kansas City, Missouri
  May 7 Immersion (concert wind band, prerecorded soundscape)
Kansas City, Missouri

 

For information about these and other performances, visit Concerts Concerts
 
     
Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian

 

Among the new Activist Music publications:
 

BIOPLASM

As if the original flute quartet version of Alex's ground-breaking 2004, BIOPLASM, wasn't texturally intense enough, conductor Michelle Grondin worked with Alex to create a version of this sonically squishy piece for an entire choir of flutes. Click here to read about-- and see a few pages of-- the music. Bioplasm, for choir

Bioplasm, for flute choir
Listen to excerpts from the quartet version of BIOPLASM, and imagine them played by lots of long shiny objects:
Singing while playing
hear
Pitch bending, etc.
hear
Pitched key clicks
hear
Yes, some regular stuff, too!
hear
 
     
Alex Shapiro
Solo piano works

 

A [non-performing!] pianist herself, Alex has always loved composing for the instrument, and Activist Music has now created a collection of her solo piano works, available as a set of .pdf downloads. Ranging from short offerings to multimovement works, these idiomatic pieces uncover a very broad swath of emotions. To have a look and a listen to the collection, please click here Piano works

ProQuest
Dr. Elizabeth Etnoyer has published her 2015 doctoral dissertation, The Keyboard Works of Alex Shapiro. To read the synopsis and order a pdf or hard copy of the book, please click here.

 

 

To see and hear Alex's catalog, visit Works Works

 

 

   
Burnt orange sunrise over the Salish sea

 

And now for something completely different:
 
Clemson University Memorial Stadium

Alex called upon her 15 years working in commercial music in Hollywood, and got into the team spirit with the Clemson University Tiger Band! In 2015 she was commissioned by band director Mark Spede to create the audio track to which Clemson University edited a video for the Jumbotron screens in its 85,000 seat Memorial stadium. The video-- which you can see below-- plays during every football game starting September 2015, as the 290 musicians of the Tiger Marching Band pour out on to the field to perform. Go Tigers!

     
Archipelago view

 

Meet Alex:
 

"…Shapiro has tremendous technical skills, a deep connection to nature, and an engaging and articulate personality that has gotten her multifariously involved in the new-classical-music world… She gets more performances than any one person could attend, and despite her nature wonderland she’s socially inclined…"

--Journalist and composer Kyle Gann, Chamber Music magazine.

Chamber Music
Click to read Kyle Gann's
insightful article


Hear Alex's response when asked to describe how she composes, in this :60 excerpt from a June 2010 interview she gave to Carey Nadeau from the American Composers Forum:

 

 

For a lot more of Alex, visit Biography Essays
     
Mt. Baker

 

Media:
 

Alex Shapiro in her San Juan Island studio.
A still from a February 2016 Skypehearsal Alex did from her studio.


Essays, such as:

 

Offering challenging thoughts on the new digital paradigm, the internet, free speech and the meaning of net neutrality to all artists, a number of Alex's articles have been published in essays for the online magazine NewMusicBox:

Read The Economy of Exposure: Publicity as Payment? here read

Read What I Learned About My Tiny Business From Paramount Pictures here read

Read As Important as the Printing Press: Net Neutrality and Artists' Freedom here read

NewMusicBox




     
Guest blogs, such as:

 

Greg Sandow is the author of an insightful blog on the future of classical music, and invited Alex to be a guest blogger in March 2013. Click here to see what she has to say about the fun of living in the middle of nowhere and being in the center of everywhere, in an essay titled E-ing there read

ArtsJournal
Sandow

     
Video podcasts, such as:

 

SoundNotion.tv is a weekly online series for, and by, music-makers, and Alex was the guest for their April 14, 2013 episode. Click here to stream or download Alex's concepts of how all composers can use the 21st Century tools available to them no matter where they live, as well as her thoughts on issues of self worth that artists of all genders face, on this podcast titled Out There watch

SoundNotion

     
Broadcasts, such as:

 

On February 15, 2012, Alex was the in-studio guest on Marvin Rosen's radio show broadcast from Princeton University, Classical Discoveries. Want some backgorund sound while you're doing other things? Click at right, and hear the entire MP3 stream of their exceptionally wide-spanning, lively two-and-a-half hour conversation, including seven of Alex's diverse works. Here's what Marvin has to say about it on his blog, Marvin the Cat.

hear

Rosen and Shapiro

 

For many more essays and interviews, visit Articles and Broadcasts Archive

 

Additional media:
 
Music libraries, such as:

 

The leading production music library in America, Omnimusic, has launched its latest special collection titled MusicOutsideTheBox, and it includes many tracks of Alex Shapiro's unique and unclassifiable-sounding music, available to license for film, TV, games or corporate and online media.

Omni Music

     
Art films, such as:

 

Alex's music is the soundtrack for REFLECTION, a short video created by artist Grimanesa Amoros. The video was premiered in December 2011 at the International Streaming Festival, Sixth Edition at the Hague in the Netherlands, and is included in Amoros's 2013 Video Retrospective in Lima, Peru. An excerpt of the video can be seen here video

Amoros video, REFLECTION

     
Books, such as:

 

Alex is the author of "Releasing a Student's Inner Composer," one of the chapters in the 2013 book, "Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra." The book, edited by Clint Randles and David Stringham, is published by GIA Publications.

Musicianship

     
Documentary appearances, such as:

 

In a segment filmed at her San Juan Island home, Alex is featured speaking about composer Morten Lauridsen at the opening of a beautiful film about his life and music, titled Shining Night. Winner of Best Documentary at the 2012 Washington, D.C. Independent Film Festival, the film was directed by Michael Stillwater, and has been screening at festivals in the U.S. and Europe in conjunction with the release of the DVD. You can enjoy a trailer of the film here. trailer

Alex also appears in a longer segment at the opening Stillwater's 2015 documentary, In Search of the Great Song, which is the winner of the award for Best Documentary from the 2016 Moondance International Film Festival in Boulder, CO. Alex speaks about the many inspirations for her music that are found in the natural world surrounding her, as BELOW, in which she features a Humpback whale song, plays as the underscore.

Shining Night

In Search of the Great Song

     
Photography, such as:

 

Visitors to Alex's blog know she's rarely without her camera, and her photos have been used for other people's CD covers and websites. Alex is one of the winners of the 2012 IMA Marine Life Photography Contest, hosted by the San Juan Islands Museum of Art and judged by the legendary Ernest Brooks II. Alex's photo of a Bald Eagle headed straight toward her hung in the museum throughout the summer, alongside Brooks's stunning Silver Seas exhibit. That bird also spent the summer of 2013 hanging in Seattle's Museum of Flight, as a selection for its Spirit of Flight exhibit. The photo, Incoming!, (also a first prize winner at the 2012 San Juan County Fair!) can be viewed slightly larger, by clicking on the bird. photo

incoming

 

For much more about Alex's recent activities, visit Event Archive Archive
 
     
Island fox

 

A sampling of what Alex sounds like:

The best thing about composers' websites is that they're sonic business cards! Click the MP3 icon to hear an excerpt. Click the title to learn more about it. Alex's education and career have allowed her voice to be expressed in music for...

Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian
chamber ensembles
 

 

hear
film, TV and games
 
hear
 
hear
symphonic wind bands

 

hear

 

hear
jazz groups
 
hear
 
hear
electronics

 

hear

 

hear
indie pop songs
  hear   hear
choir

 

hear

 

hear
and even country pop.
 

 

hear

Alex at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2014
Happily surrounded by brass, at NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 2014.


Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian

Alex calls herself a pan-genre composer, with a penchant for organically spanning across idioms, often within a single piece. One of the most welcoming sonic worlds for her unique voice has been that of symphonic wind band, for which she's been composing electroacoustic works unlike anything else in the repertoire.

 
 
 
 
 

 

To explore Alex's works for band, visit: Wind band Wind band
 

 

How did this mostly-chamber music composer get into writing for symphonic band? Listen to Alex describe how it happened, in this two-minute excerpt from an interview she gave to Carey Nadeau from the American Composers Forum in June 2010.

(Quick! Click, if only to release Alex's otherwise normal-looking face from this silly still from the video):

To experience the entire catalog, please visit Works Works

Want to hear much more? Visit Alex's original Dial-a-Mood Dial-a-Mood

To order scores to these and other works, please visit Purchase Purchase

In addition to traditionally bound scores and parts, music is available at half price as .pdf files.
Purchase pdfs

Alex sailing in the San Juans
Alex sailing in the San Juan Islands, October 2011

 

Alex loves coaching and teaching...

Skypehearsals:

Alex really enjoys interacting with students and faculty during residencies, in which she spends a few days at a university and gives master classes, private composition lessons, and lectures on the changing paradigm of the music business, and attends rehearsals and performances of her music. But when budgets and schedules don't allow for travel, Skype (or a Google Hangout) has become the next best thing.

Whether for a rehearsal of a concert wind band piece or chamber work, or to bring Alex right into your lecture hall for an interactive discussion about the music business, Skype is a great tool. Alex's live feedback is valuable, and musicians love it when Alex turns her camera around to show them a source of her inspiration: the sea at her feet, with the occasional Bald Eagle or Orca whale gliding past. The technology brings a unique dimension into the art of collaborative music-making, and connects students to the person-- and sometimes to the very funny stories-- behind the notes on the music stands.

Skypehearsal
A Jan. 2012 Skypehearsal with Alex in her studio on San Juan Island, and guest conductor Jerry Luckhardt on the podium at Oregon State University, rehearsing BENEATH.

Skypehearsal
A December 2012 Skypehearsal with Alex in her studio on San Juan Island, and band director Mary Bauer and Mt. Mansfield Union High School in Vermont,
rehearsing PAPER CUT.
   
The view from Alex's desk- with Bald Egle and rainbow!

 

For more about online coaching, please visit Skypehearsals Email Alex


     
Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian

Private mentoring:

Alex Shapiro has a private teaching studio for those wishing to study composition and/or business skills with her online. She offers instruction in the many ways to use one's web presence to generate income, as well as specific consultations in music copying, publishing, promotion, and other necessary professional skills for today's composers.

A familiar guest lecturer at universities and conservatories, Alex is available to speak to music and business school classes.

 

To inquire about lessons, email Alex Email Alex

Alex sailing a Farr 65
Alex sailing a 65' racing sloop in Jamaica, January 2011

 

Alex loves to speak to audiences...
CD Party and lecture

Alex speaks at many events and motivates people in and outside of the music world. Whether discussing music-making, the new digital paradigm, the philosophy of self worth, or the importance of a sense of humor, Alex is an engaging and encouraging presenter who's been referred to by more than a few people as "the Anthony Robbins of contemporary music, but a lot shorter."

 

To see a video and obtain booking information, click here Speaking
 
     
Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian

 

Keeping up with Alex...
Get online with Alex!
Interact! Become one of Alex's online friends
and share your world with her.
YouTube
Twitter
Facebook
MySpace
Reverbnation
Linked In
Internet networking sites have brought many wonderful collaborations and commissions to Alex's virtual doorstep. Enjoy watching one of her MySpace friends, artist Simon Kenevan, make a pastel study for his painting 'Afternoon Sun,' to her Phos Hilaron:


 
     
 
shark-ho!

Alex loves hearing from visitors, so don't be shy if you'd like to send her an email. To join the mailing list for concert information and news of Alex Shapiro CD releases, click here email

Your contact information will not be shared with anyone for any reason, even if sharks surround Alex's kayak and demand it. Promise!

offshore Malibu

 
     
Alpaca

 

A note from Alex...
Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian

My compositions are a very personal expression, but I also write to give musicians pieces which they'll really enjoy playing, and to offer audiences music which will speak to them directly and emotionally. As with the sea which surrounds me here on San Juan Island, there's an ebb and flood to this happy relationship. I compose music because I have to, without expectation that others will resonate with it, yet with the hope that many might. My art is a tidepool, inviting others to enter and... with luck, thrive.

Composing is a lot like making love. We're trying to please ourselves. We're hoping to please at least one other person. And, we are in fact, communicating. Passionately. I compose to communicate, and ideally, my work will show you not only a glimpse of me, but a reflection of yourself.

         

The intimacy of the magic triangle of composer, musicians and audience is what draws me to compose. In the midst of writing, I love exploring and balancing the voice of each instrument within a group, whether a small chamber ensemble or a symphonic band. When I have the opportunity to rehearse one of my pieces with players, it's exciting to be part of the volley of interpretations and personalities. Music lives through the art of others.

Finally, when the new piece is performed, the triangle between me, the musicians and the audience is complete. A musical idea which was formerly a personal impression has now become a public gesture.

________

I compose
to communicate.

 
tide pools
tide pools
splash
 

Alex at the helm

A major inspiration for my music has been the gorgeous coastal areas in which I've lived; water seems to be an inescapable theme in my life. I grew up in Manhattan, overlooking first the East River, then later, living by the Hudson. At 21, I moved to southern California and spent most of my 24 years there at the shore in Malibu and even afloat on the water itself, living part-time on a sailboat in Santa Barbara.

Now, it's the serenity of Washington State's remote San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea that makes my muses so happy. When I'm not composing, I'm marveling at the abundant shoreline life and tidepools directly in front of my house. This connection to the natural world has become as necessary to me now as urban life was to me years ago.

I've developed a little hobby of capturing in photographs the creatures and the small, yet remarkable moments that define my daily life here. This website is riddled with them, and you can experience more of this joy with me via my blog, Notes From the Kelp blog

whoosh
splash
roll
boom
crash
 

 

When I'm not composing,
I'm marveling at the
abundant shoreline life
a few steps from my house.

________

 

 

No composer writes in a vacuum; our output is the result of musical history. My own voice is inspired by the chromaticism and angularity of Alban Berg and Anton Webern, the lyricism of Johannes Brahms, Maurice Ravel and Bill Evans, and the rhythms of Middle Eastern and African cultures. With luck, the notes come out sounding something like... Shapiro. You can listen to brief samples of all my recent pieces on the pages of this website and draw your own opinion.

I'm convinced that there has never been a better time to be a composer. There are no longer stylistic boundaries limiting our expression, and thanks to tools such as websites like this, we can share our explorations with the world, regardless of where we choose to live. I get a lot of joy from encouraging my peers to take full advantage of the freedom and power artists now possess.

         
Traditionally, a composer's catalog of pieces is viewed by instrumentation, and you'll find such a listing on the WORKS Works page of this site. But I think that the music itself and the emotions it elicits are the best indicator of what a writer has to say, and so I put together the DIAL-A-MOOD Dial-a-Mood page to offer a quick sampling of a variety of styles. It's almost as interactive as I am.

_____________

Ideally, my music
will show you not only
a glimpse of me,
but a reflection
of yourself.

     
Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian
     
 

So, there's a bit about me and what motivates my work as a composer. If you'd like to read a little more on my thoughts about composers, listeners and life in general, my musings continue here essays


Or, begin clicking around the other pages on this site to learn more about my background, read about my recent pieces and hear audio clips of my music. Drop me an email if you feel like it; I love hearing from people around the world. Enjoy!

 

Whiz back up to the top!

_____________________


island fox
Alex Shapiro, composer
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© 2000-2016  by Alex Shapiro. All nature photos by Alex Shapiro (like 'em?). All rights reserved to design and content.