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The San Juan Islands


Alex Shapiro

(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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Alex Shapiro, photo by Dan Shelley, 2015


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


Composing a lot of music (mostly for chamber ensembles and symphonic wind bands, often paired with prerecorded audio soundscapes) composing

Speaking at events, residencies, and conferences around the world and virtually speaking

Participating on advocacy boards and committees participating

Writing articles and essays writing


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


Alex speaking at the ASCAP EXPO in Hollywood, 2016
San Juan Islands, from above


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, below:




San Juan Islands, from above


QUICK! Wanna hear what Alex sounds like?


.WAV (better!)



21 pieces in 21 minutes!

Play this head-spinning tour of some Shapiro works in the background as you peruse this website!
Click either icon to the right.

Click HERE to see the excerpts, any of which can be heard in their entirety alongside the names of the conductor and ensemble, by clicking on a title.




Alex did significantly more residencies, guest lectures, and interviews in just the nine months between March and December 2020, than she had done in the PAST 20 YEARS.

It's a new world, and you can watch many of the recent webcasts, webinars, and talks Alex has given on topics ranging from technology, diversity and inclusion, music education, adaptable music, and of course, Alex's own approach to composition, by clicking HERE. More

Alex Shapiro in her studio April 2021

Curious to hear about Alex's process in composing and producing the large-scale electroacoustic pieces that have kept her very busy for many years?

CLICK THE PIC ABOVE to hear what she had to say about her approach to her work--including her new wind symphony, SUSPENDED, and about the past, present and future of electroacoustic writing, during an interview witih conductor and composer Michael Shapiro (no relation) in May 2021 for his webcast INTERPLAY.




What Alex has been up to:
Currently/Most recently

Latest 2021 commission:

July 13, 2021 at the DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Alex's four-movement symphony for winds, percussion, and pre-recorded soundscape, SUSPENDED, was premiered. Conducted by Dr. Cynthia Johnston Turner and commissioned by Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma for their National Intercollegiate Band and Convention, it is Alex's most dramatic and emotional reflection to date: addressing not only the pandemic, but the many troubling, ongoing issues of the times.

Want to hear it? Click HERE to visit the dedicated page, or the icon below to download the recording of the premiere.

To read more about the convention and its long, distinguished history, click HERE: NIB National Convention

Listen to SUSPENDED:

download SUSPENDED


NIB National Convention

NIB National Convention


Recent honor:

Concurrent with the premiere of her second symphony, SUSPENDED, commissioned by Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma for their July 2021 National Intercollegiate Band, Alex was made an Honorary Brother of both fraternities, and awarded Tau Beta Sigma's "Outstanding Service to Music Award".

TBS award


First piece for beginners:

During the same period during which Alex composed her oh-so-very sophisticated second symphony SUSPENDED, she also composed her first piece for beginning music students, COUNT TO TEN. Why? Because she believes that all living composers should be writing primers for the music of their time, by participating in the educational process and providing fresh, creative repertoire that can further inspire the students to keep playing!

Toddlers can count to ten, so surely, middle schoolers can count to nine! And once a young student can count to nine, meters in 5 and 7 won't be daunting. For a closer look at this unusual 3-part flex piece with an optional and REALLY GROOVY accompaniment track, click HERE: Count to Ten


download 120bpm version


Count to Ten cover


Latest in-person residency:

Alex was the guest composer at the Total Band Director Workshop, held July 28 & 29 at Rush Creek Golf Course in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Hosted by Eckroth Music and sponsored by Hal Leonard, J.W. Pepper, Yamaha, and Conn & Selmer, this annual event is an intensive workshop for band directors that provides new tools, materials, and fresh perspectives on the field.

Alex gave presentations on electroacoustic music, multimedia, and the power of sharing environmental and social messages through music and the impact performances can have on raising audience awareness. Additionally, there was an electroacoustic "petting zoo" reading session, during which directors played excerpts from a selection of Alex's EA band works and learned how to set up the tech and become comfortable with a click track!

Total Band Director Workshop


Latest recordings:

A [non-performing!] pianist herself, Alex has always loved composing for the instrument. Pianist Adam Marks recorded all of Alex's solo piano works for a gorgeous album on innova Recordings titled ARCANA. The collection was released on August 28, 2020, and if you visit the dedicated page for the [slightly unusual] project, you can read about it and enjoy preview excerpts, and videos! More

The March-April 2021 issue of American Record Guide includes a glowing review of the entire album, penned by Stephanie Ann Boyd, who concludes with, "This disc is a triumph and I highly recommend spending time with the work of these two artists." Click HERE to read the entire review of ARCANA on Ms. Boyd's website.

Activist Music has published a collection of Alex Shapiro's solo piano works, available at a discounted rate as a set of .pdf downloads. Ranging from short offerings to those with multiple movements, these idiomatic pieces reveal an especially personal musical world. For complete information about the published collection, click HERE. More

Arcana CD


In Memoriam, Adam Marks, who passed away suddenly on May 9, 2021 at age 42.

In grief, with endless love and respect.



Flutist Tessa Brinckman released a beautiful CD single on World Oceans Day, June 8, 2020, of Alex's electroacoustic duet for contrabass flute and Pacific Humpback whale, BELOW. Click HERE to see an excerpt from the mesmerizing video created for the project by Diana Lehr.

Below CD Single


Latest podcast:

If you have a longing for lounge-chill funk timpani or want to understand the finer theory of whale-tempered tuning, now's your chance! Plus a legally indemnifying disclaimer: no flutists were harmed in the making of the wild effects you'll hear in one of the six eclectic works from Alex's diverse catalog that you'll hear on this revealing episode of Relevant Tones. Should anyone want a quick tour of the chaos that swirls in her head, Seth Boustead has generously provided the portal!

Relevant Tones, with Seth Boustead


Recent mix:

When conductor Stephen Squires led the Fox Valley Orchestra in Aurora, Illinois in a performance of BENEATH, he also recorded the ensemble so that Alex could mix the track in her studio. Venture to the depths of the sea with the plaintive song of a Humpback whale as your guide, and listen to this orchestra's beautiful recording!



Beneath for orchestra


Recent LIVE premiere:

Much of the year 2020 can be epitomized by the concept of being deprived of breath. From the lung-destroying effects of COVID-19, to the murderous strangulations of police brutality. From the searing, choking walls of wildfire smoke, to the smothering treason of politicians attempting to asphyxiate democracy.

All of these topics traversed Alex's mind and heart as she composed BREATHE, a new, ten minute work for electroacoustic wind ensemble, commissioned by the Colorado Mesa University Wind Symphony, Calvin Hofer, conductor, with the generous support of Karen Combs and Lynn Wegener. The piece is Alex's second one utilizing a 12-tone row (the first being the very, VERY different TIGHT SQUEEZE). BREATHE would have premiered in Colorado in December 2020, but the pandemic delayed the concert to April 27, 2021.

What was not delayed was the sense of emotional release that Alex felt through the catharsis of composing this work, which begins as bleakly as the subject matter, but shifts mood as the final minutes appear. You can hear for yourself, in this powerful recording from the premiere:

Download the recording made with the live premiere performance:





Clinician, October 22, 2021:

Alex gave one of her favorite online multimedia presentations at "Unmasking Music Education"-- the Nova Scotia Music Educators Association Conference. Titled, "Music with Messages: The Impact of Activism through Art," Alex uses selected multimedia electroacoustic band works from her catalog to exemplify the powerful connection that can be had between the arts, technology, and the world around us.




Clinician, December 15-28 2021, in Chicago, Illinois:

Alex will be a clinician on two panels at the 2021 Midwest Clinic in Chicago.

Embedding Social Emotional Learning in Instrumental Music Education will explore creative approaches to bringing out the best in students, and Alex will be joined by Scott Edgar, Bob Morrison, and composers Brian Balmages, Cait Nishimura, Richard Saucedo, Jim Stephenson, and Omar Thomas.

The Horizon Leans Forward… A Panel Discussion on the Issues of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the Wind Band Field will offer a frank conversation among Alex's composer and conductor co-authors Erik Leung, Courtney Snyder, Alfred Watkins, Rob Taylor, and Jodie Blackshaw.

The Midwest Clinic 2021

The Midwest Clinic 2021


Latest 2020 publication:


Joining 11 of her peers, Alex co-founded the Creative Repertoire Initiative to encourage composers to create adaptable works for ensembles with varying personnel and rehearsal circumstances.

For this world in constant flux, Alex's latest electroacoustic work, PASSAGES, offers a calming, centering, meditative, and encouraging outlook for any combination of instruments. Each cellular phrase sounds beautiful whether stacked or exposed, and played with any of the chords in the accompaniment track. It's never quite the same piece twice, because musicians make random choices from a selection of melodies and rhythms of varying difficulty. The music is especially well suited for musicians recording themselves during distance learning sessions, and even for soloists wishing to improvise!

Stream an excerpt from the accompaniment track:


Listen to the entire live recording (3:00):




Creative Repertoire Initiative


Latest 2020 premiere:


Alex has just finished an unusual, sound design-heavy electroacoustic concert opener for wind band, ASCENT. It was scheduled to be performed by the University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble conducted by lead commissioner Jeffrey Boeckman at the CBDNA Western/Northwestern Division Conference in Tacoma, WA on March 19, 2020, but we all know what happened to this and every other conference across the world that month. The work was commissioned by 25 ensembles from the U.S. and Canada.

Also featured at the conference on March 20th would have been Alex's band work MOMENT, performed by the University of Alberta Symphonic Wind Ensemble conducted by Angela Schroeder, and a presentation on large ensemble multimedia works and social activism that Alex was looking forward to giving, with University of British Columbia Director of Bands Rob Taylor, and University of Puget Sound Director of Bands Gerard Morris.

Nonetheless, right before all the concert cancellations, the University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble was able to perform ASCENT a couple of times for their local island audiences. You can hear the fantastic job they did for the Honolulu premiere by clicking on the links below.

And, CBDNA launched a YouTube series and kicked it off with Alex's presentation, which you can view below. Where there's an internet connection, there's a way!

Listen to ASCENT:

download ASCENT


Watch Impact and Activism:





University of Hawai'i


Latest 2020 book:

Alex is one of six co-authors of the new book, The Horizon Leans Forward...Stories of Courage, Strength, and Triumph of Underrepresented Communities in the Wind Band Field, released by GIA Publications December 2020.

Edited by conductor Erik Kar Jun Leung (Oregon State University), the book includes Ms. Shapiro's chapter, Reaching Out and Bringing Women In, along with those from composer Jodie Blackshaw and conductors Alfred L. Watkins, Robert Taylor (University of British Columbia), Courtney Snyder (University of Michigan), and Erik Leung, each of whom address perspectives of women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA2S+ composers and conductors of the past and present.

Additionally, the publication includes a notable annotated bibliography of works by underrepresented composers. The six co-authors have done several compelling Zoominars about the book contents, and those links can be found in the diversity and includion section, HERE: watch videos

To read more about the book and to order a hard copy, click HERE: Order book from GIA

To order the digital copy, click HERE: Order digital book from Amazon

GIA Publications


Latest unusual project:

COVID-19 has brought many challenges to university music programs, but in the face of limitations there are also positive opportunities. Rather than try to make something as precious as live ensemble performance exist in a format not yet designed for it, Alex gave some thought to what an online connection for students in band and orchestra can uniquely provide.

At the invitation of the University of Washington's Director of Bands Timothy Salzman, Alex came up with a syllabus for the students that reflects our current reality. Click to read the article about the successful project, Putting the E- in E-nsemble.

Between March and December 2020, Alex has overseen the curriculum with over 30 universities and high schools, and 2021 will bring the project to even more music students who will discover an inner creativity they hadn't realized they possess.

If you would like to see the syllabus, just email Alex and she'll be happy to get it to you. She's available as a consultant, or to help you customize the course for your students and to Zoom in to work with them!

e-Ensemble with UW

e-Ensemble with UW


Latest choral premiere:

Alex has composed an emotional electroacoustic work for SATB choir, titled O DEATH ROCK ME ASLEEP. The dramatic piece is set to a moving text penned by Anne Boleyn while imprisoned in the Tower of London as she awaited her beheading. Commissioned by Suzi Digby and The Golden Bridge, the new work premiered in Beverly Hills, CA. on September 7, 2019.

Click here to listen to, or watch,
the flawless premiere and its stunning ending.



Golden Bridge


Latest 2019 delivered commission:

Band director Jim Mobley loves the fresh genre of electroacoustic wind band music, and believes that there should be more such pieces in the repertoire— especially for younger musicians to perform. He put together the N-BEAM consortium, which over the course of three years, has supported the addition of three new Grade 2.5 EA works to the concert band world. Composers Daniel Montoya Jr. and Benjamin Taylor wrote their pieces-- TECHNO BLADE, and AXE TO GRIND, respectively-- for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and Alex has just delivered OFF THE EDGE, to its 35 commissioning ensembles.

Have a listen to Alex's pop-EDM approach to music for middle schoolers, as performed in March 2020 by the Center Grove Middle School Central Band in Greenwood, Indiana, conducted by Samuel Fritz. Play it loudly!


download OFF THE EDGE


The first round of N-BEAM has been so successful that Jim Mobley and the three composers have agreed to launch N-BEAM 2.0! Three new pieces will roll out between 2020 and 2023. Interested in being a participant in this unique and wonderful adventure? Click here: read

Want to witness just how ridiculous three composers and a band director can be under the glare of conference floor lights at the Midwest Clinic? Click here:

watch the madness




Recent press:

Sheet Music Plus features Alex and her career in a wide-ranging piece for its September 2019 Take Note blog. Read about the connection between music, activism, multimedia, and yes, even Beethoven, by clicking here. read


Minnesota Public Radio's Your Classical division created a Top Ten list of wind band composers, to expand the public's knowledge of the genre. Alex [randomly!] came in at #2 after Sousa. You can peruse the list by clicking here. read

Sheet Music PlusTake Note


MPR Your Classical


Recent international workshops:

Alex was in Tokyo, Japan in late May 2019 for meetings with her colleagues on the Executive Committee of The International Council Of Music Authors (CIAM)— the writers council of CISAC.

While there, she and several CIAM ExCo members gave a workshop hosted by Japan's collective management society JASRAC, for an auditorium of Japanese music creators, addressing local and international copyright issues.

In January 2019 during the CIAM ExCo meetings in Cabo Verde, Africa, Alex participated in career and copyright workshops with her CIAM ExCo writer colleagues.

In November 2018 in Mexico City, Alex was with her writer colleagues on the CIAM ExCo at the Annual CIAM Congress in Mexico City. She moderated a panel discussion with music creators from Australia, Europe, Canada, and South America, discussing not only the problems of far-reaching biases, but the solutions. Also in attendance were ASCAP President and Chairman Paull Williams, and ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews.

Alex again joined her international writer colleagues on the CIAM ExCo at the May 2018 CISAC General Assembly meeting in Warsaw, Poland, at which she spoke on a panel addressing gender inequity issues throughout the music industry. You can read about it by clicking here. read

CIAM addresses issues ranging from global copyright and royalty payment improvements, to transfer of value, fair trade music, blockchain potential, and much more, in an effort to advance the wellbeing of music creators around the world.


Alex Shapiro on the CIAM ExCo career workshop panel in Cabo Verde, Africa


Alex Shapiro on the CIAM ExCo copyright workshop panel in Tokyo, Japan.


Alex Shapiro speaking at the CIAM ExCo in Mexico City


Alex Shapiro (at right)-CISAC Warsaw


Clinician, December 19-22 2018, in Chicago, Illinois:

Joining composer Jennifer Jolley, and conductors Jeffrey Boeckman, Courtney Snyder, Chester Bryant Phillips, and Jacob Wallace, Alex participated in a presentation at the 2018 Midwest Clinic titled, "Bridging the Gender Gap: Developing Strategies for Creating Equity in Ensemble Programming."


Speaking and presenting, December 12, 2018, in New York City, NY:

Alex and fellow ASCAP Board member Marcus Miller gave a talk to the winners of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Award, prior to the awards ceremony at which the duo acknowledged the receipents. Alex was also pleased to present composer Melinda Wagner with the ASCAP Foundation Masters Award.

Marcus Miller and Alex Shapiro talking to winners of the Morton Gould Young Composer award

Alex Shapiro presents the ASCAP Foundation Masters Award to Melinda Wagner


Panelist, May 8, 2018, in Hollywood, California:

Partnering with fellow ASCAP Board members Desmond Child and Michelle Lewis plus producer Deputy, Alex spoke on an entertaining panel titled Welcome to Splitsville, U.S.A.: Where co-writers live together in harmony forever... like our songs. The quartet demonstrated the importance of accurate songwriting agreements to ensure payment. Click to read about the panel here. read


ASCAP EXPO 2018: Deputy, Michelle Lewis, Alex and Desmond Child

gull toes

Featured podcasts

March 2021: Alex enjoyed a VERY spirited conversation with The Band Room Podcast's cohosts conductor Dylan Maddix and composer Cait Nishimura about why she loves the band community, how her environment influences her work, and how she overcomes creative blocks and anxiety, as well as her thoughts about adaptable music and the future of music publishing.

Additionally, the Band Room Podcast features a private bonus episode for its subscribers-- and in the case of Alex's, if you toss a latte's worth of Patreon dollars to the series you'll be rewarded with what is undoubtedly one of the most unusual, if truly bizarre, composer hobby stories— information that until now, Alex had never shared in a public format!

The Band Room Podcast


The Band Room Podcast


May 2020: One of Alex's favorite 2020 conversations was with conductor Aaron Noe for his webcast Wind Conductor. They discussed a remarkably broad range of topics, including taking a deep dive into upcoming technogies destined to have a profound effect on musicians. Click the icon at right to watch. watch

Wind Conductor, with Aaron Noe


March 2020: Beloved band director Charlie Menghini launched a new podcast series of conversations with composers, conductors, and educators, Band Talk with Charlie Menghini and Friends, and Alex was the first of his guests for Episode 2. Click the icon at right to have a listen. listen

Band Talk with Charlie Menghini


March 2018: Alex really enjoyed talking with Mark J. Connor as a guest on his popular podcast, Everything Band. Covering everything from career to clarinet-playing gerbils (!), it was a far-ranging chat! Click the icon at right to have a listen. listen

Everything Band


January 2016: 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 over drinks in Alex's San Juan Island, WA living room, is posted in two March 2016 parts, and you can hear it below:

Alex Shapiro and Garrett Hope
The Portfolio Composer

Part 1: hear Part 1
Part 2: hear Part 2

May 2017 and April 2016: In May 2017, Alex returned to MPP to join co-hosts Dennis Tobenski and mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen for a discussion about the wide range of creative commissioning techniques available to performers and composers. Want to hear Alex's Plan A,B,C,D and beyond? Click here: listen

The previous April, Alex was the inaugural guest for composer 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

Composers Datebook is a daily two-minute syndicated radio program produced by American Public Media in association with the American Composers Forum. The series highlights moments in music history of the past and the present, and its February 11, 2017 and 2020 segments feature Alex Shapiro and the anniversary of the premiere of her sonata for tuba and piano titled Music for Two Big Instruments. You can listen to the amusing description by clicking here and then clicking the "play" arrow at the top of the page listen


You can listen to more interviews with Alex here. radio and podcasts


Composers Datebook-Shapiro



A recent documentary appearance

Alex appears in three of director Michael Stillwater's documentary films: Shining Night, Beyond the Fear of Singing, and In Search of the Great Song. Click below to listen to a short excerpt from the latter, filmed at Alex's home on San Juan Island, WA. and scored with her piece BELOW. Alex shares her thoughts about how the sea inspires her muses.






A featured 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

A few appearances

November 7-9, 2017, in Tokyo, Japan: Alex was elected to be ASCAP's representative on the Executive Committee of The International Council Of Music Authors (CIAM)— the writers council of CISAC, a global network of authors' societies that represents four million creators in 121 countries. She spoke on a panel titled, "The Future of Collective Management."

Shapiro speaking in Tokyo at the CIAM Annual Assembly.

June 7-10, 2017, in Lisbon, Portugal: Alex was invited to represent the writer members of ASCAP at the Executive Committee meetings for CIAM, the International Council Of Music Authors. The Council was formed by CISAC, the global collective of performing rights societies, and is comprised of creator members of performing rights music organizations around the world.

Shapiro at CIAM ExCo meeting

April 26, 2017, 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. Known as "Stand with Songwriters" Advocacy Day, the office visits are preceded by an inspiring evening concert at the Library of Congress called, "We Write the Songs," where policy makers enjoy performances by some of the world's top ASCAP creators.

Over the years Alex has spoken with many Representatives, including Joaquin Castro (D-TX), pictured here in May 2016 with Alex and ASCAP board President and Chairman Paul Williams.

View of the Capitol from ASCAP's van on lobbying day

ASCAP Lobbying in Washington, D.C.


April 13-15, 2017, in Hollywood: The 12th annual ASCAP EXPO brought artists from every genre together for an inspiring conference of workshops, panels, performances and networking at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Alex spoke on a panel titled "Getting Credit Where Credit is Due," addressing the need for accurate attribution across all genres and in all uses of digital media, alongside songwriter and performer Aloe Blacc, songwriter and fellow ASCAP Board member Desmond Child, attorney and panel moderator Dina LaPolt, and Auddly founder Niclas Molinder (pictured L-R). You can read about the animated discussion-- which included comments from Pandora's head of publisher licensing Adam Parness during the Q&A by clicking here. read

At the 2016 EXPO, 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." Pictured L-R: Composer Veronika Krausas, Alex, visualists Candace Reckinger and Michael Patterson, and ASCAP VP of Concert Music Cia Toscanini.





December 14, 2016, in New York City: The ASCAP Foundation Awards event honors emerging and distinguished music creators from a broad array of genres, and Alex was honored to present the Life in Music Award to her friend and renowned composer Morten Lauridsen. For information, click here more info

Lauridsen and Shapiro

November 4-6, 2016, in Friday Harbor: Alex handled 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


Recent residencies

May 16-19, 2019: Alex was in residence at Mt. San Antonio College, rehearsing her music with its band led by conductor Dr. Gregory Whitmore. Whitmore is also the conductor of the Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble, which performed two of Alex's most popular works, TIGHT SQUEEZE and PAPER CUT at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa.



January 19-21, 2018: Alex was at Shenandoah University, working with the composition students and enjoying performances of three of her works: her trio CIRCUS OF FLEAS, as well as MOMENT and TIGHT SQUEEZE, conducted by Tim Robblee.


Shenandoah University


Orca whale and gull

A few 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.

You can learn more about CHORD HISTORY here. score info


250 Pieces for Beethoven


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.

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.

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

Teaching Music Through Performance



Service appointments


November, 2017: Alex Shapiro became ASCAP's elected representative on the Executive Committee of The International Council Of Music Authors (CIAM)— the writers council of CISAC, a global network of authors' societies that represents four million creators in 121 countries. CIAM members convene several times a year in cities around the world to address the many ways to fiercely protect the rights of composers, authors and copyright holders so that they're properly remunerated for the commercial uses of their work.

The Council also takes an active role in advising newly established collective rights societies. Working with advocates in countries whose creators have not had the benefit of essential rights like copyright protection and royalty distribution, CIAM shares information about best practices to help them serve their members.


November, 2016: Alex is honored to have been elected to the Board of Directors of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, which provides financial support for myriad composers and musicians seeking assistance in launching recording and performance projects, and handles permissions for uses of Copland's music. Click here to peruse the site!

Aaron Copland Fund for Music

March, 2015: Alex was elected by the membership 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.


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. In December 2021 Alex was elected as an officer and is one of the five members of the Foundation's Executive Committee. Click here to peruse the site!


The ASCAP Foundation


To see more, visit Event Archive Archive
musical sea creature


Full streams of some premieres:



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

Enjoy a live performance by the Central Washington University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Lewis Norfleet:


LIQUID COMPASS score cover

Sunset over the San Juan Islands

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.

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:

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

Listen to excerpts of PERPETUAL SPARK from Fifth House Ensemble's live premiere performance at the Chicago Cultural Center:


A bit later:




Read about

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

Listen to excerpts  
Earlier in the piece
Later in the piece





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.

Read about

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
Mov't 2: Surface
Mov't 3: Beneath, 1
Mov't 3: Beneath, 2

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:

MPR stream


For info about other performances, visit Concerts Concerts



Alex Shap..gurgle..iro


Recordings of Alex's music:
Shapiro solo piano music collection

Arcana CD

  The 2020 Innova Recordings release of Alex's album, ARCANA, is a collection of her complete solo piano music until 2020, beautifully recorded by pianist Adam Marks. To read about the project and hear excerpts, click here more  

Add some algae to your life and buy a copy:


Or, download and enjoy all the tracks right now:

iTunes link
Shapiro chamber music collection

Notes from the Kelp CD

  The 2007 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:


Or, download and enjoy all the tracks right now:

iTunes link




Click on any CD for more information.


New American Piano Music
Hammers & Sticks
Coast to Coast
New American Piano Music:
Sonata for Piano

Music for Hammers & Sticks:
At the Abyss

Above and Beyond
Saxtronic Soundscape
Solo Rumores
An Robert Schumann
Above and Beyond:

Saxtronic Soundscape:
Desert Tide

Solo Rumores:

An Robert Schumann:
Slowly, searching

La Discordantia
2017 NAfME Northwest
Jenni Scott
Trumpet Colors
La Discordantia:

2017 NAfME Northwest:
Liquid Compass

Jenni Scott:
Shiny Kiss

Trio Chromos:

The Dreams of Birds
Garrison Festival
60 x 60
Below: Music for Low Flutes:

The Dreams of Birds:

Garrison Piano Competition:

60 x 60 2005:

Notes from the Kelp
Midwest Clinic 2011
Midwest Clinic 2013
Alex Shapiro:
Notes from the Kelp

Midwest Clinic:
Paper Cut

Water Crossing

Midwest Clinic:
Tight Squeeze

Californian Concert
Delicate Balance
250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven, Vol. 1
Californian Concert:
For My Father

Delicate Balance:
Water Crossing

Perpetual Spark

250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven:
Chord History

Double or Nothing
Beck and Call
Everything Beautiful
Double or Nothing:

Beck and Call:
Of Breath & Touch
Everything Beautiful:
Liquid Compass
Tight Squeeze
Alex Shapiro/Adam Marks:

Below CD Single



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:

Alex Shapiro is very, very fortunate to have her works performed in hundreds of venues each year. A list of selected concerts for which she has information can be found by visting THIS PAGE.

If you have programmed a Shapiro work or have an upcoming concert date, please email the information— as well as a program, if possible— to Alex by clicking HERE. You'll be added to the Concerts page, and a smile will be added to Alex's face! Thanks!




To see the 2021-2022 concerts, visit Concerts Bio
Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian


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-- has played during every football game since September 2015, as the 290 musicians of the Tiger Marching Band pour out on to the field to perform. Go Tigers-- the 2016 National Champions!


Here's what it looked and sounded like on January 9, 2017, as the Clemson University Tiger Band entered the field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida for the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship:


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

Speaking as an artist: 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:



Speaking as an advocate: Alex became one of 12 writer and 12 publisher members of ASCAP's board of directors in 2014. Since most of the 640,000 members haven't met their representatives, ASCAP launched a series of "meet the board" videos in 2017. Here's Alex's:





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



Watch a webhearsal!

Alex doing a webhearsal in her San Juan Island studio.

CLICK to watch what it's like!

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? hereread

Read What I Learned About My Tiny Business From Paramount Pictures hereread

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




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




Video podcasts, such as: 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




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 background 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.



Rosen and Shapiro


For more essays and interviews, visit Articles and Broadcasts Essays




Additional media:
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.



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.

In Michael Stillwater's third film, Beyond the Fear of Singing, Alex talks about non-musicians freely embracing the freedom of expression.

You can enjoy previews of all three beautiful documentaries here. films


Shining Night

In Search of the Great Song

Beyond the Fear of Singing



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





To see more, 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


film, TV and games
symphonic wind bands




jazz groups




indie pop songs
  hear   hear




and even country pop.




MUSIC FOR LARGE ENSEMBLES: 21 pieces in 21 minutes!

Listen to a head-spinning tour of Alex's works!
Click either icon to the right.

Any piece can be heard in its entirety by clicking on a title below and visiting the linked page, which includes the credits for the conductor and ensemble heard in the recording.

Here's what's on the demo:


.WAV (better!)
Grade 4
Grade 4+
Grade 4
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 4+
Grade 3
Grade 4+
Grade 2.5
Grade 4+
Grade 5
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 5
Grade 2
Grade 4+
Grade 3 and beyond
Grade 0.5 and beyond
Grade 4+
Grade 5
Grade 5

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, for all musicians from virtuoso professionals to absolute beginners.



(wind band and audio track;
2010; 23:00; Grade 4-5)


(wind band, audio track;
2013; 3:15; Grade 4)


(wind band, audio track;
2014; 9:00; Grade 5)

(from Immersion)

(wind band and audio track;
2010; 7:43; Grade 4)


(wind band, audio track;
2015; 4:30; Grade 4)


(wind band, printer paper, audio track;
2010; 5:00; Grade 3 and above)

(from Immersion)

(wind band, audio track;
2010; 3:55; Grade 5)


(wind band, audio track;
2016; 5:45; Grade 4)


(wind band, rocks, audio track;
2016; 4:15; Grade 2.5 and above)

(from Immersion)

(wind band, audio track;
2010; 10:10; Grade 4-5)


(wind band and audio track;
2017; 7:15; Grade 4)


(wind band;
2008; 7:30; Grade 4-5)


(wind band and audio track;
2020; 3:00; Grade 2-4)


(wind band, audio track;
2019; 3:20; Grade 2.5 and above)


(wind band;
2020; 2:30; Grade 4-5)


(wind band, optional audio track)
2021; 1:07; Grade 0.5 and above)


(wind band, audio track;
2020; 10:00; Grade 4 and above)


(wind band, optional audio track)
2021; 1:20; Grade 3 and above)



for 2021:




(wind band, audio track;
2021; 28:00; Grade 5 and above)

(from Suspended)

(wind band;
2021; 5:15; Grade 5 and above)

(from Suspended)

(wind band, audio track;
2021; 9:00; Grade 4 and above)

(from Suspended)

(wind band, audio track;
2021; 5:00; Grade 5 and above)

(from Suspended)

(wind band, audio track;
2021; 6:00; Grade 5 and above)



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.




To experience the entire catalog, please visit Works Email Alex


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


To order scores, 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...


Alex really enjoys interacting with students and faculty during rehearsals and guest artist residencies. But when budgets and schedules and, oh, y'know, global pandemics don't allow for travel, Zoom, Skype, Webex, Google Hangouts or anything similar have become the next best thing.

A composer's live feedback is valuable, and musicians get an additional smile when Alex turns her camera around to show them a source of her inspiration: the sea at her feet on Washington State's remote San Juan Island, with the occasional Bald Eagle or Orca whale gliding past.



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.



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 Webhearsals 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.

Email Alex!


Internet networking sites have brought many wonderful collaborations and commissions to Alex's virtual doorstep. Enjoy watching one of her online friends, artist Simon Kenevan, make a pastel study for his painting 'Afternoon Sun,' to her Phos Hilaron:



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


Alex in her natural habitat...


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.


Canada geese family


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

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



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!


Zoom back up to the top!


island fox
Alex Shapiro, composer
You're here


© 2000-2022 by Alex Shapiro. All nature photos by Alex Shapiro (like 'em?). All rights reserved to design and content.