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Alex Shapiro, composer email

 

Alex loves writing for band!

 



Quick links on this page

 
 
 

 

 

A note for the realities of variable personnel:


A number of Ms. Shapiro's wind band pieces can already be effectively performed with reduced ensemble personnel, thanks to the power of their accompaniment tracks. These tracks and their versions with a click, make it easy for musicians to practice, and if desired, record their parts at home.


Additionally, Alex continues to adapt her solo and duo professional level electroacoustic works to be playable at student levels. Email Alex for more information, and requests!


Directly below the band catalog overview, you'll find a listing of selected solo and chamber works for winds, should your program be seeking small ensemble pieces.


Synchronization and mechanical rights are included free of charge for music educators and non-profit ensembles wishing to create virtual recordings and videos of any of these works, subject to written approval from Ms. Shapiro prior to publicly posting the media.

 


 
A bald eagle enjoying the wind

 

 

 

 

"One of the most noteworthy composers
for the 21st century wind band"

 

Carthage College conductor Dr. James Ripley,
upon the premiere of LIQUID COMPASS, May 2014.

 

Alex Shapiro at HLC booth 2014 TMEA

 

Alex, grinning with some of her wind band scores
at the Hal Leonard booth;
2014 Texas Music Educators Association convention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Alex Shapiro is, and has been,
trailblazing an authentic path
for the 21st century wind band."

 

Conductor Dr. Glenn C. Hayes
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

 
 

 

Alex Shapiro broadens the concept of what wind band music can be! Whether groove-based, atmospheric, tone poem, or 12-tone, her genre-blind electroacoustic works seamlessly meld live and digital sound, transforming a few minutes in a concert hall into a cinematic experience.

 


Alex encourages ensembles to add visual and physical elements to their performances, augmenting the impact of pieces like MOMENT and ROCK MUSIC that carry an important message, as well as the drama of purely fun works like LIGHTS OUT and her best-seller, PAPER CUT.

 


Shapiro's use of technology isn't only for composing, but for connecting with the human beings on both sides of the stage from her home on Washington's remote San Juan Island. Through webhearsals, Alex regularly interacts with thousands of musicians around the world as they prepare her works, and shares her enthusiasm in real time with audiences.

 


Scroll down for an overview of each of
Alex's wind band pieces.
What do YOU experience?

 

 

 
   
 

Commissioning:

Ms. Shapiro is equally comfortable creating new works for an individual ensemble, or for a large consortium of participants. For commission inquiries, please contact Alex. Email Alex

 

 

 

 
 

Licensing:

ALL licensing inquiries, including recording, broadcast, synchronization to video or dance, marching band or other arrangements, etc., are handled DIRECTLY by Ms. Shapiro and Activist Music LLC. Please avoid the unnecessary expense of third party businesses, and send an email with the details of your request by clicking here. Licensing

 

 

 

 
 

Arrangements:

Here's something VERY helpful: a thorough explanation for creating arrangements, prepared by the Music Publishers Association, of which Alex is a board member. The documents also addresses related copyright issues that can sometimes seem elusive. Click to download!

 

Band Arrangement 411

 

 

 

 
 

Webhearsals:

Alex loves to interact with ensembles, coach rehearsals, discuss myriad topics, and give a detailed tour of her state-of-the-art project studio on San Juan Island. Click here for more information, to see a video, and to book a session. Webhearsals

 

 

 
 

Residencies:

When budgets allow for the expense of an in-person residency, Alex is a positive presence on campus, whether in rehearsals of her music, or giving lectures on the many facets of a happy career. Alex also enjoys doing e-residences, which are an excellent option that saves money fossil fuels! To inquire, please email Alex. Email Alex

 

 

 

 

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):

 

 

 

 

Alex's band music
 

EASIER

MODERATE

ADVANCED

 

COUNT TO TEN

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

TIGHT SQUEEZE

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

SUSPENDED

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

ROCK MUSIC

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

LIGHTS OUT

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

AIRBORNE
(NO TRACK; from Suspended)

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

OFF THE EDGE

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

MOMENT

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

DISTANCED
(from Suspended)

(wind band, audio track;
2021; 9:00; Grade 4-5 and above)

PAPER CUT

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

TRAINS OF THOUGHT

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

MASKED
(from Suspended)

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

KITCHEN SYNC

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

DEPTH
(from Immersion)

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

VIRAL
(from Suspended)

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

PASSAGES

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

BREATHE

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

LIQUID COMPASS

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

POP MUSIC
(NEW, 2022!)

(wind band, audio track;
optional balloons;
2022; 4:17; Grade 3-4 and above)

BENEATH
(from Immersion)

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

FREE
(NEW, 2022! NO TRACK)

(wind band)
2022; 8:15; Grade 5)

 

HOMECOMING
(NO TRACK)

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

SURFACE
(from Immersion)

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

 

ASCENT

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

IMMERSION

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

 

 

   
     

 

Listed by difficulty level

* = very adaptable
--- = acoustic (no audio track)

 

 

 

 

COUNT TO TEN * Grade 0.5 and above almost everything beginners aren't supposed to do
ROCK MUSIC * Grade 2.5 and above includes small rocks as instruments
OFF THE EDGE * Grade 2.5 and above 90's pop meets 2000's EDM house music. Dance!
PASSAGES * Grade 3 and above ultra-flex cell-based for any ensemble
PAPER CUT * Grade 3 and above includes printer paper as instruments
KITCHEN SYNC * Grade 3 and above three-part flex cooking for any ensemble
POP MUSIC Grade 3 and above if Schoenberg wrote circus music
TIGHT SQUEEZE * Grade 4 encourages party dancing
LIGHTS OUT * Grade 4 encourages LOTS of lighting & visual effects
DEPTH Grade 4 an anthemic underworld
MOMENT Grade 4 includes chanting
BENEATH Grade 4 includes whale song and jazz improvisation
TRAINS OF THOUGHT Grade 4 includes train effects
ASCENT Grade 4 + cinematic sound design lifts off any concert
BREATHE Grade 4 + bleak, pensive, sparse... then the opposite
HOMECOMING ---- Grade 4 + all-acoustic; includes key clicks and singing
LIQUID COMPASS Grade 5 includes water in metal bowls as instruments
FREE ---- Grade 5 all-acoustic; syncopated lyricism
SURFACE Grade 5 + features percussion section
IMMERSION Grade 5 + features a whale, some improv, and percussionists
SUSPENDED Grade 5 + from rage to despair to quirk to hope
AIRBORNE ---- Grade 5 + all-acoustic; scream with me
DISTANCED Grade 5 + cry with me
MASKED Grade 5 + laugh with me
VIRAL Grade 5 + dance with me
 

 

MULTIMEDIA:

ANY of these works may be enhanced with multimedia, such as lighting design, a photo slide show, a video, physical movement, or anything the band members might come up with. Alex offers a free sync license to non-profit ensembles, and encourages bands to post their performances on YouTube!

 

ADAPTABLE:

Titles marked with an * are adaptable, and especially well suited for unpredictable instrumentation and ensemble personnel.

 

ACOUSTIC, TOO:

The majority of Alex's large ensemble works are electroacoustic, because unusual uses of digital audio represent the most unique aspects of her musical voice. If you're interested in purely acoustic works with no audio track, they are HOMECOMING, AIRBORNE, and the new 2022 work, FREE. Two additional, easier works have optional audio tracks: KITCHEN SYNC, and COUNT TO TEN.

 

 

 

Looking for solo and chamber ensemble pieces
without piano?


Here's Alex's woodwind, brass,
and percussion music:


(click HERE to see many chamber works
WITH piano).

 
 
Grade 4 and beyond:  
TRAIN OF THOUGHT (bass cl, bari sax, Fr hn, tbn, euph,
tuba, audio track; Grade 4)
DEEP (any solo instrument, preferably but not necessarily low register, with audio track; Grade 4)
EVEN DEEPER (double reed choir with audio track;
Grade 4)
BELOW (any solo instrument, preferably but not necessarily low register, with audio track; Grade 4)
   
Grade 5-6:  
SHINY KISS (solo flute; Grade 5). RE:PAIR (duet for any pairing of woodwinds; Grade 5).
DESERT TIDE (any solo woodwind, with audio track;
Grade 5)
WATER CROSSING (any solo woodwind,
with audio track; Grade 5)
KETTLE BREW (solo timpani and mixed percussion,
with audio track; Grade 5-6)
WATER VOYAGES (duet for any pairing of woodwinds,
with audio track; Grade 5)
BIOPLASM, for flute choir (Grade 5) BIOPLASM (flute quartet; Grade 5-6)
 

 

Interested in downloading any of these
perusal scores? Easy!



Just send a friendly email
to receive the access code.

 

 

 

 


Alex at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2014

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


     
shore
     

 

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

 

 

In August 2019, Minnesota Public Radio's Your Classical division came up with 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 Plus
Take Note

 

MPR Your Classical

     

QUICK!

Wanna hear what Alex sounds like?

   

MUSIC FOR LARGE ENSEMBLES:
21 pieces in 21 minutes!

 

Play this head-spinning tour of Shapiro works in the background as you peruse this website!
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 information for the conductor and ensemble heard in the recording.

 

Here's what's on the demo:

 

.WAV (better!)

.mp3

hear
hear
   
   
GO TO:
TITLE:
DIFFICULTY LEVEL:
00:26
Grade 4
01:09
Grade 4+
02:32
Grade 4
03:28
Grade 4
04:43
Grade 5
05:42
Grade 4+
06:40
Grade 3
07:30
Grade 4+
08:37
Grade 2.5
09:30
Grade 4+
10:54
Grade 5
11:45
Grade 4
12:52
Grade 5
13:35
Grade 5
15:07
Grade 2
15:47
Grade 4+
16:42
Grade 3 and beyond
17:26
Grade 0.5 and beyond
18:04
Grade 4+
19:06
Grade 5
20:24
Grade 5
     
     

 

Curious to hear about Alex's process in composing and producing her large-scale electroacoustic pieces?

 

Conductor and composer Michael Shapiro (no relation) produces a webcast titled INTERPLAY featuring some of today's most active composers, performers, and conductors. In May 2021 he spoke with Alex about her approach to her work--including her new wind symphony, SUSPENDED, and the past, present and future of electroacoustic writing:

 

 

 

For more info on Alex's interviews
and appearances,
click here Works


   
Sunset on San Juan Island

 

 

SUSPENDED
 

 

SUSPENDED

Symphony for Winds, Percussion,
and Pre-recorded Soundscape.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.
2021; Total duration: 28:00.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 5 and beyond.

Each movement can also be
programmed separately:

AIRBORNE (5:15, grade 5)

DISTANCED
(9:00; grade 4-5)

MASKED
(5:00; grade 4-5)

VIRAL
(6:00; grade 5)

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


 

score cover

 

     

Listen to the four movements of SUSPENDED (26:00):

.mp3 .WAV (better!)

Track start timings for the four movements:

AIRBORNE is the first movement,
followed by
DISTANCED which begins at 5:05.
MASKED begins at 14:10, and
VIRAL begins at 19:15.

 

Premiere recording by the National Intercollegiate Band, conducted by Dr. Cynthia Johnston Turner; live at the DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, WI. July 13, 2021.

download, low res
download, hi-res
 
     

Download to listen:

Email Alex for perusal score password:

Click to read more about
or purchase
the full symphony,
SUSPENDED:

purchase SUSPENDED

Full set: $700;
Score only: $50.

download, hi-res

perusal score for SUSPENDED

Click to read more about
or purchase
AIRBORNE:

purchase AIRBORNE

Full set: $200;
Score only: $30.

AIRBORNE: hi res

perusal score for AIRBORNE

Click to read more about
or purchase
DISTANCED:

purchase DISTANCED

Full set: $200;
Score only: $30.

DISTANCED:  hi res

perusal score for DISTANCED

Click to read more about
or purchase
MASKED:

purchase MASKED

Full set: $200;
Score only: $30.

MASKED:  hi res

perusal score for MASKED

Click to read more about
or purchase
VIRAL:

purchase VIRAL

Full set: $200;
Score only: $30.

VIRAL:  hi res

perusal score for VIRAL

 

 

SUSPENDED instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

SUSPENDED is an emotional journey, and the catharsis I felt throughout the eight months of writing it helped keep me sane amidst a world of dismal uncertainty. The piece is composed in the tradition of an 18th century Classical symphony: four contrasting movements which serve specific functions and reveal a story. The work begins in absolute rage and chaos, then alternates between moments of grief and bleakness. Grim reality shifts to a macabre, circus-like insanity, and by the end, flickers of genuine hope contrast a pervasive sense of dread, and finally arrive at more optimistic possibilities.

 

A piece of music should stand on its own, regardless of any message its composer may attach to it. Audiences don't read about music, they listen to it. But as Victor Hugo wrote, "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent".

 

The arts have a powerful role in improving society by awakening consciousness through thought-provoking, emotional moments. If a piece of music can spark conversation among listeners, that is a meaningful impact, and a benefit in addition to that of the notes themselves.

 
 

 

Watch the Eastman Wind Ensemble perform SUSPENDED on March 23, 2022, with conductor Cynthia Johnston Turner, at Kodak Hall, Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

 

Please note: The audio tracks in movements 2, 3, and 4 were not fully picked up by the video microphone. The audio in the hall is as loud as the ensemble, as can be best heard in the .WAV recording above.

 

 


 

For complete info about this piece, visit SUSPENDED more

 

 

 

For complete info about AIRBORNE, visit AIRBORNE more

 

 

 

For complete info about DISTANCED, visit DISTANCED more

 

 

 

For complete info about MASKED, visit MASKED more

 

 

 

For complete info about VIRAL, visit VIRAL more

 

 

 

 
   
Morning sky on San Juan Island

 

 

FREE
 

FREE

for symphonic wind band.

Composed by Alex Shapiro.

Grade 5 and beyond.


2022. Duration ca. 8:15.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Commissioned by The University of Wisconsin-River Falls for its 2022 Commissioned Composer Project and the UWRF Symphony Band, Dr. Kristin Tjornehoj, conductor. With special thanks to Dr. Patti Cudd.

Premiered April 21, 2022 at Abbott Concert Hall, University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Dr. Kristin Tjornehoj, conductor.



score cover
     
Listen to FREE (8:10): Stream Download

A listenable demo for now. A live recording will be available soon.

FREE: low res   FREE: hi res 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for FREE

Click to purchase:

purchase FREE

Full set: $200;
Score only: $20.

   

 

FREE instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

One of the best things about being a composer in the 21st century is that there are no stylistic limitations on how we can express ourselves. The freedom to be unconcerned with fitting into any prescribed expectations of others is a gift, and one that's amplified with age and perspective. I happened to complete my 60th solar rotation as I composed this music, and when the piece unexpectedly veered from my intentions stated in its pastoral opening to something with a different kind of energy, I viewed that as a positive metaphor for life, for creativity, and for the joy of becoming old enough to blithely follow one's instincts.



On the opposite end of this emotional spectrum, it was just as I reached the final exuberant phrases of FREE that Russia launched its brutal, unconscionable war against the Ukrainian people. Writing such sanguine music to this hideous backdrop intensified my horror for the many victims whose lives only days before were not unlike mine: free. This piece is not a reflection on Ukraine, nor is it about cruelty. However, none of us exists in a bubble, and events in one part of our planet effect everyone, particularly when suffering is involved. May calm and freedom return to all.


 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit FREE more

 
   
Morning sky on San Juan Island

 

 

PASSAGES
 

 

PASSAGES

For ultra-flex wind band or orchestra and prerecorded track.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2020; Duration 3:00.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 2.5, 3, and 4. This piece was composed with the intent of helping ensembles seeking works with highly flexible instrumentation.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


 

score cover

 

     
Listen to PASSAGES (3:00): Stream Download

Flutes – Pam Daniels and Elizabeth McGinness; Oboe – Pam Holloway; Clarinets – Melissa Lander and Reis McCullough; Horn – Christy Klenke; Bassoons – Eddie Sanders and Dan Bowlds; Double Bass – Yoshi Horiguchi; Marimba and Suspended Cymbal – Matt Abraham.

stream  download 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for PASSAGES

Click to purchase:

purchase PASSAGES

Full set: $45.

   

 

PASSAGES instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

In a world in constant flux, PASSAGES offers a calming, centering, meditative, and encouraging outlook. It's a cellular work composed for any number of any instruments, with each phrase sounding beautiful whether stacked or exposed, and played with any of the chords in the 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. When playing with a live ensemble, the conductor has the option of cueing the passages each musician performs. Additionally, the motivic structure provides an effective composition lesson for ensemble members.


 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit PASSAGES more

 
   
Orca

 

 

IMMERSION
 

 

IMMERSION

Symphony for Winds, Percussion,
and Pre-recorded Soundscape.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.
2010; Total duration: 23:00.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 4 and beyond (DEPTH and BENEATH) and Grade 5 (SURFACE).

Each movement can also be
programmed separately:

DEPTH (7:43)

SURFACE
(3:55)

BENEATH
(10:10)

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


 

score cover

 

     

Download to listen:

Email Alex for perusal score password:

Click to purchase
the full symphony,
IMMERSION:

purchase IMMERSION

Full set: $350;
Score only: $60.

 
perusal score for IMMERSION

Click to purchase
DEPTH:

purchase DEPTH

Full set: $150;
Score only: $25.

download Depth
perusal score for DEPTH

Click to purchase
SURFACE:

purchase SURFACE

Full set: $150;
Score only: $25.

download Surface
perusal score for SURFACE

Click to purchase
BENEATH:

purchase BENEATH

Full set: $150;
Score only: $25.

download Beneath
perusal score for BENEATH
 
 

Premiere performance, recorded live at Ted Mann Hall in Minneapolis, MN., February 16, 2011 by Minnesota Public Radio, performed by the University of Minnesota Symphonic Band, Jerry Luckhardt, conductor.

 

 
IMMERSION instrumentation
 

 

Program Note:

 

IMMERSION brings listeners on a sonic journey into a private, aquatic realm. Beneath the surface of the ocean is a world of liquid beauty and grace hidden from our eyes and from our imagination. Even in this habitat of life and hope, exquisite creatures remain vulnerable to events triggered from beyond their fragile sanctuary. Follow your ears and your heart to the depths of a place we sometimes forget to look.

 

IMMERSION is one of the most significant works in Alex's catalog, and represents her unique voice in seamlessly melding the acoustic and digital worlds.


 
 

 

If you're curious about the connection Alex feels between her muses and the sea around her, here's a short trailer from director Michael Stillwater's 2016 documentary, In Search of the Great Song. Alex shares her thoughts from her San Juan Island home in an excerpt underscored with the track used in the third movement of IMMERSION, featuring a Humpback whale song.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy this video of Lt. Col. Don Schofield USAF conducting DEPTH at Armstrong State University, with the 2015 - 2016 GMEA District 1 - 11-12 Honor Band, on February 6, 2016 (music begins at 2:10):

 

 


 

For complete info about this piece, visit IMMERSION more

 

 

 

For complete info about DEPTH, visit DEPTH more

 

 

 

For complete info about SURFACE, visit SURFACE more

 

 

 

For complete info about BENEATH, visit BENEATH more

 

 

 

 
   
kingfisher and lunch

 

 

TIGHT SQUEEZE
 

 

 

TIGHT SQUEEZE

for concert wind band
and prerecorded audio track.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.
2013; Duration 3:15.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 4 and beyond.
This piece is well suited for ensembles needing flexible instrumentation.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece
(the program note alone is worth reading) more!



 

score cover

     
Listen to TIGHT SQUEEZE (3:15): Stream Download
Performed by the VanderCook College of Music Symphonic Band, conducted by Charles Menghini; live at the Midwest Clinic, Chicago IL, December 2013. stream download 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for TIGHT SQUEEZE

Click to purchase:

purchase TIGHT SQUEEZE

Full set: $80;
Score only: $15.

Featured in the 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


TIGHT SQUEEZE instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

TIGHT SQUEEZE might best be described by the following suggestion: imagine Arnold Schoenberg, Henry Mancini, and Charlie Parker walking into a techno rave club in Havana. And, staying for at least three minutes.

 

On the heels of composing PAPER CUT, which pairs a wind band with not only an electronic track but a ream of printer paper, I knew I wanted to create another even more uptempo, groove-oriented piece that would be fun for fidgety teenagers with the attention spans of diabetic gnats. Okay, even fun for calmer musicians. Unexpectedly, that turned out to feature a twelve-tone row theme-- possibly the world's first for high school band, at least this far west of Vienna.

 

Initially the melody only had eight notes. When I noticed that none repeated themselves, I decided to go for broke, in a tip of the hat to my beloved 90-year old German composition teacher Ursula Mamlok, who was a renowned serialist during the earlier years of her career. The only serialism I've ever been interested in is granola, but I had a good time with this little tone row, which I paired with a techno-rock-infused percussion groove and electric bass line (yeah, I know, Schoenberg did that first), plus a few Latin rhythms and a hint of jazz. Voila: Electroacoustic Twelve-tone Techno Latin Bebop.

 

 
 

 

Here's a performance by The Garner Magnet High School Wind Ensemble in Garner, North Carolina, conducted by Tyler Farrell:

 
 

 

Click to watch a very fun ending to TIGHT SQUEEZE, as conductor Brett Richardson gets not only the University of the Incarnate Word Wind Ensemble, but the San Antonio, Texas audience, up and dancing!

 
Get up and dance!

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit TIGHT SQUEEZE more

 
   
Sailing in the San Juans

 

 

LIQUID COMPASS
 

 

LIQUID COMPASS

for symphonic wind band and prerecorded track.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.
2014; Duration 9:00.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 5 and beyond.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


 

score cover

 

     
Listen to LIQUID COMPASS (9:00): Stream Download

Live performance by the Central Washington University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Lewis Norfleet.

stream download

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for LIQUID COMPASS

Click to purchase:

purchase LIQUID COMPASS

Full set: $195;
Score only: $35.

   


LIQUID COMPASS instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

LIQUID COMPASS is a tone poem that takes the musicians and the audience on a watery journey spanning the mystical and the triumphant. Commemorating the 140th anniversary of Carthage College's wind band, the piece migrates to different places, but never loses its bearings in pursuit of a musical true north. The spiritual power of the sea is ever-present, in layers of unique sounds heard in the audio track, and duplicated by the musicians. The effect is a physical surround-sound of texture, as metal bowls capture slow, resonant drips of water, and flutists breathe other-worldly intonations. The piece, like the school that commissioned it, continues to push forward while observing that which has come before. Because one can't celebrate history, without reflecting on the waters over which time and experience have passed.


 
 

 

Enjoy watching a November 2021 performance of LIQUID COMPASS with the Lamont Wind Ensemble, conducted by Sarah Wagner::

 

 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit LIQUID COMPASS more

 
   
The sun sets on the San Juan Islands

 

 

LIGHTS OUT
 

 

 

LIGHTS OUT

for concert wind band and prerecorded track. Plus, lighting and physical effects, for bands seeking adventure!


Composed by Alex Shapiro.
2015; Duration 4:30.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 4 and beyond.
This piece is well suited for ensembles needing flexible instrumentation.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!



score cover

     
Listen to LIGHTS OUT (4:30): Stream Download
Recording by the University of Memphis Symphonic Band, conducted by Armand Hall, and musicians from Central Washington University, directed by Paul Bain. stream download

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for LIGHTS OUT

Click to purchase:

purchase LIGHTS OUT

Full set: $80;
Score only: $15.

   


LIGHTS OUT instrumentation

 

 

 

Program Note:

 

I suppose you could call LIGHTS OUT an "opto-electro-acoustic" work for wind band, because it was conceived from the onset as a visual media piece. While it can be performed in any normal concert setting, it's most compelling when presented in the dark, slightly disorienting the audience and dazzling them with the beautiful colored aura from glowsticks, smart phones, and small LEDs placed inside the instruments and on the musicians' mallets and fingers. Mesmerizing!

 

Composing this piece, I treated the visuals and movement the same way I treat the audio track— as an equal and additional "section" in the band, organically incorporated into the piece just like the woodwinds, brass and percussion.

 

The indications for movement and lighting that found their way into the score due to this wonderful initial collaboration are a jumping off point for many other ideas, and I'm excited to discover what each band is going to do for their performance. I encourage every band to post their performance on YouTube, because each concert will be unique!


 
 

 

Here's a fun video from the University of Memphis Symphonic Band conducted by Armand Hall, performing the April 29, 2015 premiere of LIGHTS OUT:

 

 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit LIGHTS OUT more

 
   
An Orca whale photobombs a gull.

 

 

MOMENT
 

 

MOMENT

for concert wind band and prerecorded track.



Composed by Alex Shapiro.
2016; Duration 5:45.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 4 and beyond.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!

 

 

score cover

 

     
Listen to MOMENT (5:45): Stream Download
Live premiere by the University of Memphis Symphonic Band, conducted by Armand Hall. stream download

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for MOMENT

Click to purchase:

purchase MOMENT

Full set: $115;
Score only: $20.

   

MOMENT instrumentation
 

 

Program Note:

 

Pensive and emotional, the unusual, textural music of MOMENT offers reflection and stillness in an often frenetic world. Repeating notes and haunting, lyrical lines give musicians the opportunity to explore expression through subtlety. Evocative sounds conjure fleeting, contrasting images, as the wind band creates a seamless fabric woven from the union of their instruments, their chant-like voices, and the ghostly echoes of a wistful accompaniment soundtrack.

 

Our hearts are equally shaken by moments excruciatingly painful, and transcendentally beautiful. In a world in which emotions are often blunted by the assault of overload, we cannot allow ourselves to ignore profound, inner responses evoked in an instant. Awestruck. Hopeful. Grieving. Longing. Shocked. Weeping. Thinking. Amazed. Waiting. Stunned. Heartbroken. Transported. Hurting. Dreaming. Startled. Dismayed. Delighted. Caring. What are the moments that have moved you?


 
 

 

Enjoy this February 2017 performance of MOMENT, performed by the University of Hawaii Wind Ensemble, conducted Jeffrey Boeckman:

 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit MOMENT more

 
   
Balloons!

 

 

POP MUSIC
 

 

 

POP MUSIC

For wind band
and prerecorded audio.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2022; Duration 4:17.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Commissioned by the Glenbard North High School Bands and Music Boosters, and the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation. Dedicated to the Band Senior Class of 2020, Lauren Whisnant, conductor.

Grade 3.5 and beyond.

Click here for complete information
about this piece
more!

 


 

score cover

 

     
Listen to POP MUSIC (4:17): Download mp3 Download WAV

A listenable demo for now. A live recording from the premiere will be available Summer 2022.

mp3 of POP MUSIC listen to POP MUSIC 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for POP MUSIC

POP MUSIC will be available for purchase after its Spring 2022 premiere.

 


   


POP MUSIC instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

POP MUSIC celebrates dedicated band students who were unable to do something they love—gather, rehearse, and perform—for an extended period due to precautions against the Coronavirus pandemic. A circus-like atmosphere often accompanies the seriousness of our times, and a little clown-like silliness and, uh, balloonacy…may be good for a much needed laugh after years of uncertainty in which the only constant has been the lack of constancy. As for the title? It's an ironic nod to all our unmet expectations. This piece is neither pop music, nor does a single balloon explode. At least, not intentionally!


 
 

CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW to watch the band members of Glenbard North High School become mimes during the opening of POP MUSIC, for its premiere performance May 12, 2022, with conductor (and circus ringmaster!) Lauren Whisnant.

 
POP MUSIC premiere, Glenbard North HS

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit POP MUSIC more

 
   
Rocks at the San Juan Island shoreline.

 

 

ROCK MUSIC
 

 

ROCK MUSIC

a geo-electroacoustic piece

For concert wind band and prerecorded track.
And... rocks.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2016; Duration 4:15.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 2.5 and beyond.
Way, way beyond!
This piece is well suited for ensembles needing flexible instrumentation.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


score cover
     
Listen to ROCK MUSIC (4:15): Stream Download

Live premiere by the Patrick Marsh Middle School 7th Grade Band, conducted by Chris Gleason.

stream download

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for ROCK MUSIC

Click to purchase:

purchase ROCK MUSIC

Full set: $80;
Score only: $15.

   


ROCK MUSIC instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

Music doesn't have to be experienced as an element separate from the rest of our daily lives. It's as much part of our world as the ground on which we walk. Composing ROCK MUSIC was the perfect opportunity to make this point about the geology of our planet, and the changes in climate that are permanently altering our landscape.

 

In my ongoing desire to encourage people to step away from their screens and go outdoors, I asked the students of Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, WI to venture out into their neighborhoods, lower their gaze to the substrate on which they walk, find a pair of rocks, discover sounds that can be coaxed from them, and record the results. My inbox was soon filled with nearly 100 mp3s sporting a stunning variety of geological sonic creativity. Many of those sounds, some with distinct pitches and rhythms, are the basis of the accompaniment audio track over which ROCK MUSIC is composed.

 

In parallel to this holistic vision, band director Chris Gleason invited a scientist from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey to give a talk to the band students. Brandishing a 3D map that displayed the state's varying terrain, she spoke of the glaciers that transformed the students' locales and mine, on San Juan Island, WA. 15,000 years ago. The students then made video reports that paired their newfound knowledge of local geology with their individual recipes for eliciting sounds from rocks. They also created a video to accompany their performance of the piece, that includes images of polluting factories and transportation. It culminates with sobering footage of an enormous glacier calving, just as the music reaches its loudest, most powerful point. As massive chunks of ice collapse into the water, the audience is reminded of the fragile balance between nature and the actions of humans.

 

Throughout this geo-electroacoustic piece, the music slowly crawls, melts, and scrapes over a sonic landscape in random, irregular ways: much as the glaciers carved the world we know. And as with our world, the piece's ending slowly melts away to a haunting silence.

 
 

 

Who says 13 year olds can't sit still? You'll be touched by the ending of this video of the Patrick Marsh Middle School 7th Grade Band in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin conducted by Chris Gleason, performing the May 10, 2016 premiere of ROCK MUSIC:

 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit ROCK MUSIC more

 
   
Bald Eagle

 

 

TRAINS OF THOUGHT
 

TRAINS OF THOUGHT

For concert wind band and prerecorded track.
Literally... railroad tracks!


Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2017; Duration 7:15.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 4 and beyond.

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!



 

score cover

 

     
Listen to TRAINS OF THOUGHT (7:15): Stream Download

Live premiere by the University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble, conducted by Gerard Morris.

stream download

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for TRAINS OF THOUGHT

Click to purchase:

purchase TRAINS OF THOUGHT

Full set: $140;
Score only: $20.

   


TRAINS OF THOUGHT instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

TRAINS OF THOUGHT began life as a slightly longer electroacoustic sextet for a sultry combination of instruments that deserves more repertoire: bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, French horn, trombone, euphonium, and tuba. This initial, more intimate version was commissioned in 2015 by Paul Kile, Director of Bands at Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota, for the Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project. Halfway into the enjoyable process of composing it, I couldn't stop thinking how compelling it would be if someday I expanded the music to suit the textures of a full wind band.

 

Two years later, Adam Campagna and the W.F. West Wind Ensemble in Chehalis, Washington offered me the opportunity to act on my impulse to adapt the original work for band. The two versions share many of the same themes and accompaniment track textures, but early into the adaptation process, I discovered that a broadened version of the music demanded a fresh approach to the materials. I nipped, tucked, and re-arranged the phrases and motives, and the result is that the chamber version is akin to a painter's watercolor or line drawing prototype of what eventually becomes an enormous oil canvas.

 

A year before the first version of this piece was even conceived, my Vermont composer friend Dennis Bathory-Kitsz happened to post a short video on Facebook of a neighborhood Amtrak train zipping past his lens and microphone at full speed. There was something hauntingly beautiful about the particular chords and rhythms of that moment, and after replaying the clip several times I sensed that maybe sometime in the future, I could make use of these evocative sounds. I asked Dennis to return to the edge of the tracks and collect more audio samples. After I catalogued the pitches and patterns so that I could view them as musical elements, I stowed the edited files away, for an unknown, unimagined project— never guessing the amount of joy I'd get creating not one, but two iterations from the recordings.

 

Everyone experiences the elusive feeling of repeatedly pondering something, and— with or without our permission— sensing the concept rattle down an endless set of internal tracks. Soon those thoughts wander somewhere else, sometimes related, and just as often, not. Our psyches dance between that which is linear and that which appears from seemingly nowhere in a waking dream-state. Whether we're losing our train of thought as our focus derails, or are trying our best to hold on to it, our minds have tracks of their own.

 
 

 

Watch the first of the commissioning consortium premiere performances, by the University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble conducted by Gerard Morris on March 3, 2018, at the Society of Composers, Inc. National Conference:

 

 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit TRAINS OF THOUGHT more

 
   
Harbor Seal

 

 

OFF THE EDGE
 

 

OFF THE EDGE

For concert wind band and prerecorded track.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2019; Duration 3:20.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 2.5 and beyond.
This piece is well suited for ensembles needing flexible instrumentation.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


 

score cover

 

     
Listen to OFF THE EDGE (3:20): Stream Download

Live premiere by the Center Grove Middle School Central Band in Greenwood, Indiana, conducted by Samuel Fritz.

stream download

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for OFF THE EDGE

Click to purchase:

purchase OFF THE EDGE

Full set: $80;
Score only: $15.

   


OFF THE EDGE instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

What happens when a composer who loves the pop music of the '80s and '90s hangs out in dance clubs blasting house music in the 2010s? OFF THE EDGE offers a 140 bpm-thumping, EDM-jumping clue!


 
 

 

Enjoy a virtual video performance of OFF THE EDGE that was premiered on March 20, 2021 by the musicians of the North Carolina South Central District Bandmasters Association Middle School All-District Band, and beautifully edited by Ryan J. Williams.

 

Click the image to play the video:

 

Perpetual Spark, underscoring dusk over the San Juan Islands.

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit OFF THE EDGE more

 
   
Juvvenile Bald Eagle

 

 

ASCENT
 

 

ASCENT

For concert wind band and prerecorded track.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2020; Duration 2:30.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 4 and beyond.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!

 


 

score cover

 

     
Listen to ASCENT (2:30): Stream Download

Live premiere by the University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble in Honolulu, Hawai'i, conducted by Jeffrey Boeckman.

stream  download 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for ASCENT
Click to purchase:
purchase ASCENT

Full set: $60;
Score only: $10.

   


ASCENT instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

ASCENT reflects the effort to get off the ground, literally or figuratively. It's a micro-overture that begins with the promise of upward transcendence, yet soon flies off into rogue disorganization. The raucous flock of many notes finally gathers into a united upward-headed murmuration, but the freedom of soaring into the sky brings an uneasy mystery before settling into the tranquil air of anticipation.


 
 

 

Enjoy listening to the powerful University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble conducted by Jeffrey Boeckman, as they gave the March 1, 2020 premiere of ASCENT in Honolulu, HI:

 

 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit ASCENT more

 
   
False Bay fog

 

 

BREATHE
 

 

BREATHE

For concert wind band and prerecorded soundscape.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2020; Duration ca. 10:00.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 4 and beyond.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


score cover
     
Listen to BREATHE (10:00): Stream Download

A recording made with the live premiere performance by Colorado Mesa University Wind Symphony, Calvin Hofer, conductor, April 27, 2021.

stream  download 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for BREATHE
Click to purchase:
purchase BREATHE

Full set: $260;
Score only: $25.

   


BREATHE instrumentation

 

 

Program Note:

 

Much of the year 2020 is 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.

 

It was tempting to title this piece, "2020".†But the pandemic, the systemic racism, the climate changes and the abuses of power that churned malevolently as I composed this music, although heightened by a collective awareness, are not new.†

 

As quarantine has led millions of people to repeat the same day over and over, a simple theme of twelve notes repeats nine times, painfully slowly, always in the same order. A piano, rather than a wind instrument from which a deadly virus might be spread, offers up one pensive note at a time, paired with an atmospheric soundscape. As people attempt to stay connected to others through the internet, the combination of isolation and technology are a familiar theme.

 

The static bleakness begins in grayness, becoming only more grim as time passes. Three quarters through, the orchestration gradually fills with sounds made from humans, not computers. The electronic track stops. The technology stops. All we hear are live musicians as the conductor, formerly tethered to unrelenting demands of a metronomic click track, is finally able to allow the ensemble to breathe freely. Phrases climb upward from uncertainty, but of course there is no resolution. There can never be a resolution, because humans are not capable of it. But there can be hope, and breath.


 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit BREATHE more

 
   
Ten gulls

 

 

COUNT TO TEN
 

 

COUNT TO TEN

For three-part flex wind band, orchestra, or small ensemble, and optional prerecorded track.



Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2021; Duration 1:06 or longer, depending on tempo.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 0.5 and beyond-- at a fast tempo, it's a fun concert opener or closer for musicians of ANY skill level!

This piece is well suited for ensembles needing flexible instrumentation.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


score cover
     
Listen to COUNT TO TEN (1:06): Download 120 bpm Download 152 bpm!

Recorded by members of the Georgia State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble; Robert J. Ambrose, conductor.

download 120bpm version  download 152bpm version 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for COUNT TO TEN
Click to purchase:
purchase COUNT TO TEN

Full set: $50.

   

 

COUNT TO TEN instrumentation

 

 

 

Program Note:

 

By the time a person is four years old—long before their first fun wind band class—they can count to ten. So I've never understood why beginning music students are only given pieces in rigid, often plodding, 4/4, 3/4 or 2/4 meters. Music, like life, is neither rigid nor plodding (well, at least not interesting music!). Thus, COUNT TO TEN is my contribution to the repertoire for beginning musicians who have a lifetime of wonderful, compelling pieces ahead of them that will be filled with chromaticism, syncopations, and mixed meters.

 

With its built-in drone and percussion parts, the piece is designed to sound good acoustically, but it will sound many times better when the students are paired with any of the cinematic-style accompaniment tracks—especially the "Full" version that combines all three elements of the percussion (strong downbeats and steady quarter beats), the Bb drone (for tuning and atmosphere), and the groove ostinati weaving through the music and adding a modern syncopation. Each track is offered in a choice of four tempi.

 

The premise is simple: count up, then down again from a grand peak of 9/4. This is not a time signature I would normally choose even for professionals, because it's easier to read subdivisions. But there's an important and purely psychological reason I opted for it here: if beginning musicians can achieve playing in 9/4, it may forever dispel any fear they'll have of large meters, and playing in 5, and maybe even in 7, will seem like a relative breeze. In other words, in addition to being a primer for contemporary repertoire, COUNT TO TEN is a middle school psyche-out: if you can count to ten, you certainly can count to nine!


 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit COUNT TO TEN more

 
   
Bald Eagle

 

 

HOMECOMING
 

HOMECOMING

for concert wind band.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.
2008; Duration ca. 7:30.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

Grade 4 and beyond.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!

 

score cover

 

     
Listen to HOMECOMING (7:22): Stream Download

Live performance by the University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble, conducted by Jeffrey Boeckman.

stream download 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for HOMECOMING

Click to purchase:

purchase HOMECOMING

Full set: $200;
Score only: $35.

   
HOMECOMING instrumentation
 

 

Program Note:

HOMECOMING is a distinctly American piece of music which ventures emotionally from doubt, to hope, and finally to celebration. Written for the soldiers of the U.S. Army TRADOC Band, the piece reflects upon wishes for the safe return of those who serve their country. Beginning with shades of concern and resolving with great joy, HOMECOMING seamlessly flows between traditional styles that originated in the U.S., from post-minimalist concert music to jazz. As the music grows into a waltz rhythm, welcoming smiles dance with it to the end as loved ones are reunited. In this piece, the most simple wind instrument of all, the human voice, echoes meaningful homecomings, wherever home may be and from whatever circumstance one returns.


 
 

 

Enjoy this February 2017 performance of HOMECOMING, performed by the University of Hawaii Wind Ensemble, conducted Jeffrey Boeckman:

 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit HOMECOMING more

 
   
A kitchen sink!

 

 

KITCHEN SYNC
 

 

KITCHEN SYNC

For ultra-flex wind band, orchestra, or small ensemble, and optional prerecorded track.


Composed by Alex Shapiro.

2021; Duration 1:10 or longer, depending on tempo.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

 

Grade 3 and beyond.
This piece is well suited for ensembles needing flexible instrumentation.

 

Click here for complete information
about this piece more!


score cover
     
Listen to KITCHEN SYNC (1:06): Stream Download

A [very] rough simulation! A live recording with all the kitchen instruments will be available Summer 2022.

stream  download 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for KITCHEN SYNC
Click to purchase:
purchase KITCHEN SYNC

Full set: $50.

   

 

KITCHEN SYNC instrumentation

 

 

 

Program Note:

 

I'm not an inspired cook, but I do enjoy the meditative groove of cleaning up after a mealó and listening to the pitches and rhythms barked from bowls, dishes, and cookware that form a chorus of multi-registered clanking in the sink. To me, everything in life has the potential to be a musical instrument! For instance, it was this very household task that resulted in my use of resonant metal mixing bowls filled with a little water, to create an otherworldly live sound effect in my 2014 electroacoustic tone poem for wind ensemble LIQUID COMPASS.

 

The short, percussive blast that is KITCHEN SYNC lands squarely on the other end of the musical spectrum. When I described to my husband Dan how the musicians will rely solely on lots of related utensils and tools as their instruments, he enthusiastically replied, "you should have them play a kitchen sink, too!". I loved the idea, but explained that it might be logistically difficult for ensembles to lug a big appliance to the band room or the stage.

 

Scrolling through Facebook a day later, I stumbled upon a post from my friend Jennifer Jolley, one of the five co-conspirators of SUITE TREATS, for which KITCHEN SYNC was written, along with micro-pieces from composers Brian Balmages, Pete Meechan, and Frank Ticheli. Seeking title suggestions for her contribution, she mentioned something about her piece sporting a prerecorded accompaniment track. My brain lit up.

 

I had designed my little rhythmic offering to work purely acoustically, but suddenly the prospect of an additional version became too tempting to ignore: now I could include everything AND the kitchen sink! Mine and Dan's, in this case, as can be heard in the accompaniment track.


 

 

 

For complete info about this piece, visit KITCHEN SYNC more

 
   
Paper Cut in black light performance.

 

 

PAPER CUT
 

 

PAPER CUT

for wind band,
recycled printer paper,
and prerecorded audio track.

Composed by Alex Shapiro (ASCAP).
2010; Duration 5:00.
Published by The American Composers Forum/Hal Leonard.

Grade 3 and beyond.
This piece is well suited for ensembles needing flexible instrumentation.



Click here for complete information
about this piece, including many videos more



score cover

   
Listen to a recording of PAPER CUT, without the drum set part that Alex added for the second edition (5:00): stream

Performed the University of Minnesota Symphonic Band, conducted by Craig Kirchhoff.

 
   
Listen to an excerpt of PAPER CUT, with drum set (1:31):

stream

Performed by the VanderCook College of Music Symphonic Band,
conducted by Charles Menghini; live at the Midwest Clinic, Chicago IL, December 2011.

 

Email Alex for the password,
then download the perusal score:

perusal score for PAPER CUT

Link to purchase the score from Hal Leonard:

Purchase PAPER CUT from Hal Leonard

Full set: $60;
Score only: $10.

Featured in the 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
PAPER CUT instrumentation
 

 

Program Note:

 

What do teenagers like? Video games, TV, and movies.


What do all these media have in common? Music!


I was thrilled to have a chance to add to the educational band music repertoire, thanks to the American Composers Forum's terrific BandQuest series. In my desire to compose something relevant to younger players, I decided to create a piece that sounds somewhat like a movie soundtrack, to which the musicians can imagine their own dramatic scene. I also thought it would be fun to make the kids themselves part of the action, and so PAPER CUT has the band doing choreographed maneuvers that look as compelling as they sound. In fact, the band members don't even play their instruments until halfway into the piece.


 
VanderCook performance at Midwest
 

 

The VanderCook College of Music Symphonic Band, conducted by Charles Menghini, performed PAPER CUT on December 16, 2011 at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic held at McCormick Place West in Chicago, Illinois. Conductor Charlie Menghini writes:

 

"Paper Cut is a must for any director wanting to expand the musical horizons of their ensembles. A crowd pleasing work, every young band needs to add this to their repertoire as soon as possible. Your crowds will LOVE it...and so will your students. Enjoy and BRAVO to Alex Shapiro for this great addition to the educational band repertoire."


 
 

 

Band Director Peter Guenther and the Owatonna 9th Grade Band gave the world's first black light performance of PAPER CUT on February 18, 2011 at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Mid-Winter Clinic at the Minneapolis Convention Center, inspiring a global trend for how the piece is often performed! Click to watch-- at the original, slightly slower tempo of quarter = 88:

 
 

 

If you'd like to see PAPER CUT in a little more light, here's a more recent performance at the updated tempo of quarter = 96, by band director Andy Doherty and the Delaware Hayes High School Band in Grove City, Ohio:

 

 

 

For complete info about this piece,
and many videos, visit
PAPER CUT more

 
     


 

To see and hear Alex's entire catalog, visit WORKS more

     


Alex responds to the question, "What kind of composer are you?" in this 50-second excerpt from an interview she gave to Carey Nadeau from the American Composers Forum in June 2010:

 

 

 

 


Alex and John Blane, Midwest Clinic 2018.

 

With music preparation guru John Blane, Alex proudly shows off her ever-growing rack (!) on display at Hal Leonard's booth at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, December 2018.

 


John Blane and Bruce Bush, Midwest Clinic 2021.

 

Here's John Blane with Bruce Bush, Hal Leonard's manager of Retail & Marketing, showing off Alex's rack at the 2021 Midwest Clinic- because she couldn't be there to do it herself! CLICK THE PHOTO TO WATCH the cute video they made when they Zoomed Alex over!

 

 

Alex loves coaching and teaching...
 

 

More than a decade before the COVID-19 pandemic made online resources a necessity, Alex was among the earliest composers to use the web to connect with ensembles all over the world. She's always called these, "webhearsals"!

 


Alex really enjoys interacting in person with students and faculty during rehearsals and guest artist residencies in which she spends a few days at a university and gives master classes, private composition lessons, lectures on the changing paradigm of the music business, and attends rehearsals and performances of her music. But when budgets and schedules and, oh, y'know, global pandemics don't allow for travel, Zoom, Skype, Webex, Google Meet or anything similar have become the next best thing.

 

 

webhearsal

Alex on San Juan Island,
and students across the country rehearsing PAPER CUT.

 

 

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, web video 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.

 

 

webhearsal

Alex in her studio on San Juan Island,
and students rehearsing PAPER CUT.

webhearsal

A webhearsal with Alex in her studio
on San Juan Island, and students in Malaysia
after a rehearsal of LIGHTS OUT.

 

 

webhearsal

Alex looking on and reading the score, upper right,
as students at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater rehearse
TRAINS OF THOUGHT with conductor Glenn Hayes.

 

 

 

 

Watch a Skypehearsal!

Alex doing a webhearsal in her San Juan Island studio.

CLICK the photo to watch what it's like!

 


 

 

To learn more about webhearsals click here Email Alex


 

 

To schedule a webhearsal with Alex, click here Email Alex

     

 

 

WHY is Alex drawn to compose electroacoustic works for large ensembles?

 

In a conversation on March 26, 2022 with the musicians of The Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, Alex was asked a question that gave her an opportunity to share her unique perspective on a genre she has helped bring to the fore. Click to watch her response!

 

 

 

 

For more of Alex's interviews
and appearances,
click here Watch more


     

 

Alex loves being a clinician...
 

In 2022 Alex was invited to join the distinguished roster of Conn-Selmer Education clinicians. Her first master class for the company's thoughtfully curated Rehearse and Renew series started off the quarter, followed in April 2022 when Alex had the pleasure of being hosted by Dr. Paula Crider as they walked the audience through Alex's latest symphony, SUSPENDED during her interview for Conn-Selmer's Concert Artistry series. You can read more HERE.

 


Alex is also pleased to be a clinician for Music for All, and has participated in several of their field-expanding webinars.

 


Alex is steadily involved in education despite not being on faculty anywhere, and in 2022 she became a member of the Council for Music Composition of the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME).

 

Conn-Selmer

 

Conn-Selmer series


Music for All

 

Conn-Selmer Series
 

 

 

CIAM

 

The Midwest Clinic 2021

 

Alex has been a clinician at the 2013, 2018, and 2021 Midwest Clinic conferences.

 

She was the lead clinician at the 2013 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, presenting a workshop titled, The e-Frontier: Music, Multimedia, Education, and Audiences in the Digital World. Intended for educators, conductors and composers, the discussion addressed electroacoustic band music and new digital technologies in the classroom and concert venue, and was presented to a standing-room only crowd of 600 attendees!

 


Alex was thrilled to be joined by five distinguished panelists: conductors Craig Kirchhoff, Jerry Luckhardt, Miller Asbill, Peter Guenther, and composer Steven Bryant.


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

 

 


At the 2021 Midwest Clinic, Embedding Social Emotional Learning in Instrumental Music Education explored 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. You can watch the session HERE. watch

 


Also at the 2021 Midwest Clinic, The Horizon Leans Forward… A Panel Discussion on the Issues of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the Wind Band Field offered 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

On the heels of the Midwest Clinic, Alex was delighted to also be a clinician at the 2014 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) in San Antonio, Texas. Joined by band directors Miller Asbill and Robert Sloan, as well as composer Steven Bryant, the discussion, titled, The e-Frontier: Using New Media in Education and Performance, discussed electroacoustic band music, as well as the myriad uses of intermedia and social networks for engaging students and audiences.

 

 

 

 
UBC Wind Conducting Symposium

In July 2016, 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," which allowed many 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.

 

 

 

 
BCMEA

Alex was a clinician for the 2019 British Columbia Music Educators' Association Conference in Vancouver, Canada. She gave two presentations: one about the power of musicians to use their art to effect change, titled Activism of the Musical Heart: Raising Awareness by Connecting All Those Dots. The other is an exploration into the new tools available to composers and musicians, titled The e-Frontier: Electroacoustic Music, Multimedia, Education, and Audiences in the Digital World.

 

 

 

 

CBDNAvideo

Had a global pandemic not occured, Alex would have been joined by University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble conductor Gerard Morris and Rob Taylor, giving a presentation on large ensembles, electroacoustic multimedia music, and activism at the March 2020 CBDNA Regional conference in Tacoma, WA.

 


CBDNA launched a YouTube series and kicked it off with Alex's presentation, IMPACT AND ACTIVISM, which you can view by clicking the YouTube icon to the left. Where there's an internet connection, there's a way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Midwest Clinic panel

The e-Frontier panel at the 2013 Midwest Clinic. L-R:
Peter Guenther, Jerry Luckhardt, Craig Kirchhoff, Mark Walker,
Miller Asbill, Steven Bryant, and Alex Shapiro.


 

 

 

 

 

Alex regularly gives lectures for composers
at universities and music conferences
about making a happy and creative life in music.

Here's a portion of one such workshop
given in 2013 to composers
at Western Washington University,
in which she describes the importance
and joy of taking risks-- some of which
may end up positively altering
the course of one's career
(in this case, the wonderful story of how
Alex fell into composing for band)!

 

 

 

 

 

Alex loves being a podcast guest...
 

Band Talk with Charlie Menghini

In March 2020, 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. Enjoy their lengthy chat! listen

 

 

 

 
Everything Band

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

 

 

 

One More Time

At the December 2017 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Alex spoke with Sean Smith, the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Illinois and the producer of its One More Time podcast series. The show focuses on women in the band world and features Alex describing how she came up with the idea for PAPER CUT (and proving that women are just as equally capable as men at suffering from writer's block!)

 


The link to the full show, beginning with interviews with Carol Berthold, Dr. Courtney Snyder, Dr. Andrea Brown, Prof. Paula Crider, and Dr. Emily Threinen, is HERE. You can listen to Alex's segment HERE.listen

 

 

 

CLICK HERE to hear MANY more
of Alex's podcast appearances.
listen

 

 

 

 

 

Alex loves to write...
 
GIA Publications

 

Alex gets excited about educating the musicians and listeners of the future, through her music and her writings.

 


Alex is the author of a chapter in the 2013 GIA Publications book titled, Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra, edited by Clint Randles and David Stringham. Her offering is called Releasing a Student's Inner Composer, and explores myriad ways to encourage young creativity-- by sharing the same methods she uses in her own work.

 


Click on Alex, below, to watch a short, 1:40 video about her chapter in the book:

 

 

 

Alex Shapiro describes her chapter

Here's Alex describing the chapter she wrote for
Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra.

 

 

 

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.

 


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

     

 

WASBE World

 

Alex has written an extensive two-part article on the subject of her clinic presentations on new media in the band world. 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.

 


CLICK HERE to read the full pdf of the article, offered with the kind permission of WASBE.

 

WASBE World

 

     

 

Alex Shapiro and Bruce Bush at NYSSMA 2014

 

Alex and Hal Leonard's Bruce Bush kid around at NYSSMA in Rochester, NY, in front of the poster announcing Alex as the conference's 2014 Composer-in-Residence.

 

 

 

To hear more interviews,
and read Alex's articles, visit this page
Shapiro articles and interviews


 

     

 

Alex loves unusual projects...
 

 

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 here to read the article about the successful project, Putting the E- in E-nsemble. Read

 


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

     
Clemson University Memorial Stadium

 

Alex got into the team spirit with the Clemson University Tiger Band! She was commissioned in 2015 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-- the 2015 and 2019 versions of which you can see below-- has played during every home 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 AND 2019 National Champions!

 

 

 

Clemson wins the 2016 National Championship against Alabama

 

 

 

Clemson wins the 2019 National Championship against Alabama

 

 

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:

 

 

     

 

 

Alex writes tunes beyond the concert music world...
 
 

 

Prior to delving entirely into concert music and composing over 100 chamber and large ensemble pieces, Alex worked steadily for fifteen years in the commercial music field.

 


Experience as a scoring composer, producer and engineer broadens her approach to band writing. Here are a few examples from music outside her concert catalog:

 
Alex Shapiro
  Film: End title from "The Last Job" MP3 
  Indie Pop: excerpt from "Falling in You" MP3 
  Jazz: excerpt from "Hot Mud" MP3
  Country Pop: excerpt from "On Thanksgiving" MP3

 

 

For full info and many audio clips,
visit
Film/TV/Jazz more

     

 

Alex is highly interactive...
 
 

If it hadn't been for MySpace back in 2007, Alex might still have yet to compose a single note for concert wind band. But thanks to then Lieutenant Colonel Tod Addison stumbling upon Alex's MySpace page via composer Anne McGinty's page, Alex's sonic world exploded. One click can change everything-- for the better!


To read Alex's amusing July 2008 Sounding Board cover article about her experience, click here Sounding Board article

 


 

Interact with the composer!
See Alex in the context of the world around her,
and become one of her friends in the social networks.

Facebook
YouTube
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email Alex!
 

 

In January 2006, Alex began Notes from the Kelp, her personal commentary from the beach. For ten years, she regularly posted new insights to a large international following of "Kelphistos."




Pairing her photos and her music in what she calls a "pixelsonic" experience, Alex invites readers to share the beauty of the environment which inspires her. The sound files may no longer work, but the photos and essays remain a memoir for a signficant period in Alex's life.

 

blog link
The San Juan Islands

 

THE CONTACT INFO
 
 

Getting in touch:

The VERY best way to reach Alex is through email, by clicking here contact


You can also leave a voice message or a fax (huh?) at: (270) 916-0093, and she'll return your call.

 

 

 

 
 

Commissioning:

Ms. Shapiro is equally comfortable creating new works for an individual ensemble, or for a large consortium of participants. For commission inquiries, please contact Alex. Email Alex

 

 

 

 
 

Licensing:

ALL licensing inquiries, including recording, broadcast, synchronization to video or dance, marching band or other arrangements, etc., are handled DIRECTLY by Ms. Shapiro and Activist Music LLC. Please avoid the unnecessary expense of third party businesses, and send an email the details of your request by clicking here. Licensing

 

 

 

 
 

Arrangements:

Here's something VERY helpful: a thorough explanation for creating arrangements, prepared by the Music Publishers Association, of which Alex is a board member. The documents also addresses related copyright issues that can sometimes seem elusive. Click to download!

 

Band Arrangement 411

 

 

 

 
 

Webhearsals:

Alex loves to interact with ensembles, coach rehearsals, discuss myriad topics, and give a detailed tour of her state-of-the-art project studio on San Juan Island. Click here for more information, to see a video, and to book a session. Webhearsals

 

 

 
 

Residencies:

When budgets allow for the expense of an in-person residency, Alex is a positive presence on campus, whether in rehearsals of her music, or giving lectures on the many facets of a happy career. Alex also enjoys doing e-residences, which are an excellent option that saves money fossil fuels! To inquire, please email Alex. Email Alex

 

 

 
     
     


Looking for more composers with diverse backgrounds?

 

 


 

Please visit the PROGRAMMING RESOURCES page on this site: an inspiring list of aggregated links to a great many talented composers who happen to be women, non-binary, and/or people of color. Then, share the link with conductors, educators and music-makers!

 

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