A spirited voyage, navigating many islands of sound.


(2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Double bass, Flute/Piccolo, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, Bassoon, French Horn, and Piano).
Total duration ca. 9:30 (2009; revised 2013, 2021, and again for the final and we really mean it this time in 2023.)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
Commissioned in 2009 by The Norton Building Concert Series, for the Fifth House Ensemble.
One movement work. 61 pages (score), 8.5" x 11".


Equally effective as a one-on-a-part chamber work (with conductor), or for full chamber orchestra.


Premiered (in an initial version without piano)
on November 15, 2009 in Lockport, IL
by Fifth House Ensemble.


San Juan Islands archipelago


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Listen to the DEMO of the revised version of Archipelago:

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Purchase this score

Score and parts available from
Activist Music: $100.00 print; $70 digital.






I live in a beautiful archipelago in which each island has a distinct character. Some are similar to each other, and others cause me to wonder what the geo- and meteorological forces could have been to make them so contrasting. This piece is not dissimilar, as it wends its way through a series of cohesive but varied segments, each subject to the forces of my own emotional geology.


Similarly, a musical ensemble is its own archipelago: wonderfully contrasting individuals who, when experienced together, form a compelling, unified group. As with navigating the channels and straits between isles, or those of one's psyche, Archipelago offers a journey, and every listener will experience the landscape differently.


Alex, with Fifth House Ensemble at 2009 premiere in Lockport, IL.

Alex Shapiro and the Fifth House Ensemble
at the premiere of Archipelago, November 2009.

Archipelago, page 7  
Archipelago, page 9    
Archipelago, page 30    
Archipelago, page 39    

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