You're here
Alex Shapiro, composer email



for symphonic wind band,
and pre-recorded soundscape.

Composed by Alex Shapiro.

Grade 4 and beyond.

2010. Duration 10:10.
Published by Activist Music LLC (ASCAP).

score cover



Click here to listen!

Stream Download

The .mp3 stream or download of the live premiere of BENEATH.


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.

reference MP3
reference MP3



BENEATH is available as a physical, bound set of score and parts plus audio download, or as a digital set of .pdf score and parts, plus audio download.

Full set: $200. Score only: $25.


Click here to order the PDF set from Activist Music ORDER BENEATH


Click the icon to order the print set from Hal Leonard ORDER BENEATH


Hal Leonard






Synchronization and mechanical rights are included free of charge for music educators and non-profit ensembles wishing to create a virtual recording and video of this piece, subject to written approval from Ms. Shapiro prior to publicly posting the media.












Orca whale breaching. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

BENEATH instrumentation

breach splash






BENEATH brings listeners on a sonic journey into a private, aquatic realm, with the heart-wrenching song of a Pacific Humpback whale as a tour guide. Below 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.




PROGRAM BIO for Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro bio and photos



Enjoy this video of BENEATH, performed by the Washington State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Dahn Pham on a concert devoted to Shapiro's music during her residency as guest composer for the Festival of Contemporary Art Music on February 9, 2013.



WSU performance





Conductor Joseph Higgins gives his audience a wonderful introduction to BENEATH by playing the raw Humpback whale song for them before giving the downbeat to the Rowan University Wind Ensemble — have a listen!




surf grass






(email Activist Music for the code):


.pdf file of the TRANSPOSED CONDUCTOR SCORE, 9 x 12; 34 pages




perusal score





bull kelp bed






Here's something VERY helpful: a complete guide to the software and hardware setup for your rehearsal space and performance venue.


pdf of tech guide


This music lends itself to a multimedia performance if desired, with video, photos, lighting, or set design concepts. For access to existing photographs from Alex's extensive portfolio, or for more information, please contact Alex mail link






tide pool




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 the image below to watch a short excerpt from the latter, scored with the whale song track from BENEATH and filmed at Alex's home on San Juan Island, WA.:

Alex in "In Search of the Great Song"



By Anthony Rodgers May 09, 2017
Elemental Excellence
Review of Mid America Freedom Band concert,
Lee Hartman, conductor:

"Two movements from Alex Shapiro's Immersion were fantastic, incorporating oceanic sounds and whale songs in the electronics. "Beneath" featured improvisational elements to create, as Hartman described, "a jazz club immersed under water." Four soloists—tenor sax, alto sax, trumpet, and vibraphone—did well to fit the atmosphere and groove of the piece without going too hard too fast in their brief, improvised features. In "Depth," the focus shifted to a more relaxed feel, featuring gentle washes of sound with warm winds and smooth percussion. The balance between electronic and acoustic sounds in both of these movements was great, and the ensemble's entrances were gentle to create gorgeous soundscapes."









Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, etc. are wonderful tools for affordably bringing Alex into your rehearsal, without having to book a plane flight! She has a great time coaching students, and the difference between their musicianship at the beginning of the session and by the time it ends, is remarkable.

Alex can tell the ensemble about how the piece was created and engage them in conversation, and even show them how her digital project studio works! It's also easy to arrange to have her say hello to the audience during a concert, via a custom video. Webhearsals connect musicians to the real person-- and the stories-- behind the notes on the music stands. Get in touch with Alex-- her contact info is at the bottom of this page.

To see some examples of webhearsals, and the view Alex loves to share from her desk, click here.



Alex was an early adopter of online "webhearsals"! Here's one from December 2012 with Alex in her studio on Washington's San Juan Island, and band director Mary Bauer and the Mt. Mansfield Union High School Band far across the continent in Vermont.









Alex has written an extensive two-part article about electroacoustic band music and the uses of multimedia in the concert world. The essay, titled The e-Frontier: Music, Multimedia, Education, and Audiences in the Digital World echoes the presentations she has given at the 2013 Midwest Clinic, the 2014 TMEA convention, and countless other seminars, and appears in the June and September 2014 issues of the magazine of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, WASBE World. The pdf is offered here with the very kind permission of the organization.


Click here for the full .pdf file readThe e-Frontier




BENEATH is also the third movement of Alex's wind symphony to the sea, IMMERSION. Click here to read about the suite.




Click here to listen to the February 2017 podcast interview Alex did with host Anthony Lanmanon his show 1 Track, in which she A/B'ed identical sections of BELOW, for contrabass flute, and its subsequent version for symphonic band, BENEATH -- the final movement of IMMERSION.




Want to know how Alex found the perfect whale for this piece? Click here to read a short interview with her, on the blog The Natural World.




Orca whale and gull. Photo by Alex Shapiro.






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



Email Alex!



All photographs by Alex Shapiro (offering a good hint about where all this watery music comes from!).




Alex Shapiro at the Hal Leonard Booth at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, December 2014.

There's a lot more Shapiro band music to hear!


Head on over to THIS PAGE for an overview of Alex's wind band pieces. You can listen to each one, read all about it via a link, and if desired, request a free pdf perusal score. Have fun!

Shore. Photo by Alex Shapiro.



Alex Shapiro
Alex Shapiro
You're here

©2000-2023 by Alex Shapiro. All rights reserved to design and content.