Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro

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Composer, Clinician


Alex Shapiro (b. New York City, 1962) is known for her genre-blind acoustic and electroacoustic works. Published by her company Activist Music LLC, Alex's music is heard daily in concerts and broadcasts across the U.S. and internationally, and can be found on over thirty commercially released recordings. 

Ms. Shapiro began her career scoring for commercial visual media, and later established herself in the professional chamber music world. Since composing her first wind band work in 2007, Alex has become noted for adventurous electroacoustic pieces for the field at all performance levels, and is sought after for her seamless melding of live and recorded sounds, often including striking visual and physical elements. Ms. Shapiro uses technology in each aspect of a commission, from the creation of the music, to "webhearsals" in which she coaches thousands of musicians around the world, to customized, multimedia material delivery web pages, and the public reach of the finished piece through social media. 

An animated and entertaining speaker on webinars and podcasts discussing myriad topics, Shapiro has been a repeat clinician at The Midwest Clinic, and at the Texas Music Educators Association, the British Columbia Music Educators Association, CBDNA, and countless similar conferences and university residencies, encouraging creative uses of technology in concert performance. Among her many published writings are the chapters, "Releasing a Student's Inner Composer" for the 2013 book, "Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra," and "Reaching Out and Bringing Women In" for the 2020 release, "The Horizon Leans Forward…Stories of Courage, Strength, and Triumph of Underrepresented Communities in the Wind Band Field," both for GIA Publications. She also authored an 8,000-word article published in two 2014 journals of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) titled, "The e-Frontier: Electroacoustic Music, Multimedia, Education, and Audiences in the Digital World." Two of Alex's electroacoustic band pieces, Paper Cut, and Tight Squeeze, are included in the GIA book/CD series, "Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Volume 10."

Educated at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, Ms. Shapiro is an enthusiastic leader in the new music community, and advocates for other artists through speaking appearances, articles, and volunteerism. Since 2014 she has been the Symphonic and Concert writer member of the Board of Directors of ASCAP, and also serves as an officer on the Board of Directors of the ASCAP Foundation and on the board of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music. After 21 years in Manhattan and another 24 in Los Angeles, Alex relocated in 2007 to Washington State's remote San Juan Island. Ms. Shapiro's wildlife photographs, her music, and her holistic approach to a happy life in the arts, can be experienced through social media and her website, 

I Want To Program Diverse Composers, But I Don’t Know Any!


Alex has been a visible advocate for DEI improvements for many years, and as a co-author of the 2020 GIA Publications book, “The Horizon Leans Forward…Stories of Courage, Strength, and Triumph of Underrepresented Communities in the Wind Band Field” and the curator of an extensive webpage of aggregated Programming Resources links, she demonstrates how easy— and, enjoyable!— it is for ensemble directors to broaden the scope of their concert and educational materials.

Music and Activism: Raising Awareness One Note at a Time


Through numerous multimedia examples, Alex shares inspiring ideas for ensemble directors and composers to help them further engage students and audiences in the world around them. Music is a powerful means by which awareness can be raised and conversations begun, about relevant topics such as environmentalism and social justice issues.

Navigating the Digital Seas


Since 2014, Alex has held the elected Symphonic and Concert Writer seat on the board of directors of ASCAP, and has a great deal of experience helping colleagues understand the often confusing subject of copyright. She and a representative from ASCAP will help attendees understand the usage issues that can sometimes be daunting in an ever-changing digital landscape. Whether streaming concerts or sharing pdfs of sheet music with ensemble members, this seminar will demystify the topic and make life easier.

Plugging Into Another World: A Band Director's Guide to Electroacoustic Music


In a fun, stress-reducing presentation, Alex offers a primer to ensemble directors on the various aspects of preparing an electroacoustic piece. From simple software and hardware requirements, to becoming comfortable conducting to a click track, to the many varieties and possibilities of EA works, creative and affordable options for compelling presentations abound. Whether you’re a seasoned “plugged in” conductor, or a first-time novice, you’ll gain valuable techniques and insights.

Putting the E- in Ensemble: Bringing Music Composition to Students at All Levels


When the pandemic began and everyone suddenly had to teach music remotely, Alex created a detailed curriculum for instrumentalists that kept them playing their instruments, composing short original motives and full length pieces, learning home recording skills, and collaborating with each other. The syllabus works equally well with middle school and high school students, and aligns with NAfME standards. Alex shows educators how effective and profound the experience is for students.

Releasing A Student’s Inner Composer


Alex is among the authors of “Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra,” a 2013 book from GIA Publications in which her chapter, “Releasing A Student’s Inner Composer," offers clear, simple, and sometimes hilarious steps for coaxing the most creative expressive freedom from students.