Alex Shapiro’s extensive and diverse catalog is published by her company, Activist Music. Ms. Shapiro’s works are heard daily in performances and broadcasts across the U.S. and internationally, and can be found on over twenty commercially released CDs from around the world. In addition to her acoustic and electroacoustic chamber music, Alex is widely known for her groundbreaking electroacoustic pieces for symphonic wind band, and is considered a pioneer in the application of digital media in composition, and for innovative uses of social networks. Shapiro’s large ensemble works became exclusively distributed by Hal Leonard Corporation in 2013, when Activist Music created a print and digital contract unique in its approach to the realities of 21st century publishing.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Ms. Shapiro was educated at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music as a student of Ursula Mamlok and John Corigliano. At 21, Alex moved to Los Angeles, where she composed scores for film and television projects for fifteen years before returning to concert music. Shapiro was among the earliest professionals using the internet’s reach to build a thriving international composing career, and was honored in 2011 by the national music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon with its highest member distinction, the Award of Merit, for her inventive methods and her encouragement to colleagues.
Ms. Shapiro is a frequent festival composer and guest lecturer at universities, and has spoken at countless music events including six ASCAP EXPOs. For ten years, she was the popular moderator of the Los Angeles Composer Salons, interviewing over one hundred creators. The author of many articles on composing and new media, Shapiro was the sole artist invited to Washington, D.C. to testify in a 2009 Federal Communications Commission hearing on broadband access and digital rights.
A familiar advocate in the new music community, Shapiro is the past president of the American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, a former vice president of The Society of Composers & Lyricists, and has served on the boards of national organizations including The American Music Center and The MacDowell Colony. Joining ASCAP’s Symphonic & Concert Committee in 2009, with composers Stephen Paulus and Jennifer Higdon and attorney/publisher Jim Kendrick, Alex co-founded the U.S. touring series, The ASCAP Composer Career Workshops, presenting seminars on essential business skills. From 2010-2014 Shapiro was the elected concert music representative on the ASCAP Board of Review, and she chairs the Media Council for New Music USA.
Ms. Shapiro's activism extends beyond the arts, including three terms in the 1990s on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, serving as vice president of the 30,000-member affiliate. She is a board member of the University of Washington's marine science research facility, the Friday Harbor Laboratories.
In 2007, Alex moved from Malibu, California to Washington State's remote San Juan Island. An award-winning nature photographer, when not composing, Alex can be found communing with the sea life, seen on her website, www.alexshapiro.org, and her music and photo-filled blog, www.notesfromthekelp.com.