Symphony & Concert Committee: Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro is a familiar face in the new music community as a composer, essayist and speaker. Shapiro's acoustic and electroacoustic works, published by her company, Activist Music, are performed and broadcast weekly across the U.S. and internationally. Her music has been recorded by artists around the world and is available on over twenty commercially released CDs, including a compilation disc of several of her most performed chamber pieces on the 2007 Innova Recordings release, "Notes from the Kelp."

Shapiro is known for her creative views on how the internet and new media can advance artists' careers, and lectures frequently, sharing this information with those both inside and outside of the arts. Articulate and passionate, Shapiro has appeared at a wide variety of music events, including NARAS' Grammy in the Schools, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's First Nights series, Chamber Music America's national conferences, IAWM's International Congress of Women in Music, the National Performing Arts Convention, the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, and each of ASCAP's I Create Music Expos in Hollywood. Since 2000, Ms. Shapiro has interviewed over 100 composers as the moderator of the Los Angeles Composer's Salon series, and the Composer to Composer series at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

A vocal advocate for other artists, Ms. Shapiro serves on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center, and is the past President of the Board of Directors of the American Composers Forum of Los Angeles. Shapiro has also served as an officer on the boards of national organizations including NACUSA, The College Music Society, and The Society of Composers & Lyricists. Her activism extends beyond the music world to additional interests: she sits on the board of the University of Washington's marine science research facility, the Friday Harbor Laboratories, and served three consecutive terms on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Southern California during the 1990's, for which she chaired its State and National Legislative Action Committee and was the 30,000-member affiliate's Vice-president. A seasoned lobbyist, Ms. Shapiro has joined ASCAP colleagues and board members meeting with legislators in Washington, D.C. about audio visual download performance rights, and has testified before the Federal Communications Commission on a panel hearing on issues related to broadband access and digital piracy.

Born in New York City in 1962 and raised in Manhattan, Shapiro began composing at age nine. She was educated at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, where she was a composition student of Ursula Mamlok and John Corigliano. Earlier composition studies from age fifteen were with Leo Edwards at Mannes College of Music and with Michael Czajkowski and George Tsontakis at the Aspen Music School. Ms. Shapiro is the recipient of awards from the American Music Center, ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer and Mu Phi Epsilon, and has been awarded artist fellowships from The California Arts Council and from The MacDowell Colony, for which she currently serves as an advisor.

A longtime resident of Malibu, California, Alex now lives on Washington State's San Juan Island. When she's not composing she can be found communing with the sea life in a kayak or at the tide pools, evidence of which can be found on her music and photo-filled blog, and her website,