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Alex Shapiro, composer email
A Collection of Reasonably Entertaining
Short Essays and Articles

Alex at the helm of her first boat, Sea Natural

Knowing a bit about a composer as a person often adds to the perception of her music. Click on some of Alex Shapiro's essays, excerpted below, and enjoy reading about everything from inspiring maestros to bighorn sheep.

 

 


Plus: Published articles and radio broadcasts

Alex Shapiro has been given many opportunities to discuss issues relevant to today's composers. In a growing number of publications, Alex's global perspective and her humor are in full force as she directly addresses what it is to be both a musician and an active particpant in the world.

To read and listen to a variety of articles,
interviews and broadcasts with Alex,
click here

Sandow

NewMusicBox

Mind the Gap
IAWM Journal

Adaptistration

Sounding Board

behind the beat

Sequenza21

New Music Forum

Tokafi

The Score
Composing Thoughts
New Music Forum
The Audition Booth

My Auditions

Measure for Measure

Swedish Radio

Kalvos and Damian
Classical Discoveries WPRB-FM
American MusicMakers
     

And, live!

Alex is even more engaging in person than she is in media!
To learn more about her many public speaking appearances, please
click here

     

Want some more? Along with photos and music?

blog link

Since 2006, Alex has published a personal, pixelsonic blog called Notes from the Kelp, that has developed a following of thousands of readers each month. She pairs snapshots from her daily life by the sea with audio clips of fitting pieces of her music, and welcomes comments. It's Alex's contribution to virtual tourism! Join her in Kelpville, and see where her music really comes from. Enter another world, here blog

Words on Music and Passion

Paws and Effect

excerpt:

  "...For a long time I found his random notes, some fortissimo, others softer, to be little more than distracting noise, annoying in the way they pulled my attention from the notes *I* was sauntering across. But one day..."

 

more

       

Theft Begins at Home

 

excerpt:

  "...After a reasonable amount of pencil chewing, cat petting, email checking, almond munching, drawer reorganizing and writing and erasing, I was about ready to give up for the night. It’s easy enough to write down a note. Nearly any note will do. But often, the hardest thing about composing is just coming up with the all-important and necessary second note..."

 

more

       
  "Artists are communicators, and the world of communication has changed immensely in the past decade. Yet the way artists perceive themselves in the world has been slow to adapt to the freedom and power we now possess. We're most likely to have a viable career with our art if we ignore some of the paralyzing rules, paradigms, and myths from the past that are no longer relevant." more
       
  "...what's primary here and really at the crux of why we all do what we do, is that even if those of us listening don't "get it," the person who created these sounds does, and passionately..."

 

more

       

Four Letter Words
from a Maestro

excerpt:

  "...Although I must admit that nearly twenty five years later, I don't recall the pith of Mr. Leinsdorf's analysis that day, what I distinctly remember is even more valuable..."

 

more

       

Composition 101

excerpt:

  "...Music is sex. Passion! Love. Joy. Pain. Tears. Agony! More joy. Communication. Y'know, making music is a helluva lot like making love..."

 

more

       

Neo Romanticism?

excerpt:

  "...I don't think tonality and overt melody ever left the building, but in some circles they were like a couple of illicit lovers locked in a small broom closet for quite a while..."

 

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happy...
happier...
really happy!
Words on Artists and Their Relationship to the World

E-ing There

excerpt:

  "You know what composers sell? Their heart. And it's wrapped in this fantastic packaging called their music. So, whether from the center of London or the edge of the Salish Sea, you reach out, and your essence, every bit as much as your music, becomes the draw for others to explore your work." more
       

The Economy of Exposure: Publicity as Payment?

excerpt:

  "We've entered an entirely new paradigm, in which it is not only money but distribution that is the payment which leads to...money."

 

more

       
  "...the more artists refuse to consider differences in target audiences, the more successful we'll be! Hey, that sounds pretty radical, huh? It completely flies in the face of the way things are currently set up, whereby radio stations [read: advertisers] strap themselves into a demographic straight-jacket..."

 

more

       
  "The power of ideas resides in the act of their dissemination. A creative work may be thought provoking or life changing, but without the ability to distribute it to others, its content is of limited use..."

 

more

       

Titling Titles

excerpt:

  "...In this age of marketing, the titles composers choose serve to draw listeners to a piece, even more than to describe it. In a way, the title is the only advertisement our pieces have..."

 

more

       
  "...Paramount and other large, long-established companies are still desperately grasping on to the old paradigms of the way they expect to make money, even though those archetypes are rapidly disappearing..." more
       

To the Dustbuster
and Beyond

excerpt:

  "If you want to see a look of horrified alarm on someone's face, just ask a struggling artist whether..."

 

more

       

The Joys of
Musical Schizophrenia

excerpt:

  "...By presenting an integrated array of music within a concert, composers might reach a broader base of potential fans..."

 

more

       

Musicians & Audiences,
Present and Future

excerpt:

  "...If composers want to attract audiences for our music, indeed, if we wish to remain relevant to the public, then it is my opinion that we must earn the interest of our listeners..."

 

more

       
  "The other benefit of a Fictitious Business Name is privacy. Just like a comic book hero, you can shield your true identity from those you don't want to find out about you." more
       
  "Googling yourself may sound either painful or illegal in some states, but in fact it can provide a lot of information about where your career buzz is buzzing..." more
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tide pools
tide pools
splash
 
Amusing Musical Musings

In the Dentist Chair

excerpt:

  "...My dentist is a pleasant man who tries his best to make the experience of having one's head violently drilled as enjoyable as possible..."

 

more

       

You've Got Mail

 

excerpt:

  "...A neighbor whom I'd never met called to tell me that a package meant for me had been left mistakenly with him. "Thanks," I replied, matter-of-fact. "I'm working right now, so I'm not dressed..."

 

 

more

       

Drinking Again

 

excerpt:

  "...Standing by the picture window above the sink, clad in the silly looking flannel pajamas I find so comfortable to compose in, I proceeded to pour what little remained in a bottle of Chardonnay..."

 

 

more

       

The Gestation Period

 

excerpt:

  "...Sometimes I catch him glancing at me as I stare at my computer, mindlessly surfing the internet in my pathetic need to distract myself from the work at hand. Where another less enlightened being might assume I was just slacking off and procrastinating..."

 

 

more

       
  "...A colleague called me recently and told me about his dead lion. I sympathized; as a fellow freelancer I know how difficult that can be..."

 

more

       
  "...A number of years ago, when my emerging career had yet to emerge enough to..."

 

more

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Cousin It?...
...as a gardener...?
Nope!

Life Amidst Nature, Human and Otherwise

The Gust of Honor

 

excerpt:

  "...As the clamoring grew even louder we peered outside, only to see sheets of corrugated metal roofing, 3' by 8' long, flying through the air, buffeted ever so aerodynamically 100 feet or so above our little heads, and landing, one by one, perilously close to our little heads..."

 

 

more

       

What Key Do You
Play God In?

excerpt:

  "...I was probably crying about all sorts of things that had nothing to do with the spider, but I couldn't think of what else they were..."

 

more

       

Flow and Feel

 

excerpt:

  "...You can't see, you can't think, you can't really tell which way is up or down as some level of vertigo settles in, you can't see the ground under your skis, you can't control the horrid conditions, but YOU'RE THERE so YOU DEAL WITH IT and godammit, this is, after all, supposed to be fun...

 

 

more

       

Life Revelations
in Death Valley

 

excerpt:

  "...And so a few years ago, in the middle of the hottest July in many decades and in the midst of a very unhappy time for me, I set out to face my sadness surrounded by the soothing beauty waiting a few hundred miles from my home. The desert, particularly in the intense heat of summer, is a marvelous place to think..."

 

 

more

       

Writing Companion

 

excerpt:

  "... I was barely able to discern her compact body, almost unrecognizable out of context. I looked forward to her descent once dusk arrived. She was my studio companion, since we both worked such late hours..."

 

 

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Here are Alex's writing companions, Moses (left), who went on to meet the Great Catnip in the sky in late 2010, and Smudge (right), sleeping in one of their cat beds and doing their best impression of the Chinese Yin/Yang symbol.

Yin and Yang

Alex Shapiro, composer email2
Home
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