Alex Shapiro, composer email


Honors, Awards and Reviews




Quick links on this page







Turn Island. Photo by Alex Shapiro.


The honor of serving with others



Symphonic & Concert Writer Member,
Board of Directors,

Officer, Board of Directors,
The ASCAP Foundation

Co-Chair, Symphony & Concert Committee,

Member, Board of Directors,
The Aaron Copland Fund for Music

Member, Board of Directors,
Music Publishers Association of the United States

Member, Music Composition Council, Northwest Division Representative
National Association for Music Education (NAfME)

Past Member, Executive Committee,
The International Council Of Music Authors (CIAM)

Past Co-Chair, Program Council,
New Music USA

Past concert music representative,
Board of Review,

Past Board member,
American Music Center

Past Board member,
The MacDowell Colony

Voting member,
Recording Academy
(NARAS; The Grammys)

Past Member, Alumni Council,
Manhattan School of Music

Member, Music Department Advisory Council,
Columbia College

Member, Composer Project Advisory Board,
United Sound

Music Publishers Association of the United States

Member, Distinguished Mentors Council,
Composers Now

Member, past President,
American Composers Forum of Los Angeles

Member, past Vice President,
The Society of Composers & Lyricists

Member, past officer,
(National Association of Composers, USA)

Member, past officer,
The College Music Society,
Pacific Southern Chapter

Honorary Brother,
Kappa Kappa Psi

Honorary Brother,
Tau Beta Sigma

American Composers Forum

Chamber Music America

(Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the U.S.)

Society of Composers, Inc.

International Alliance for Women in Music

ACME, Mu Phi Epsilon

Mu Phi Epsilon

Sigma Alpha Iota Composers Bureau

The Dominant Club Music Association

Past Member, Board,
Mladi Chamber Orchestra

Past Member, VTEA Advisory Council,
Los Angeles City College Music Department

Past Member, Advisory Board,
Kalvos and Damian's New Music Bazaar

Fellowship recipient, 2000,
California Arts Council

Fellowship recipient, 2003-2004,
The MacDowell Colony

Member, Advancement Board,
University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories


Little Turn Island. Photo by Alex Shapiro.


Additional awards & distinctions



December, 2023:

Alex is in her second term as the Northwest Division Representative on the NAfME Council for Music Composition, and received this appreciation from President Scott Sheehan.


MPE Award of Merit



2021 award:

Concurrent with the premiere of her second symphony, SUSPENDED, commissioned by Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma for their July 2021 National Intercollegiate Band, Alex was made an Honorary Brother of both fraternities, and awarded Tau Beta Sigma's "Outstanding Service to Music Award".


And if you're wondering what the colorful ping pong balls are doing in the photo, listen to the third movement of the symphony, a minuet and trio titled MASKED!




Award from TBS



2018 award:

Alex received the 2018 Friday Harbor Film Festival Local Hero Award for her activism through music, as an arts advocacy speaker and as a composer who often pairs her works with her wildlife photography to raise environmental awareness.



Friday Harbor Film Festival

Friday Harbor Film FestivalFriday Harbor Film Festival



August, 2011:

Alex was honored by the national music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon with its highest award, the Award of Merit. Citing "her dedication to new music composition and activism for the arts," the award, given to a member biannually, was presented at the Mu Phi Epsilon National Convention held at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. To read the lovely inscription on the placque, click here


MPE Award of Merit


tide pools

tide pools

tide pools

tide pools



2009 MetLife Creative Connections Award
Meet the Composer

2008 Award for Slip
International Aliénor Harpsichord Composition Competition
2007 Elected to Mu Phi Epsilon's ACME
2005 Subito Award for Music for Two Big Instruments
The American Composers Forum
2005 Award for Bioplasm
Music Teachers National Association
2004 California MTNA Commissioned Composer Award
California Assn. of Professional Music Teachers
2003-2004 Alpha Chi Omega Foundation Fellow
The MacDowell Colony
2003 Subito Award for Current Events
The American Composers Forum
2003 Best Original Composition Award for At the Abyss
Mu Phi Epsilon
2003 Award for Current Events
The American Music Center
2002 Distinguished Service Award
The American Composers Forum
2001 Award for Of Bow and Touch
The International Society of Bassists
2000 Artist Fellowship Award for the Performing Arts
The California Arts Council

2000 Award for Re:pair for Flute and Bassoon
Mu Phi Epsilon
1999 Best Instrumental Composition
Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano
Utah Composers Guild
1999 Best Performance Award for
Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano
Delius Association of Florida

1998-2023 Standard/ASCAPLus Awards


Alex Shapiro. Photo by Paul Chepikian.


Some reviews




American Record Guide

Int'l Record Review



The Jan/Feb 2006 issue of the American Record Guide gave a terrific review to Above and Beyond, the new CD from the Los Angeles Flute Quartet. Christopher L. Chaffee writes, "I am especially taken with the Shapiro "Bioplasm," ... I hope other flutists play it too."


The March 2006 issue of International Record Review glowingly praises Carolyn Beck's CD, Beck and Call, stating, "the disc opener [of Alex Shapiro's] "Of Breath and Touch" is delicate and nervous, like a fine race horse...".


The May/June issue of Fanfare Magazine calls Alex's work for contrabassoon and electronics, Deep, "...texturally absorbing...", and the May 2006 issue of Gramophone says of Deep, "The blend of sonorities is ominous and magical."

Chamber Music


“...one of [Shapiro’s] most remarkable works is simply entitled Deep, written for contrabassoon and electronic soundtrack....The electronic timbres are so mystically sepulchral that they fold the contrabassoon into themselves, and you really have to watch the score to be sure what the soloist is playing and what’s on the accompanying sound track.... And the sound production is so superb that you could pass the piece off as a really outside-the-box pop record, like a long-lost Brian Eno track. Surely this is the best solo contrabassoon piece ever written...”

—Kyle Gann, Chamber Music, May/June 2008




"PAPER CUT produces an aural and visual experience that is unmatched for music at this grade level and is easily one of the most original and interesting pieces written at any grade level in recent memory." To read the full review, click here more

— Jeffrey Gershman, School Band & Orchestra, July 2013


School Band & Orchestra


In his May 2001 review for
Music & Vision Magazine,
Gordon Rumson writes:


Music $ Vision



"Don't let look and location put you off (My gosh, she lives in Malibu!?!) here's a first-rate, real composer. Her piano sonata is tough, tightly controlled motivically in the manner of mid-century American serious composers, but it is also musically tense and expressive. This is the genuine article.

Of Bow and Touch (Double Bass and Piano) which was winner of a 2001 award from The International Society of Bassists, sounds here in the brief clip and proves a very interesting and effective work. I enjoyed the work Re:pair for Two Baroque Flutes. Delightful. You can hear clips of a number of her compositions and read her interesting biography -- she's done a huge amount not only as a musician, but as a civil rights activist.

Alex Shapiro
is a name people should know, she's got it all. She is, in a word, a serious and significant composer of beautiful music. Hats off! And you can buy her music at the site. Excuse me, I just have to go and put in my order now... "


windy day at tidepools

windy day at tidepools

windy day at tidepools



"...[Shapiro's music] is enough to give one hope for the contemporary music scene."

— James Manheim, All Music Guide, November 2007


All Music Guide
L.A. Weekly


"[Alex Shapiro's Current Events] deserves circulation... Her title, by the way, refers to her hobby, which has something to do with “communing with the sea life at tide pools. It's music exceptionally well made ... I found it most attractive, especially in a long, beautifully unfolding slow movement."

In her pre-performance talk [Shapiro] kept invoking the ghost of Brahms, but I think she sold herself short on that count; her string scoring had little of the thickness with which the good Doktor was often given to burying his best thoughts. I wonder if he ever caught the romance of a tide pool."

—Alan Rich, L.A. Weekly, February 2005




"[Alex Shapiro's Sonata for Piano]... jazz hued spikiness... The scherzo closer works surprisingly well, coming off as a slam bang coda in the way the last measures of Beethoven’s first Razumovsky quartet do.... a palpable level of motivic economy, confident and easy manner of melodic speech, and clear sense of crafty sophistication. "

—David Cleary, New Music Connoisseur September 2003


Turn Island. Photo by Alex Shapiro.


MusicWeb Int'l

"This recital, consisting of music for percussion and piano opens with Alex Shapiro’s wonderfully descriptive At the Abyss. It is the longest work on the program, and is reflective of the composer’s concerns for current social issues including politics and ecology. Well constructed, and full of interesting sounds, the work reminded me of some of the more creative film scoring that I have heard. This is music that conjures images in the mind, and the joy of it all is that those images will vary from listener to listener."

Kevin Sutton, MusicWeb-International January 2006




"This is not a "percussion" recording, but it is full of wonderful compositions, several of which make prominent use of percussion. This eclectic group of pieces by Alex Shapiro run the gambit from joyful, almost giddy moods to dark, somber colors that remind one of Bartok or possibly Berg... This inspiring recording is great to listen to regardless if one is a percussionist or not. But "At the Abyss" should be considered by any percussionists looking for great literature to perform."

— Tom Morgan, Percussive Notes, April 2008


Percussive Notes
Bass World


"[Alex Shapiro's] Of Bow and Touch is a dramatic work with beautiful bass melodies and an intriguing use of harmony and texture... The piece begins with a striking introduction... The bass enters majestically... Rich quiet harmonies support a lyric bel canto, yet complex rhythms in the melody... A virtuosic cadenza marked "very freely, improvisation is encouraged" further embellishes the melody... Of Bow and Touch is a very effective and accessible work, with artful melodies and inventive use of harmonies and textures."

Hans Sturm, Bass World, December 2001




"Sometimes we hear music so much that we don't listen to it; why do we tune out our minds from our ears? It often takes a piece like Paper Cut to reorient ourselves and start listening to music again. As an electro-acoustic piece, Paper Cut is a combination of band instruments, pre-recorded track, and (of course) paper. Shapiro imagined the music as something akin to a film score, and I hear mystery and determination aplenty in the piece. I love this piece for the way it helps us, band and audience alike, remember that we have to listen to the music to appreciate it. So listen up! It isn't every day that you have a chance to hear something new and appreciate the creativity and inspiration behind music. "

— James DeCaro, The Beet Sellery, July 2014


The Beet Sellery
Alex Shapiro 2006


"Listen Up! Don't ask any questions. Simply go to this page, and click on each of the three MP3 excerpts from a composition (a string quintet) titled..., Current Events. It will do wonders for your heart, mind, and soul, and convince those of you who regard the 21st century as a bleak one for worthy new classical music (among whose number I often count myself) that perhaps things are not nearly so bleak as they might at times seem... Needless to say, we're also adding Ms. Shapiro's blog to our exclusive Culture Blogs listing on the sidebar."


––from A.C. Douglas, Sounds & Fury, 4/21/06




"... a perky and thoroughly delightful duet for flute and oboe by the local composer Alex Shapiro, was brand-new, and Shapiro was on hand to deliver a few words about her piece..."

— Alan Rich, L.A. Weekly, July 2005


L.A. Weekly


Tuba News


"Alex Shapiro’s Music for Two Big Instruments, written for Norm Pearson (tuba player with the Los Angeles Philharmonic), is the perfect intro for an excellent CD! It is a very powerful piece..."

Sergio Carolino, Tuba News, September 2005




"A month or two back, I ran across notes from the kelp, composer Alex Shapiro's blog, because of referrals to me (thank you, Site Meter!). She had a funny and challenging TAFTO Month contribution last week. And today, I listened to some of her music. You should, too; it is extremely beautiful and interesting..."

––from Lisa Hirsch, Iron Tongue of Midnight, 4/21/06


The Double Reed


"... I loved the dark, deep, almost gothic lyricism of the contrabassoon/pre-recorded track work "Deep," providing us with a truly unique and original composition for contrabassoon."

The Double Reed, April 2006




Malibu Surfside News


"Gifted with an intuitive musical sense complimented by a warm and expansive personality, Alex Shapiro has achieved success in a field few women have even entered."

Peggy Hall Kaplan, Malibu Surfside News, October 2000




"The annual Delius Composition Award Concert always proves to be interesting and entertaining, with wide-ranging stylistic musical offerings. This year, I particularly liked Alex Shapiro's Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano... truly interesting and very lovely..."

—Jeff Gower, The Delius Festival Report, April 1999

Delius Festival
Ruffles, an orca whale. Photo by Alex Shapiro.


Some Panels and Adjudication






The Grammy Awards


The Aaron Copland Fund for Music



The MacDowell Colony



Local Sightings Film Festival



Aliénor Prize, International Harpsichord Composition Competition



SEAMUS Festival



Meet the Composer Creative Connections Awards



Music Teachers Association of California Piano Competition



The McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship Award



The Cable ACE Awards



Sacramento State University Graduate Composition Competition


Contented alpaca. Photo by Alex Shapiro.


Contact and Press Kit


To contact Alex Shapiro,
email is best.
Click here to send Alex a note email
You can even send a fax
(what's THAT?) to:
(270) 916-0093.

To download a .pdf of the complete
Activist Music LLC catalog,
please click here


To download a .pdf of a complete
narrative bio and C.V.,
please click here
Narrative bio and C.V.

narrative bio and C.V.

To obtain a
short program bio for print,
please click here
Program Bio

Program Bio

To download a photograph
for print or web,
please click here

Alex Shapiro photo

To obtain program notes
for any of Ms. Shapiro's works,
please click here
Program notes
Program notes
To learn more
about Alex Shapiro's public
speaking engagements,
please click here
Salish sea sunset. Photo by Alex Shapiro.

Alex Shapiro, composer email2

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