You're here
Alex Shapiro, composer email




30-second overview

Composer Alex Shapiro aligns note after note with the hope that at least a few of them will actually sound good next to each other. Her persistence at this activity, as well as non-fiction music writing, arts advocacy, public speaking, wildlife photography, and the shameless instigation of insufferable puns on Facebook, has led to a happy life. Ever-boastful of her terminal degree of a high school diploma (an impressive feat having failed 8th grade algebra), Alex lives in the middle of nowhere on a small rock between the coasts of Washington State and British Columbia, and draws from a broad musical palette that giddily ignores genre. Her acoustic and electroacoustic works are published by her company Activist Music LLC, have won almost no awards, are performed and broadcast daily, have rarely been reviewed, and can be found on over thirty commercial releases from record labels around the world. No musician or audience member has yet to contact Alex to request their money back. Emphasis on yet.

In addition to lavish customer refund policies, Ms. Shapiro is noted for her seamless melding of live and recorded sounds, and for her innovative uses of multimedia in performance and music education. A widely published advocate on topics ranging from technology, copyright, diversity, music education, and the music business, and a likable person from whom you can learn details about python breeding, Alex is the Symphonic and Concert writer member of the Board of Directors of ASCAP, and serves on the Board of Directors of the ASCAP Foundation and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music. Alex's music as well as her other, sometimes unusual pursuits, can be experienced throughout this slightly-overwhelming-but-at-least-it's-well-organized website.

This pretty much sums things up. You can continue reading Alex's story, or click the arrow to cut to the chase. the chase


Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian
Photo: Paul Chepikian


Looking for a short program bio, or press kit?
please click here
Short bios

Short bios



Quick links on this page

Bald Eagle, by Alex Shapiro


Biographical overview



The Start

Born in New York City in 1962 and raised in Manhattan, Alex began composing as a much shorter person at age nine. At fifteen, she was encouraged by Leo Edwards in her first private composition lessons during a summer program in 1977 at Mannes College of Music, at which she also had her initial experiences building a modular synthesizer and writing remarkably dreadful electronic music.

Alex continued to explore acoustic and synthesized pieces the following two summers of '78 and '79 with teachers Michael Czajkowski and George Tsontakis, as the then youngest and sometimes most poorly behaved composer at the Aspen Music School and Festival. Subsequently, Alex was educated as a composition major at The Juilliard School's Pre-College division from which she graduated in 1980, and at Manhattan School of Music from 1980-1983, where she pursued electronic music with Elias Tanenbaum, was a composition student of Ursula Mamlok and John Corigliano, and from which she did not graduate because after completing three years of study --and with her teachers' blessings-- she moved to Los Angeles when hired by a film producer there to score a low (actually, microscopic) budget documentary.

An accomplished pianist, Ms. Shapiro studied for nearly a decade with New York recitalist Marshall Kreisler, and until a moment of supreme klutziness in 2016 for which two of her fingers paid the price, she was an active guitarist as well. Alex also plays very bad flute, an instrument sometimes found in the woodwind section wedged between the alto flute and the bass flute.


Bald Eagle, by Alex Shapiro


Geography, physical and musical

Shapiro moved to L.A.'s San Fernando Valley in 1983. A few years later, lured by the intoxicating combination of salt air and wildfire smoke, she settled in Malibu, accessorizing her music writing life with reptiles, astronomy, volunteer civil liberties activism, sailing, and a herd of plastic dinosaurs which resided above her kitchen cabinets and kept her company, glaring down as her cooking ineptitude routinely set off the smoke alarm. Alex composed movie and television scores for the first fifteen years of her career, until in 1996, the joy of scoring a low-budget feature film with a small orchestra reawakened her love of composing chamber music.

By the late 1990s, Alex shifted her focus entirely to the concert world, and devised inventive ways to use the still-new internet to let people know about this still-new composer. She knew virtually no one in the concert music field, but that did not deter her. Bolstered by her understanding of the music business from having worked in Hollywood and observing the irony of how valuable music copyrights can be when owned by entities other than the composer, plus her experience as a recording engineer and computer/software geek, as well as her volunteer involvement with music advocacy organizations, Alex's career thrived. And yes, if you happen to be an up-and-coming composer reading this, that last run-on sentence is a great recipe to consider for your own success.


In 2007, established both in person and in pixels, Alex and her judgemental plastic dinos traded the traffic and mudslides of southern California for a considerably less dangerous life on Washington State's remote, bridge-less San Juan Island. The last five of the fifteen years Alex lived in Malibu, she split her time between her doublewide mobile home on the beach and her 32' sailboat in the Santa Barbara harbor, thus making her the queen of wheel estate and keel estate and enabling her to live economically right on the kelpy ocean she loved. The move to the uppermost Pacific Northwest was a natural continuation and ironically, due to the potent combination of internal happiness and a decent internet connection, that year marked a significant expansion of Alex's career.

When she's not composing, Alex procrastinates on her next piece by pointing her camera at the surrounding wildlife, resulting in sometimes-even-award-winning images, including one of a myopic Bald Eagle about to collide with her, featured in The Spirit of Flight 2013 exhibit at Seattle's Museum of Flight (a much smaller version of which dangles at the top of this web page). Shapiro's audio and photos fill the popular blog she authored from 2006-2016, Notes from the Kelp, accompanied by her essays on animals, sea life, and human nature, which connect not only Alex's music, but her heart and her [sometimes groan-inducing] sense of humor, to a wide sphere of colleagues and audiences.

All right, now that we're up to current, here comes the pithier stuff.


Alex Shapiro

Orcas, by Alex Shapiro


Plugging in

Programming and launching her first interactive composer website in the late '90s (when many folks were still trying to figure out how to send cute cat photos in an email), Shapiro is viewed as a pioneer in the uses of digital media for the promotion of artists' works, and their context within communities. Through interactive social networks and collaborative live sessions she calls webhearsals, Alex has enjoyed building online relationships with musicians and listeners for over a decade— long before the words COVID and ZOOM became a normal part of every breakfast conversation— by creating an affinity for her music by engaging others in their own interests. The author of many articles on new media, in 2009 Shapiro was invited to Washington, D.C., to testify in a Federal Communications Commission hearing about broadband access and digital rights.

Firmly believing that the only artist one is in competition with is oneself, Alex co-founded the ASCAP Composer Career Workshop touring series, advising fellow music-makers on ways to benefit from their creative output. Shapiro is a familiar guest lecturer at universities around the United States, where she mentors students not only in music composition, but also in business practices. Alex addresses the philosophy behind a career based on the concepts of kindness, graciousness, and a positive sense of self worth-- topics too rarely discussed in schools. Oh, and she leads frank discussions about money and the freedom artists retain when living within their means.


Avon calling?
Foxes show up on the doorstep
on San Juan Island.


Showing up

Even more fun than interacting in pixels, is the in-person work Alex gets to do every year (well, up until the world changed in March 2020). She enjoys the role of composer-in-residence at many colleges and new music festivals, and has given lectures, masterclasses, workshops and one-on-one lessons at universities across the United States, including at Yale University, University of Southern California, The Ohio State University, University of Minnesota, Washington State University, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Manhattan School of Music, Capital University, University of Wyoming, Carthage College, Univeristy of Montana, University of Chicago, and the much warmer University of Hawai'i, among a great many, the list of which can be found on her C.V. if you click here C.V.

Speaking out

Ms. Since the early 2000s, Shapiro has appeared regularly as a speaker at a wide variety of music events, which have included NARAS' Grammy® in the Schools, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's First Nights series, IAWM's International Congress of Women in Music, the National Performing Arts Convention in Denver, Colorado, three of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institutes, and eleven of ASCAP's I Create Music Expos in Hollywood. Between 2000 and 2010 Alex interviewed over 100 composers as the moderator of the Los Angeles Composer Salon series, and of ACF/LA's Composer to Composer series at Walt Disney Concert Hall.



U.S. advocacy

An enthusiastic leader in the new music community, Ms. Shapiro has served as the Symphonic & Concert writer representative on the ASCAP Board of Directors since 2014, and was elected to the Board of Directors of the ASCAP Foundation in 2015. Alex also co-chairs ASCAP's Symphony & Concert Committee and its Marketing Committee. In late 2016, Shapiro was elected to the Board of Directors of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

Shapiro is the past President of the Board of Directors of the American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, and former Co-chair of the Program Council for New Music USA. Alex has been a board member of U.S. music organizations including The American Music Center, The MacDowell Colony, The College Music Society, NACUSA, and The Society of Composers & Lyricists, of which she was Vice president.

In response to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic in the fields of performance and music education, Ms. Shapiro was the sole composer to join eleven collegiate wind band conductors and form the CBDNA COVID-19 Response Committee, which authored a national report containing information and resources for university ensembles and educators. Shapiro is also to co-founder of the Creative Repertoire Initiative, a collective of composers and conductors committed to creating adaptable music for all ability levels, and to amplifying the voices of other composers wishing to do the same. Fulfilling its purpose in serving as a liaison between ensemble directors and composers, within four months of its inception in May 2020, CRI's Facebook group had garnered over 5,000 members and continues to grow daily.


International advocacy

In 2017 Alex became ASCAP's elected representative on the Executive Committee of The International Council Of Music Authors (CIAM)— the writers council of CISAC, a global network of authors' societies that represents over four million creators in 121 countries. The Council addresses issues ranging from global copyright and royalty payment improvements, to transfer of value, fair trade music, blockchain potential, gender and racial equity, and much more, in an effort to advance the wellbeing of music creators around the world.

This advocacy work took Alex all over the world for over two years, beginning in June 2017 with her first CIAM ExCo meeting in Lisbon Portugal. In November of that year Alex traveled to Tokyo, Japan for the CIAM Annual Congress, at which she spoke about the future of collective management.

In June 2018 in Warsaw, Poland, Alex addressed the CISAC General Assembly on a panel devoted to the topic of gender inequity issues throughout the music industry. In November 2018 in Mexico City, Alex joined her writer colleagues on the CIAM ExCo at the Annual CIAM Congress. She moderated a panel discussion with music creators from Australia, Europe, Canada, and South America, discussing not only the problems of far-reaching biases, but the solutions.

In January 2019 during the CIAM ExCo meetings in Cabo Verde, Africa, Alex participated in career and copyright workshops on two islands in the African archipelago. Alex returned to Tokyo, Japan in late May 2019 for CIAM meetings and the CISAC General Assembly. While there, she and several CIAM ExCo members gave a workshop hosted by Japan's collective management society JASRAC, for an auditorium filled with Japanese music creators, addressing local and international copyright issues.


Alex Shapiro speaking at the CIAM ExCo in Mexico CityAlex speaking in Mexico City, 2018



Alex Shapiro (at right)-CISAC Warsaw
Alex (R) speaking in Warsaw, Poland, 2018



Shapiro speaking in Tokyo at the CIAM Annual Assembly.
Alex (R) speaking in Tokyo, Japan, 2017

Alex Shapiro on the CIAM ExCo career workshop panel in Cabo Verde, Africa
Alex (R) speaking
in Praia, Cabo Verde, 2019


Shapiro's volunteer activism extends beyond the music world to that of civil liberties, and includes three elected terms in the 1990s to the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Southern California. During her film composing days, she served as Vice President of the 30,000-member affiliate, chaired its State and National Legislative Action Committee, and received the ACLU’s 1993 Chapter Activist of the Year award. Alex is currently a Board member of the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories, a marine science research facility whose mission reflects much of what often inspires Shapiro's music.

Alex was honored with 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.

island foxes, mother and kit, by Alex Shapiro


Recent works

If you've read this far (thank you, let us know where we should send the check) by now you may be wondering whether Alex actually has any time to compose. Well, here's the answer.

Alex's concert music is a diverse collection spanning from chamber groups to large ensembles, and from purely acoustic pieces to works that pair musicians with prerecorded digital audio. Ms. Shapiro's 2019-2020 commissions span from pieces that are very sobering to those that are ridiculously silly. Because, life.

O Death Rock Me Asleep, an electroacoustic work for SATB choir set to Anne Boleyn's text penned while imprisoned in the Tower of London awaiting her beheading, was commissioned by conductor Suzi Digby and her preeminent ensemble The Golden Bridge, and premiered in Los Angeles in September 2019.

Immediately following this dark work came Off The Edge, an uptempo electroacoustic wind band romp for younger musicians that's based on pop and EDM music, and was premiered by one its 35 commissioning ensembles across the U.S. in early 2020.

Also premiered in early 2020 was a contrasting electroacoustic concert opener for wind band comprised entirely of sound design and texture, with no melody at all: Ascent, premiered by the University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble conducted by lead commissioner Jeffrey Boeckman at in Honolulu, Hawai'i. This was followed by an ultra-flex electroacoustic piece for either wind ensemble or orchestra titled Passages. In October 2020, Ms. Shapiro delivered an electroacoustic commission for conductor Calvin Hofer and Colorado Mesa University's wind ensemble titled Breathe, before launching into a new four-movement electroacoustic symphony titled Suspended, commissioned by Kappa Kappa Psi, National Band Fraternity, and Tau Beta Sigma, National Band Sorority and slated to premiere in 2021 at the 75th National Intercollegiate Band conference, conducted by Cynthia Johnston Turner.

Train of Thought, Shapiro's 2015 electroacoustic sextet for low winds for the Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project, has been adapted for full wind band in an iteration titled Trains of Thought, and its multiple premieres by participating symphonic wind ensembles across the U.S. began March 2018. The spring of 2016 included a whirlwind of 4 premieres, 23 commissioners, and over 70 live performances of Alex's pieces between March and May, including Alex's 2016 electroacoustic concert wind band works Moment, commissioned by a consortium of 18 ensembles across the United States, and Rock Music, for Patrick Marsh Middle School in Wisconsin. Shapiro's latest solo piano work, Arcana, is a 25-minute suite that was premiered in March 2016 by its commissioner, pianist Michael Tierra, who also commissioned and premiered a striking new electroacoustic version titled Arcana Planet, in March 2017.

Arcana appears on the eponymously titled CD ARCANA that Ms. Shapiro produced and released on innova Recordings in the Fall of 2020. The 80-minute album is a collection of Alex's complete solo piano works to date, recorded by New York pianist Adam Marks.


Alex Shapiro

Eagle Cove sunset, by Alex Shapiro


Other electroacoustic additions to Alex's catalog include the 2015 highly multimedia symphonic band work Lights Out, commissioned by a consortium of 19 high schools and colleges across the U.S., and Kettle Brew, a tour-de-force for timpani, mixed percussion and electronics on which she collaborated with percussionist David Jarvis, who premiered the piece during Shapiro's February 2013 residency as guest composer for Washington State University's Festival of Contemporary Art Music. Tight Squeeze is an uptempo, 12-tone Afro-Cuban techno bebop electroacoustic wind band work (that's right), which was premiered in February 2013 by conductor Miller Asbill at Brevard College, one of the piece's commissioning partners. Alex's 2014 electroacoustic symphonic wind band work, Liquid Compass, explores the balance between the mysterious and the noble, commissioned and premiered by conductor James Ripley and Carthage College to commemorate the school's 140th anniversary.


Additional notable premieres include Alex's 2011 suite for electroacoustic symphonic wind band titled Immersion for a consortium of universities led by the University of Minnesota and broadcast nationally on Minnesota Public Radio. In 2019 the orchestral version of Beneath, the third movement of Immersion, was performed multiple times under the baton of Chicago-area based conductor Stephen Squires. A 2012 acoustic sextet for strings, winds and piano titled Perpetual Spark was commissioned and performed by Chicago's Fifth House Ensemble, which recorded the piece September 2013 for their 2014 CD titled, Excelsior, on Cedille Records produced by Judith Sherman. Another mixed piano sextet, Unabashedly More, was premiered in 2011 at Carnegie Hall by the New York ensemble Lunatics at Large, and pianist Teresa McCollough premiered Ms. Shapiro's solo piano work, Spark, in November 2011 at Roulette in New York City.


Alex Shapiro

Olympics sunset, by Alex Shapiro


Among the most widely performed of Ms. Shapiro's works has been Paper Cut, for wind band, prerecorded electronics and printer paper, commissioned in 2010 by the American Composers Forum's BandQuest program and the National Endowment for the Arts. While frequently performed by colleges, Paper Cut is the very first electroacoustic work written specifically for the middle- and high school wind band repertoire. Nearly 100 creative videos of performances using black light, dance, and other visuals can be found on YouTube, from concerts all over the globe.

Alex's catalog includes nearly 200 published works, and her time management skills (and those of her well-behaved muses who she often bribes with dark chocolate and a nice Pinot Noir) are, well... finely tuned.

Mount Baker and the San Juans, by Alex Shapiro


Digital realities

As music education was forced to transition to digital formats in early 2020, Alex's longtime work with technology led the University of Washington's music department to contact her in mid-March for ideas for continuing their semester solely online. In response, Alex created a web-based curriculum, Putting the E- in E-nsemble, for the school's wind band and orchestra members that not only had the students composing short passages which they played and recorded on their instruments, but then got them collaborating with each other as they composed a "sonic quilt" from their own music. Alex is currently overseeing that curriculum for the 2020/21 school year with over 30 universities and high schools.

In April 2020 Alex was invited to be the sole composer member on the ad hoc CBDNA COVID-19 Response Committee, and with its 11 conductor members she co-authored a comprehensive report released just a month later, filled with resources and detailed suggestions for keeping university ensemble programs afloat and thriving.

Among the many abrupt changes faced by music performance and education programs are the challenges associated with unpredictable ensemble personnel, as some schools are online-only and others are a blend of in-person and remote. Seeking to encourage composers to create flexible repertoire to address this need, Alex co-founded the Creative Repertoire Initiative with 11 colleagues in the wind band world, each of whom composed new works designed for adaptable instrumentation, and posted templates of their processes on the CRI website to assist their peers. The recipe for the piece Alex created for this purpose, Passages, is available in the collection. The CRI Facebook Group currently has over 5400 composer and conductor members, and the adaptable repertoire is flourishing.


Trawler sunrise, by Alex Shapiro


Writing and talking

Shapiro is the author of a chapter in the 2013 GIA Publications book, Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra, titled Releasing A Student's Inner Composer, and both Paper Cut, and Tight Squeeze, are featured in the field's best known book/CD series, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Volume 10, edited by Eugene Migliaro Corporon and released by GIA Publications December 2014. Both pieces were performed at the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago in 2011 and 2013, by the VanderCook College of Music Symphonic Band.

In December 2020 GIA Publications released the nearly 600-page book, The Horizon Leans Forward... Stories of Courage, Strength, and Triumph of Underrepresented Communities in the Wind Band Field for which Alex is one of six co-authors, penning a chapter titled Reaching Out and Bringing Women In. With a dedication stating, "For every girl with a spark, and every woman with a flamethrower," Alex begins with a stark spotlight on age-old biases and their solutions, and continues with a significant section devoted to advice for women seeking to advance their music careers, as well as for those wishing to help them do so.

Ms. Shapiro was a guest clinician presenting workshops on electroacoustic music and inventive uses of new media at the 2013 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, and the 2014 Texas Music Educators Association in San Antonio, and in July 2016 she was the featured guest composer for the University of British Columbia's Wind Conducting Symposium. Alex's in-depth articles on the topic were published in the June and September 2014 issues of WASBE World, the magazine of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and she regulary gives workshops on the topic using vivid multimedia presentations that bring the concepts to life.

Alex returned as a guest clinician at Chicago's Midwest Clinic December 2018, joining a panel of composers and conductors discussing ways to address gender inequities in the concert world, and was a clinician for a 2021 Midwest Clinic panel on social emotional learning (SEL). In October 2019 Alex was a guest clinician at the BCMEA conference in Vancouver, B.C., giving two presentations: one on multimedia music with large ensembles, and another about the power of musicians to use their art to effect change. Alex again presented an online multimedia exploration of the topic of arts and activism for the virtual CBDNA Western/Northwestern Division Conference in the spring of 2020.


The San Juan Islands

Alex Shapiro, photo by Paul Chepikian
Photo: Paul Chepikian



Alex doesn't have any Really Big Fancy awards or recognitions to list, but she's always grateful for any lovely comments and gestures that come her way. For instance, she was deemed "one of the most noteworthy composers for the 21st century wind band" by Carthage College and Dr. James Ripley upon the May 2014 premiere of her electroacoustic tone poem for symphonic band, Liquid Compass, composed in honor of that ensemble's 140th anniversary. Thank you!

Ms. Shapiro has been the recipient of a few national honors and recognitions including those from the American Music Center, ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, and Meet the Composer, and has been awarded artist fellowships from The California Arts Council and The MacDowell Colony, serving on its Board of Directors a few years later.

Despite only proudly sporting a high school diploma (ok, and another obtained the same year, for graduating as a composition major from the Juilliard Pre-College Division in a ceremony memorable for when she tripped on the stairs to the stage and her face became as red as her dress), Alex has had the pleasure of being deeply engaged with academia over the past 25 years, as a composer-in residence and guest lecturer at hundreds of colleges and universities.

She's even been able to get a taste of Greek life: The international music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon presented Alex its highest distinction, the Award of Merit, during its 2011 National Convention at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, noting her innovative use of new technologies in composing and her efforts helping colleagues advance their own careers. A decade later, Alex was initiated as an Honorary Brother of Kappa Kappa Psi in recognition for her contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond to support music education programs through the creative curriculum she developed through which instrumentalists learn to compose, collaborate, and produce. In 2021 Ms. Shapiro was also made an Honorary Brother of Tau Beta Sigma, which presented Alex with its Outstanding Service to Music Award at the National Intercollegiate Band Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.



For an electronic press kit, including a program bio, photo, full bio/C.V. and catalog of works, please click here more


For the very latest news on what Alex is doing and where she or her music is doing it, please visit the home page more


For an overview of Alex's activities,
visit the Event Archive more


If you've suddenly landed here, it means you've cut to the chase. Welcome.




2020 and beyond...

Alex did significantly more residencies, guest lectures, and interviews in just the nine months between March and December 2020, than she had done in the PAST 20 YEARS.

It's a new world, and you can watch many of the recent webcasts, webinars, and talks Alex has given on topics ranging from technology, diversity and inclusion, music education, adaptable music, and Alex's own approach to composition, by clicking HERE. More




Alex appears in three of director Michael Stillwater's documentary films: Shining Night, Beyond The Fear of Singing, and In Search of the Great Song. Click below to listen to a short excerpt from the latter, filmed at Alex's home on San Juan Island, WA. and scored with her piece BELOW. Alex shares her thoughts about how the sea inspires her muses.




Alex speaks at many events and motivates people in and outside of the music world. Whether discussing the philosophy of self worth or the importance of a sense of humor, Alex is an engaging presenter who's been referred to by more than a few people as "the female Anthony Robbins of contemporary music, just a lot shorter."
CD Party and lecture


To see a video and obtain booking information, click here more
sunset over Sidney


Want to get a good sense of Alex? Here's a 60 second excerpt from an interview she gave to Lavinia Wright at the 2010 ASCAP EXPO in Hollywood, CA. Alex is seen here discussing the importance of artists' sense of self worth, and of having a supportive attitude toward one's community:


Bald Eagle take-off


Alex interactive



Alex's career is multi-dimensional, encompassing composing, speaking, and writing, as well as a great deal of community involvement. Oh, and a lot of nature photography that can be seen throughout this website, and on her blog, Notes from the Kelp. Keep scrolling through this page to see what keeps her busy.




The most important information in a composer's bio is what her or his music SOUNDS like! Alex calls herself a pan-genre composer, with a penchant for organically spanning across idioms, often within a single piece. Click around the mp3s you'll find in the Dial-a-Mood link below, for fun.


Alex Shapiro, at her Hal Leonard rack display at the Midwest Clinic in 2015.


To explore Alex's music, visit: Dial-a-Mood: Dial-a-Mood
The Sann Juans and Mt. Baker


In the air



Why just read a bio about someone when you can hear what they have to say? Click to watch or listen to Alex on any of these broadcasts and podcasts.

2020 was filled with a seamingly endless, uh, stream of webinars, guest lectures, webcasts, and interviews. CLICK HERE to see many of Alex's most recent appearances. Alex videos


March 2020: Beloved band director Charlie Menghini launched a new podcast series of conversations with composers, conductors, and educators, Band Talk with Charlie Menghini and Friends, and Alex was the first of his guests for Episode 2. Enjoy their lengthy chat by clicking on the icon to the right. listen

Band Talk with Charlie Menghini

September 2018: In a conversation with Britt Burns for The Indie Classical Podcast, Alex discusses general musical and career ideas along with four of her recent works for orchestra, wind band, and chamber ensembles.

The Indie Classical Podcast

March 2018: Alex really enjoyed talking with Mark J. Connor as a guest on his popular podcast, Everything Band. Covering everything from career to clarinet-playing gerbils (!), it was a far-ranging talk! Click the icon at right to have a listen. listen

Everything Band

The Portfolio Composer

March 2016

Music Publishing Podcast

February 2017

UW College of the Environment

May 2017

ASCAP Expo interview

April 2010

Music Publishing Podcast

April 2016, May 2017

Advice for conference attendees

April 2010
approach to composing

May 2010

One More Time

March 2018

The Morning Show

May 2014

Alex on SoundNotion

April 2013

Composing Thoughts

January 2008

Swedish Radio

July 2012

ASCAP Audio Portraits

December 2007
Kalvos and Damian

July 2004

Classical Discoveries WPRB-FM

February 2012
Measure for Measure

August 2006
American MusicMakers

February 2006


Composers Datebook is a daily two-minute syndicated radio program produced by American Public Media in association with the American Composers Forum. The series highlights moments in music history of the past and the present, and its February 11, 2017 segment features Alex Shapiro and the anniversary of the premiere of her sonata for tuba and piano titled Music for Two Big Instruments. You can listen to host John Zech's amusing description by clicking the icon at right, and then clicking the "play" arrow at the top of the page listen


Composers Datebook-Shapiro


For more broadcast information, click here more
A fox, as the full moon rises over the San Juans and the Cascades in the distance


In print




Alex's essays on the new digital paradigm, the internet, free speech and the meaning of net neutrality to all artists, have been read on classical music blogs and magazines like Sandow, Mind the Gap, Adaptistration, Tokafi, and NewMusicBox.


Read The Economy of Exposure: Publicity as Payment? here more

Read What I Learned About My Tiny Business From Paramount Pictures here more

Read As Important as the Printing Press: Net Neutrality and Artists' Freedom here more

Read E-ing There here more







Arts Journal
Sandow blog
Mind the Gap




Alex is one of six co-authors of the new book, The Horizon Leans Forward...Stories of Courage, Strength, and Triumph of Underrepresented Communities in the Wind Band Field, released by GIA Publications December 2020.

Edited by conductor Erik Kar Jun Leung (Oregon State University), the book includes Ms. Shapiro's chapter, Reaching Out and Bringing Women In, along with those from composer Jodie Blackshaw and conductors Alfred L. Watkins, Robert Taylor (University of British Columbia), Courtney Snyder (University of Michigan), and Erik Leung, each of whom address perspectives of women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA2S+ composers and conductors of the past and present.

Additionally, the publication includes a notable annotated bibliography of works by underrepresented composers.

To read more about the book and to order a copy, click HERE: Order book from GIA

GIA Publications


GIA Publications

Alex is the author of "Releasing a Student's Inner Composer," one of the chapters in the 2013 book, "Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra." The book, edited by Clint Randles and David Stringham, is published by GIA Publications.

Two of Alex's electroacoustic wind band pieces for high school musicians, TIGHT SQUEEZE, and PAPER CUT, are featured in the book/CD series, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Volume 10, edited by Eugene Migliaro Corporon and released by GIA Publications December 2014.

GIA Publications






Alex has written an extensive two-part article on the subject of her clinic presentations on new media in the band world. The essay, titled The e-Frontier: Music, Multimedia, Education, and Audiences in the Digital World, appears in the June and September 2014 issues of the magazine of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, WASBE World.

CLICK HERE to read the full pdf of the article, offered with the kind permission of WASBE.





Sounding Board
Chamber Music
21st Century Music


For more articles and writings, visit Essays more
Sunset over the Olympics


In view



Alex's thoughts on the importance of artists in America, from an interview she gave to Lavinia Wright at the 2010 ASCAP EXPO in Hollywood, CA.:


To see more videos, visit Alex's YouTube Channel more
sunrise over American Camp, San Juan Island, WA


In person




ASCAP Composer Career Workshops



In response to the need for 21st century composers to embrace an entrepreneurial approach to their careers, in 2009 Alex joined forces with composers Stephen Paulus and Jennifer Higdon, and attorney and EAM/Schott Music president Jim Kendrick, to co-found a U.S. touring series of music business seminars titled, The ASCAP Composer Career Workshops. With the full funding support of ASCAP, varying combinations of the group with Shapiro as the mainstay, conduct four-hour workshops about publishing, copyright, web presence, recording, and many other skills, for composers at all stages of their careers. As of September 2015, twelve workshops have been presented around the U.S., including:


ASCAP Composer Career Workshop
Alex speaking at the ASCAP EXPO in Hollywood, 2016

Alex giving a presentation at the 2016
ASCAP EXPO in Hollywood.

Trevecca Nazarene University,
Nashville, TN, 2015

San Francisco Conservatory of Music,
San Francisco, CA, 2015

Western Washington University,
Bellingham, WA, 2013

Yale University,
New Haven, CT, 2012

University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA, 2011

Colorado State University,
Fort Collins, CO, 2011

ASCAP offices,
New York, NY, 2011

The ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPOs,
Hollywood, CA, 2010 and 2011

San Diego State University,
San Diego, CA, 2010

University of Chicago,
Chicago, IL, 2009

Philadelphia Music Project,
Philadelphia, PA, 2009.






Alex has been Composer-in-Residence at many wonderful schools and events:



The Midwest Clinic
University of Minnesota
Shenandoah University
University of Hawai'i
UBC Wind Conducting Symposium
The Wyoming Festival

University of Montana

Fort Hays State University
Univ. of  Missouri Kansas City
Carthage College
SUNY Fredonia
Colorado State University
Roosevelt University
SUNY Fredonia
Capital University
Murray State University
St. George's School
Southern Oregon University
Univ. of Wyoming
Washington State Univ.


To see more of Alex's recent activities, visit Event Archive more
Alex with hanging bull kelp





Many albums are currently available which feature Alex Shapiro's works, and there are new recordings coming out in the next year from a variety of artists.

Alex's own CD of several of her favorite chamber works, Notes From the Kelp, was released October 2007 on Innova Recordings and is in its second pressing.

In 2020 she released ARCANA, a disc of her solo piano works, recorded by Adam Marks and also on the Innova Recordings label.


To read what All Music Guide had to say about Alex's CD, Notes from the Kelp, click here review


Notes from the Kelp CD


Arcana CD


Click on any CD for more information:


New American Piano Music
Hammers & Sticks
Coast to Coast
New American Piano Music:
Sonata for Piano

Music for Hammers & Sticks:
At the Abyss

Above and Beyond
Saxtronic Soundscape
Solo Rumores
An Robert Schumann
Above and Beyond:

Saxtronic Soundscape:
Desert Tide

Solo Rumores:

An Robert Schumann:
Slowly, searching

La Discordantia
2017 NAfME Northwest
Jenni Scott
Trumpet Colors
La Discordantia:

2017 NAfME Northwest:
Liquid Compass

Jenni Scott:
Shiny Kiss

Trio Chromos:

The Dreams of Birds
Garrison Festival
60 x 60
Below: Music for Low Flutes:

The Dreams of Birds:

Garrison Piano Competition:

60 x 60 2005:

Notes from the Kelp
Midwest Clinic 2011
Midwest Clinic 2013
Alex Shapiro:
Notes from the Kelp

Midwest Clinic:
Paper Cut

Water Crossing

Midwest Clinic:
Tight Squeeze

Californian Concert
Delicate Balance
250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven, Vol. 1
Californian Concert:
For My Father

Delicate Balance:
Water Crossing

Perpetual Spark

250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven:
Chord History

Double or Nothing
Beck and Call
Everything Beautiful
Double or Nothing:

Beck and Call:
Of Breath & Touch
Everything Beautiful:
Liquid Compass
Tight Squeeze
Alex Shapiro/Adam Marks:

Below CD Single



To listen to excerpts from these CDs, visit Recordings more
Flattop, Waldron, and rainbow


Featured Works



ASCENT score cover

Listen to the University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble's premiere of ASCENT, conducted by Jeffrey Boeckman: 




February 23, 2020: Commissioned by Jeffrey Boeckman and the University of Hawai'i Wind Ensemble, ASCENT is an unusual, sound design-heavy electroacoustic concert opener. Play it loudly! Click here to read more about this brief, cinematic piece. read


Lights Out premiere poster

Listen to the University of Memphis Symphonic Band's premiere of LIGHTS OUT, conducted by Armand Hall: 




April 29, 2015: Commissioned by a consortium of 19 high schools and colleges across the U.S., LIGHTS OUT may be the first truly multimedia band piece, in which the visuals were composed into the score. Playing it in the dark is preferred! Click here to read more about this adventurous piece which looks as cool as it sounds. read


Liquid Compass premiere poster

Enjoy the full recording of the Central Washington University Wind Ensemble performing LIQUID COMPASS, conducted by Lewis Norfleet. : 




May 10, 2014: Commissioned by Carthage College to commemorate its 140th anniversary, LIQUID COMPASS is a tone poem about a journey that spans the mystical and the triumphant. The piece migrates to many places, but never loses its bearings in pursuit of a musical true north. Click here to read more about this watery piece. read


Tight Squeeze, indeed!

Listen to the VanderCook College of Music Symphonic Band's performance of TIGHT SQUEEZE at the 2013 Midwest Clinic, conducted by Charlie Menghini: 




February 13, 2013: If Arnold Schoenberg, Henry Mancini, and Charlie Parker ever walked into a techno dance club in Havana, TIGHT SQUEEZE is what it might have sounded like. Alex's electroacoustic wind band piece was premiered at Brevard College with conductor Miller Asbill, with additional consortium premieres around the U.S. in 2013 and 2014. Click here to read about the piece, and to see more weird photos of a young gull attempting to swallow his lunch. read



Listen to the premiere: 

1. hear   2.  hear


February, 2012: Alex's chamber sextet, PERPETUAL SPARK, has been heard in many Chicago-area concerts throughout 2012 and 2013, performed by familiar partners to her musical crimes, Fifth House Ensemble, who recorded the piece in September 2013 for their 2014 CD on Cedille Records, Excelsior, produced by Judith Sherman.

Dedicated to the late Mara Bershad, this piece for flute/piccolo, violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano, originally came to life as SPARK for solo piano, premiered by Teresa McCollough at Roulette in New York City in November 2011.


Lunatics at Large

Listen to the premiere:

1. hear   2.  hear



March 21, 2011: The New York ensemble Lunatics at Large premiered Alex's chamber sextet, UNABASHEDLY MORE, for flute/piccolo, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano at Carnegie Hall, as part of the ensemble's Sanctuary Project, which paired composers and poets collaborating on new works.


Classical MPR-Immersion


Click here to listen to the premiere of IMMERSION! hear



February 16, 2011: Alex's electroacoustic symphony for winds and percussion, IMMERSION, was beautifully premiered by conductor Jerry Luckhardt and the University of Minnesota Symphonic Band, and broadcast nationally from Minnesota Public Radio.



To see a sampling of performances, visit Concerts more
crab claw


Kindness from others



Alex is the recipient of very, very few awards, honors, and reviews! The path of her career has not been driven by the acknowledgment from others in that manner. But she has always appreciated any positive nods toward her efforts.




Award from TBS


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, which begins at the 13:55 mark in the audio file.

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

MPE Award of Merit

Alex was honored by the international music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon with its highest distinction given to members, 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 in August 2011 at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. To read the lovely inscription on the placque, click here more

PAPER CUT is a unique addition to middle school band repertoire, and conductor Jeffrey Gershman of Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music penned a glowing review in his premiere column for the July 2013 issue of School Band & Orchestra. To read it, click here more

School Band & Orchestra

Here's Kyle Gann's remarkably insightful profile on Alex and the music of Notes from the Kelp, for his American Composer series in the May/June 2008 issue of Chamber Music magazine more

Chamber Music

Here's the wonderful All Music Guide review of Alex's chamber music CD, Notes from the Kelp more


All Music Guide



For a list, visit Awards and Reviews more





Alex Shapiro's concert scores are published by her company Activist Music LLC and are directly available through the Purchase page of this website. Much of the Activist Music catalog is available through J.W. Pepper and Son, Inc. and Theodore Front Musical Literature, Inc., and many works in her catalog are also distributed by Harrassowitz, and Hickey's Music Online Ms. Shapiro is pleased to welcome the Hal Leonard Corporation as the exclusive distributor of her symphonic wind band works, as well as other larger ensemble pieces in the Activist Music LLC catalog.

In December 2021, Activist Music LLC was elected as a member of the Music Publishers Association of the United States.

Ms. Shapiro's woodwind music can be found at Just for Winds, and her music for double reeds is also sold through TrevCo Varner Music. Shapiro's flute music is also available through Flute World, and Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company, and her brass music can also be ordered from Just for Brass, and BVD Press. Ms. Shapiro's percussion music can be found at Steve Weiss Music.

The name Activist Music originates from Ms. Shapiro's belief that all people must be encouraged to raise their voices, articulate their principles and do what they can to affect change around them, whether in politics, within their own neighborhoods, or through the art which they share with others.


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


To order Alex Shapiro's scores and CDs, visit Purchase more
sea ducks on the Salish Sea


Professional Involvement




Shapiro-HuangAlex with composer Joan Huang during an ACF/LA Composer's Salon.


ACF Salon
Alex (left), with 2007 Composer Salon participants (clockwise from top): Gernot Wolfgang, Giovanna Imbesi, Michael Roth, Randy Newman, Bei Bei He, Kubi Uner (seated) and Drew Schnurr.


In February 2014, Alex was elected by ASCAP's Board of Directors to fill the Symphonic & Concert seat previously held for over twenty years by the late Stephen Paulus. She was re-elected by ASCAP's general membership in March 2015, and continues to serve. Alex was elected to the Board of Directors of the ASCAP Foundation in 2015, and in December 2021 was elected as an officer and is one of the five members of the Foundation's Executive Committee.

In November 2017 Alex became ASCAP's elected representative on the Executive Committee of The International Council Of Music Authors (CIAM)— the writers council of CISAC, a global network of authors' societies that represents four million creators in 121 countries.

Ms. Shapiro was elected to the Board of Directors of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music in November 2016. Previously, she served on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center when it merged in 2011 with Meet the Composer and became New Music USA, for which she served as Chairperson of its Media Council until 2015.

From 2010-2013 Alex served on the Board of Directors of The MacDowell Colony, and she is the past President of the Board of Directors of the American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, and past Chairperson of the ACF/LA Advisory Council. Between 2000 and 2010 Alex was the Moderator of ACF's popular Composer's Salon series, as well as its Composer to Composer series held at Walt Disney Concert Hall. She has served as an officer of The National Association of Composers, USA (NACUSA) and as an officer of the Pacific Southern Chapter of The College Music Society.

In 1997 Shapiro co-chaired a committee for ASCAP to develop composers' contract standards for negotiations for the use of original music over the internet, and she is currently co-chair of ASCAP's Symphonic & Concert Committee. As of 2021, Alex also serves as the Co-Chair of ASCAP's International Committee and its Marketing Committee.

In 2009, with fellow committee members composers Stephen Paulus, Jennifer Higdon, and attorney and EAM/Schott Music president Jim Kendrick, Alex founded a U.S. touring series of music business seminars titled, The ASCAP Composer Career Workshop. From 2010-2014, Alex served as the elected national concert music composer representative on the ASCAP Board of Review.

From 2003 to 2007, Alex served on the Advisory Board for the Los Angeles City College Music Department, and she was a longtime member of the Alumni Council of Manhattan School of Music.



In 1994 Ms. Shapiro joined the Board of Directors of The Society of Composers & Lyricists, the professional association of film music artists, and served three terms from 1994-2000, including two years as the organization's Vice president. Alex extended her efforts with The Society of Composers & Lyricists in her role as the Chairperson of the 1996-1999 Film & TV Music Conferences, co-presented in Los Angeles at The Directors Guild of America by the SCL and The Hollywood Reporter.


Schalchlin-ShapiroAlex with musical theater artist Steve Schalchlin during an ACF/LA Composer's Salon.

Alex chaired the Public Relations Committee for Women in Film's 1993 Crystal Awards, honoring Jack Lemmon and Julie Andrews, and has volunteered her time to many arts and music organizations in Los Angeles.




Alex became one of 12 writer and 12 publisher members of ASCAP's board of directors in 2014. Since most of the 900,000 members haven't met their representatives, ASCAP launched a series of "meet the board" videos in 2017. Here's Alex's:





Composer/pianist Billy Childs, Alex, and composers
and Salon producers Kubi Uner and Giovanna Imbesi
at a 2005 Composers Salon Alex moderated
at Tuttomedia Studios in Venice, CA.

Alex with composers Larry Karush and Terry Riley
by her home in Malibu, June 2006,
where they performed a house concert.

Composer Randy Newman and Alex during Newman's
presentationat the July 2007 Composers Salon
which Alex moderated in Venice, CA.

Shapiro and Rudy
Alex and composer Paul Rudy in March 2014,
flanking the poster for their joint electro-visual concert
during Alex's residency at UMKC School of Music.



Public Speaking


An engaging public speaker with an unusually broad range of experience, Alex has moderated panels for countless seminars. She's a familiar face to audiences at The Society of Composers & Lyricists, and The American Composers Forum, for which she has interviewed over 100 composers including Steven Stucky, Randy Newman, Mort Subotnick, Anne LeBaron, Mark Watters, Bruce Broughton, Vinny Golia, David Newman, Joan Huang, Stephen Paulus, John Steinmetz, Bear McCreary, Morten Lauridsen, and Bill Kraft for the Los Angeles Composers Salon series. Additionally, Alex has also conducted American Composer Forum Composer to Composer interviews at Walt Disney Concert Hall and other Los Angeles venues with guests as diverse as Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars, Christopher Rouse, Don Davis and Billy Childs.

Alex was the Keynote Speaker at the October 2006 Society of Composers, Inc. National Student Conference, and represented musicians on a panel she also moderated in June 2008 at the enormous National Performing Arts Convention in Denver, CO, at the Colorado Convention Center.

Alex at 2008 ASCAP Expo
Alex on a 2008 ASCAP EXPO panel with John Mackey, Doug Wood, upper row, and Frank J. Oteri and Martha Mooke, lower.

Alex at 2011 ASCAP Expo
Alex gave a 2011 ASCAP EXPO Composer Career Workshop with ASCAP boardmembers Jim Kendrick and Stephen Paulus, standing with ASCAP's Concert Music Dept. Asst. VP Cia Toscanini.

Alex and fellow panelists at 2016 ASCAP Expo
Alex gave a lively presentation at the 2016 ASCAP
"I Create Music" EXPO in Hollywood,
on a panel about creative uses of multimedia in concert music
titled, "Seeing Music: Multimedia Concerts for a Visual World."
Pictured L-R: Composer Veronika Krausas, Alex, visualists Candace Reckinger
and Michael Patterson, and ASCAP VP of Concert Music, Cia Toscanini.


Alex and fellow panelists at 2017 ASCAP Expo
Alex speaking at the 2017 ASCAP EXPO in Hollywood, on a panel
tited, "Getting Credit Where Credit is Due." From L-R:
attorney and moderator Dina LaPolt, songwriter and performer Aloe Blacc,
songwriter and ASCAP Board member Desmond Child,
Auddly founder Niclas Molinder, and Alex.


Adam Parness, Pam Sheyne, Desmond Child, Allee Willis, Michelle Lewis, Shelley Peiken, Alex Shapiro, Rudy Perez, Betsy Perez
L-R: February 2018 in Beverly Hills, CA: Adam Parness, Pam Sheyne,
Desmond Child, Allee Willis, Michelle Lewis, Shelley Peiken,
Alex Shapiro, Rudy Perez, and Betsy Perez.

Composers Institute




Chamber Music America


Among the panel discussions Alex has led for the SCL are The Virtuoso Soloist in Film Music, presented on the scoring stage of 20th Century Fox Studios in 2000 and featuring violinist Joshua Bell (The Red Violin), pianist Ralph Grierson (E.T.), and bagpiper Eric Rigler (Titanic), and the 2004 seminar, Launching Your Film Scoring Career. On the topic of new technologies, Alex moderated a session for the 2004 Music Business Chops seminar in Los Angeles, with industry leaders including CD Baby founder Derek Sivers, Tony van Veen of Disc Makers, and Jim Griffin of Cherry Lane Digital.

In 2004 Alex appeared on stage at Walt Disney Concert Hall with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic to co-host the sold-out premiere of Steven Stucky's Pulitzer prize-winning work, Second Concerto for Orchestra, for the L.A. Phil's First Nights series. In January 2006 and again in January 2009, Ms. Shapiro was a panel speaker for the Chamber Music America Conference in New York City. In February 2006 she was the moderator for an evening of composer Chen Yi's works at the New Music Festival at Santa Clara University.

Alex is an especially familiar speaker on the uses of digital media for the promotion of artists' careers. She has been a featured speaker at nine of the ASCAP EXPOs in Hollywood, the 2009, 2010 and 2012 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institutes, the American Composer Forum's Making Music Work series at McNally-Smith College, NETMCDO (Network of Music Career Development Officers), two of Chamber Music America's national conferences in New York City, the National Performing Arts Convention in Denver, and around the U.S. at the ASCAP Composer Career Workshops, of which she is a co-founder. In 2009 Alex was invited to testify to the FCC in Washington, D.C. in a public hearing on broadband access and privacy issues. Among her recent appearances is the October 2021 ASCAP Labs/NYC Media Lab Summit, featuring a look into the latest augmented realities that will positively impact artists' lives.




Live Broadcasts

Alex Shapiro


Alex has been a lively guest on numerous radio and podcast shows. She was heard in May 2014 on Wisconsin Public Radio's Morning Show with Gregory Berg, discussing her work along with fellow guest conductor James Ripley, who premiered LIQUID COMPASS the following night. In July 2012 Swedish Radio host Birgitta Tollan interviewed Alex in New York City, and in February 2012 Alex was a guest on Marvin Rosen's Classical Discoveries show on Princeton Univeristy's WPRB-FM, in a three hour interview during which seven of her works were broadcast.

Other appearances include Los Angeles' KPFK-FM's For the Record with Samm Brown, Music of the Americas with Jeannie Pool, the KXLU-FM Los Angeles program, Trilogy, and The Audition Booth with Martin Perlich on KCSN-FM, as well as WGDR-FM's Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar. An interview Alex gave producer Steven Rosenfeld of Behind the Beat appears on the ASCAP Audio Profiles page, and her interview with John Clare for the WITF-FM radio show Composing Thoughts aired in 2008. The virtual world is an active arena as well, and Alex has been the February 2008 and May 2009 guest on the Second Life Cable Network talk show for Music Academy Online.



Alex's life and music were the subject of a one-hour interview on a 2006 radio series called American MusicMakers produced by Theme and Variations host Will Everett, airing on over 70 public radio stations across the U.S. She has also been the featured guest on Los Angeles major market syndicated shows on KFI 640 and KABC 790 AM radio. Her interview for the American Composers Forum series, Measure for Measure, was the inaugural August 2006 broadcast for the new podcast program.


To hear these and other broadcasts, click here more


Community Involvement and Activism



Each spring, members of the Board of Directors of ASCAP and creators who are strong copyright advocates visit Senators, members of Congress, and their aides, to keep the message of fair compensation for music creators front and center. In 2015 and 2016, the Songwriter Equity Act was at the core of ASCAP's discussions on Capitol Hill.


ASCAP lobbying
May 2016: Standing on the Speaker's Balcony in the Capitol Building. L-R: Needlz, ASCAP writer Board members Dan Foliart, Alex and Desmond Child, MoZella, and Brian McKnight.

ASCAP lobbying
May 2016: Meeting with Senator Al Franken (D-MN). L-R: ASCAP publisher Board member Irwin Z. Robinson, ASCAP writer and Board President Paul Williams, Alex, and ASCAP writer Board member Desmond Child.


May 2015: Alex with Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX), with ASCAP board member and composer Richard Bellis and ASCAP board President and Chairman Paul Williams.

ASCAP Lobbying in Washington, D.C.
ASCAP Lobbying in Washington, D.C.


In 2009, Shapiro joined fellow ASCAP members on Capitol Hill to meet with numerous senators and congresspeople in an effort to ensure audio visual download rights.

lobbying with ASCAP
lobbying with ASCAP
ASCAP lobbying
Alex (right) lobbying in Washington, D.C. in May, 2009
with ASCAP board members and staff.
Above, speaking to Senator Arlen Specter (R/D-PA),
and to Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) in their offices.


Shapiro was the sole artist testifying on an FCC panel hearing in 2009 about broadband access. Her career has become representative of the way the internet and digital technology have given anyone with a computer the ability to create a global presence. Alex's speech starts just after the 44 minute mark in the linked video.



Also on the panel were:

Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of Motion Picture Association of America;
Frederick Huntsberry, COO of Paramount Pictures;
Michael Bracy, policy director of Future of Music Coalition;
Chuck Slocum, assistant executive director of the Writers Guild of America;
Mike Carroll, Professor of Law, American University;
Gigi Sohn, attorney and founder of Public Knowledge;
Patrick Ross, executive director of Copyright Alliance;
and Kathy Garmezy, assistant executive director of the Directors Guild of America.

The following week, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski quoted Alex's testimony in his keynote address at the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit in D.C.


FCC video

Shapiro at FCC
C-SPAN broadcast of Alex testifying at the FCC
in Washington, D.C., September 2009.


Excerpt from the prepared remarks of Chairman Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit
Washington, D.C., October 5, 2009

"Now, why is the adoption of fair rules of the road -- Net Neutrality rules -- so important? Well, the artists, songwriters, and independent producers in the music industry know better than most. For example, at a recent public workshop held at the FCC we heard Alex Shapiro who discussed how the Internet allows her to manage her career even from rural Washington State.

Let me read from her testimony: "My name is Alex Shapiro, and I'm a composer. My use of the Internet has significantly shaped the evolution of my career, and has allowed me to reach audiences around the world, obtain commissions, and sell recordings and scores -- all from a fairly isolated outpost on a bridge-less island in Washington State."

Her point is an essential one. You don't have to be Bruce Springsteen to reach your audience on the Internet. You can be an independent artist on an island -- whether literal or musical -- and reach everyone who has an Internet connection."

AS speaking at SJCounty Council
Alex addressing the San Juan County Council and Planning Commission in February, 2012


Alex's activism is on the local level, as well: in February 2012 she appeared before the joint meeting of the San Juan County Council and the Planning Commission, to speak on behalf of the vital need for high speed broadband access for all of the San Juan Islands.


Alex Shapiro
Alex delivering a speech in 1993 as ACLU/SC Vice president.


Along with her involvement in the music industry, Ms. Shapiro has distinguished herself in an additional area of passionate pursuit— civil liberties. She served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California from 1990 to 1996; as Vice President of the nation's largest, 30,000 member affiliate, Ms. Shapiro frequently appeared on radio and television broadcasts as a spokesperson for a wide variety of individual and artistic freedoms.

In her capacity as the Chairperson of the ACLU/SC's State and National Legislation Committee, Alex produced three Conferences that brought State senators, Assembly members, clergy and community leaders together for day-long seminars to openly debate current issues, often related to the same free speech and First Amendment rights upon which all artists rely. Alex is the recipient of three awards from the ACLU honoring her activism, including being named the 1993 Chapter Activist of the Year.

Mount Baker

Morten Lauridsen and Alex
Alex with composer Morten Lauridsen
on Waldron Island, WA, July 2011.

Alex with composer Ursula Mamlok
in Santa Barbara, CA, June 2006.

Composer Carman Moore shares a laugh with Alex in New York City,
May 2011 (Photo by Norberto Valle).

Alex, with the late pianist Leonard Stein and composer Steven Stucky
as she spoke at the March 2004 ACF/Los Angeles Music Room.



Published Essays, Interviews & Articles


Alex Shapiro


Alex is the author of Releasing a Student's Inner Composer, one of the chapters in the 2013 book, Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra, published by GIA Publications. She is the featured composer in the ten-page autobiographical lead article, Compose, Communicate and Connect for the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music, Spring 2005 issue. Widely praised for its candor, the article was reprinted in two parts in the Autumn 2005 and Winter 2006 issues of the magazine of the American Composers Forum, Sounding Board.

Alex has written an extensive two-part article on the subject of her clinic presentations on new media in the band world. The 8,000 word essay, titled The e-Frontier: Music, Multimedia, Education, and Audiences in the Digital World, appears in the June and September 2014 issues of the magazine of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, WASBE World.

Shapiro has been a regular contributor to The Society of Composers & Lyricists' award-winning publication, The Score, and is the author of several columns on composers and new technology, including the journal's cover article entitled Multimedia: You Can Get There From Here. She has also been a recurring essayist for the online magazine, New Music Box in an exploration of new music and the labels of neo-romanticism, and on the subjects of artists and self worth, and using the web to create income.

In addition to articles on music business and technology for publications ranging from New Music Box to the newsletter for American Express cardholders, Alex has been a familiar presence on the Sequenza 21 web blog, winner of the 2005 ASCAP Deems Taylor Internet Award. To read Alex's essays on music, nature and her humorous musings about life in general, click here.

Alex is also the author of the photosonic blog, Notes from the Kelp, which pairs her wildlife photographs with audio clips of her music each week, offering a personal view into her unique island environment.



In April 2006 Alex was invited to contribute to a set of guest essays about bringing new listeners to the symphony, on Drew McManus' widely read orchestra management blog, Adaptistration. Her essay and many others appear in the collection, Take a Friend to the Orchestra.

Shapiro has been profiled in numerous articles and interviews, including being featured in Kyle Gann's American Composer series in the May/June 2008 issue of Chamber Music magazine. Other pieces about her life and work have appeared in New Music Forum, Sigma Alpha Iota's Pan Pipes, Mu Phi Epsilon's Triangle, and NACUSA's Composer/USA, as well as in publications spanning from the Malibu Surfside News to Great Britain's Music & Vision Magazine. She has been featured in articles on working composers in two Film & TV Music Special Issues of The Hollywood Reporter, in the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music and in issues of the American Composers Forum magazine, Sounding Board. The online magazine, Tokafi, has featured Alex twice in wide-ranging interviews for its August 2006 and March 2008 issues, and Alex was the August 2006 featured composer for the professional music network, My Auditions Alex is the March 2016 guest on Garrett Hope's Composer on Fire podcast series, now called The Portfolio Composer.

Alex's life and music have been the subject of numerous doctoral dissertations, including a 2016 publication by Dr. Elizabeth Etnoyer devoted to Shapiro's keyboard works.




To read these and other writings, visit Essays more

Composers David Rakowski and Alvin Singleton with Alex
at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, September 2003.

McCollough and Shapiro
Pianist Teresa McCollough with Alex,
at sea in the San Juan Islands, August 2007.

MSM Reunion Dinner
Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner, October, 2008, Manhattan School of Music:
(seated) Composer Aaron Jay Kernis, Alex Shapiro, MSM President Robert Sirota,
Vickie Sirota, (standing) Elizabeth Dworkin, Dylan Maulucci,
Salvatore Di Vittorio, Santa Maria Pecoraro, and Arkady Aronov.



Guest Lectures & Residencies



Committed to sharing knowledge about music and about the business of working as a musician, Alex is regularly invited to be a guest lecturer to composition classes at colleges, universities and music conservatories across the U.S., many of which have produced concerts devoted to her music. Some of the many institutions at which she has spoken include:

The Juilliard School
Manhattan School of Music
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
Yale University
McNally Smith College
University of Minnesota
University of Wyoming
The Ohio State University
Shenandoah University
California State University, Sacramento
Southern Oregon University
Santa Clara University
The Walden School
Western Washington University

Cornish College of the Arts

Roosevelt University

Capital University
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Fullerton College
Arizona State University
Trevecca Nazarene University
San Diego State University
Western Washington University
Murray State University
University of Missouri-Kansas City
University of Hawai'i
California State University, Fullerton
Carthage College
Fort Hays State University
Mt. San Antonio College
University of Washington, Friday Harbor Laboratories
Colorado State University
Sierra College
University of Puget Sound
University of California at Santa Barbara
University of Southern California, and
University of Chicago.


Alex with Los Angeles composers Barry Schrader and Peter Grenader, February 2006.
Alex in the lavender fields of San Juan Island with composer Anne LeBaron, July 2011.
Alex with the late bassist/composer Jimmy Bond and percussionist/composer Bill Kraft in Los Angeles, August 2006.


Jazz, Film & Television Scores



Alex Shapiro worked for fifteen years in the commercial music world, scoring feature films, television shows, commercials and documentaries.


As featured inn The Hollywood Reporter







Reporter article

Reporter article Reporter article

Film and TV Music Special Issue of
The Hollywood Reporter, 1994 (Alex, top right)

Film and TV Music Special Issue of
The Hollywood Reporter, 1995



Alex's music is the soundtrack for the 2011 short art video, REFLECTION, created by artist Grimanesa Amoros. The video was premiered in the International Streaming Festival, Sixth Edition at the Hague in the Netherlands, and was also screened in Milan, Italy, and on Video Art World. REFLECTION is included in Amoros's 2013 Video Retrospective in Lima, Peru. An excerpt of the video can be seen by clicking the photo at right watch


Amoros video, REFLECTION

Clemson University Tiger Band Entrance


Alex called upon her 15 years working in commercial music in Hollywood, and got into the team spirit with the Clemson University Tiger Band! In 2015 she was commissioned by band director Mark Spede to create the audio track to which Clemson University edited a video for the Jumbotron screens in its 85,000 seat Memorial stadium. The video-- which you can watch by clicking the stadium photo on the left-- has played during every football game since September 2015, as the 290 musicians of the Tiger Marching Band pour out on to the field to perform. Go Tigers-- the 2016 National Champions!



For full information and many audio clips, visit Film/TV/Jazz more

Alex with pianist Mike Lang
in Los Angeles, September 2005.



Local Life

Alex modeling the latest in unfashionable kayaking gear
Alex trying to focus on...
Alex and sea stars

Alex's life in the San Juan Islands
when she's not in her studio.

Friday Harbor Labs
The Friday Harbor Laboratories


As a certified sailor, a sea kayaker and an avid tide-pooler, Alex's daily life reflects her love of marine biology. In 2008 she was honored to join the Advancement Board of the renowned University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories.

Alex explains the connection between music, the sea, and immersive learning, and talks about why she supports the programs of University of Washington's College of the Environment and the Friday Harbor Labs:




San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands


The ocean is a significant part of Alex's life, and if Alex wasn't a musician, she'd probably be a marine biologist. Click above for local information about this beautiful environment which inspires her music.

Other than nature photography, how else does Alex spend her time? In addition to being a sailor, she loves kayaking and used to be an avid downhill skier until she accepted that gravity is not just a concept, it's a law.

Alex tries to balance her music life with her love of the outdoors and the intoxicating scent of SPF 50 sunscreen.For more local photos, and Alex's observations about music and everything that inspires it, visit Alex's blog, Notes from the Kelp.


Alex at home, photo by Michael Stillwater, from his documentary, "In Search of the Great Song".


Professional Affiliations



The following organizations are of interest to readers looking for more information, and may be of particular assistance to composers seeking ways to further their careers:


Symphonic & Concert Writer Member, Board of Directors, ASCAP

Officer, Board of Directors, The ASCAP Foundation

Co-Chair, Symphony & Concert Committee, ASCAP

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

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, ASCAP

Past Board member, American Music Center

Past Board member, The MacDowell Colony

Voting member, The Recording Academy
(NARAS; The Grammys)

Past Member, Alumni Council, Manhattan School of Music

Member, Music Department Advisory Council, Columbia College

Member, 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 (SCL)

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

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

Honorary Member, Kappa Kappa Psi

Honorary Member, Tau Beta Sigma

Member, American Composers Forum

Member, Chamber Music America

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

Member, Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI)

Member, International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM)

Member, ACME, Mu Phi Epsilon

Member, Mu Phi Epsilon

Member, Sigma Alpha Iota Composers Bureau

Member, 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

For additional helpful resources, visit Links more


Contact and Press Kit

To obtain a
short program bio for print,
please click here
Program Bio
Program Bio
To obtain program notes
for any of Ms. Shapiro's works,
please click here
Program notes
Program notes
To download a
high resolution photograph for print,
please click here
Alex Shapiro photo
To download a .pdf of a complete
narrative bio/C.V. for print,
please click here
Bio and C.V.
Bio and C.V.
To download a .pdf of the complete
Activist Music catalog,
please click here

To contact Alex Shapiro,
email is best.
Click here to send Alex a note


You can also leave
voice message
or send a
fax by dialing:
(270) 916-0093



Interact with the composer! See Alex in the context of the world around her, through the nature-oriented lens of her popular blog, Notes from the Kelp,
and in the social networks.


blog link

Email Alex!

Looking for additional diverse composers?




Please visit the PROGRAMMING RESOURCES page on this site: an inspiring list of aggregated links to a great many talented and underrepresented composers who happen to be women, and/or people of color. Then, share the link with conductors, educators and music-makers!


Alex at the helm

Cap'n Al at the helm of her
first sloop, "Sea Natural."






Alex Shapiro, composer email2
You're here

© 2000-2022 by Alex Shapiro. All nature photos by Alex Shapiro (like 'em?). All rights reserved to design and content.